What a Dashboard Is and Does

A dashboard is a collection of reports displayed together in one main report, where the only logic linking the resulting information is its relevance to the overall business strategy. Data can come from the same database, or from a number of different sources or databases. Even where the reports interrogate only one database, data can be reported in very different ways, and the results returned in a variety of formats.

This is where record-keeping methodology and software selection can help to facilitate the implementation of these BI tools. Many small business owners often assume that this is beyond their budget and fail to understand the greater benefits such reporting brings. In addition, the cost behind such implementation need not be substantial and can often be tailored to individual business needs. What is often critical is that the business starts with the right pillars or foundation. This is often overlooked or carelessly cast aside until bottlenecks occur when it is usually too late!

This high level view of the pertinent aspects of a business issue is an invaluable tool in the interpretation and communication of up-to-the-minute results, and an important aid to strong decision making.

The logical approach to all this boils down to 3 simple steps:

  1. Know your business objectives.
  2. Know what to do to accomplish the objectives.
  3. Know how to measure what your business do. If you can’t measure, you can’t manage.

Some practical starters for new business owners:

  1. Give some thoughts on your record-keeping. Your accountant should be able to work with you to give you an idea on the structure behind these records.
  2. Start with the simplest technology or software, taking into consideration future expansion. The simplest is not always the cheapest. Focus on productivity and efficiency in terms of administration as it will reap benefits for your business in the long run.
  3. Start only with a few drivers to measure your business. Do not be overly-ambitious with too many but really focus on the key drivers. If the wrong drivers are selected, they can always be changed. You can only tell they are wrong if they are being measured!


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