What Is Dashboarding and Why Do I Need It?

What Is Dashboarding and Why Do I Need It?


In today’s business environment, no matter what industry you happen to be in, data is utilized in decision-making processes like never before. Data is everywhere! It is in everything we do, every day! For many years now, organizations of all shapes and sizes have found new and innovative ways to collect or gather data from nearly every action or decision made within the organization. Companies have even gathered data on what is happening outside the organization that could lead to changes or modifications to decisions they are making internally. Tracking all this data has been harnessed and woven into everyday life whether we like it or not, but pulling all this data in so we can use it to make decisions is only part of the battle.

Nearly every organization out there has figured out their own way of harnessing their data into a singular location, but getting that data in front of the appropriate decision-makers in a way they can read and understand that data is a massive issue that has not really been resolved in a robust manner. Our company has seen many scenarios in the data dashboarding realm, but none have really resolved all the issues that arise with moving data into a visualization medium that is applicable to all decision-makers and their specific needs. Here are just a few examples of data dashboarding that simply came nowhere close to solving the data visualization needs of random organizations 4 Horsemen Solutions™ has spoken to in our research to create an all-encompassing data dashboarding solution.

Scenario #1:
Company “A” has been pulling in data from many different directions, for many different departments, aligning with many different decision-making processes company “A” has undertaken over the years. The same company has only the capability to produce one or two dashboards encompassing all applicable data needed by all parties involved in making decisions. In this scenario, each applicable department, or decision-maker, must filter through way more data than they need, or even understand, in order to pull out the individual pieces of data they themselves specifically need for their part in this process. The dashboard itself, since it is housing so much data, is too large and too clunky to do anyone any good, so way too much time is spent digging through data that is just clogging up the dashboard itself. Time is valuable, don’t waste it looking at information you do not need in order to find the small pieces that you do need!

Scenario #2:
Company “B” has really found its feet when it comes to pulling data from every single area that needs to have data harnessed; they have really set the standard for getting information from every possible point in their specific chain. They have been able to find an external vendor with specific applicable areas of expertise to aid them in this process and it has worked like a charm! Company “B” has a continuing search in place looking for just that same type of perfect fit for an expert external vendor in their specific space to handle their dashboarding needs, but we’re coming up empty in that particular area. They talked their current data-wrangling vendor into doing one-off dashboards as they needed them in specific areas, and the vendor agreed to take on this task. The issues started almost immediately for Company “B” because this specific vendor was an expert at harnessing data, not transitioning that data into a visualization tool. Company “B” also entered into this secondary relationship with the vendor with the understanding that only a few individualized dashboards would be needed, but once each department within the organization started establishing their own data dashboarding needs, the “few” dashboards that were needed at the beginning of this agreement had morphed into 15-20 separate, specific dashboards that would ultimately be needed. The vendor tried to keep up but could not. The data collection expertise shown previously by the vendor started to wane thanks to the amount of time that was being spent producing dashboards. The relationship between these two organizations began to sour and suffered because of the change in the original, established relationship between the two organizations. The lesson here is that expertise in one specific area does not guarantee expertise in other areas! If you need expertise in data dashboarding, then find expertise in data dashboarding; don’t settle for what’s there!

Scenario #3 (and the one we have seen the most):
Company “C” has a collection process that is slightly differentiated depending on the specific department the data is being collected for, and therefore the data is housed in multiple types of servers/databases. Some are gathering data and housing it in that department’s established SQL servers/databases; another department is gathering data and their servers/databases are Oracle based; yet another department is pulling data and housing that data in old school Excel spreadsheets; etc.! Company “C” must find dashboarding options for each different data storage option being used, so they go out and find a data dashboarding software package that can form dashboards from data stored on SQL servers/databases, they also need to find software for their Oracle-based data dashboarding needs, and so on and so forth. They now have a different software package for each type of data storage service being utilized within the organization, but what happens if a decision-maker needs access to some of the data kept in the SQL servers/databases and some of the data being housed in the Oracle servers/databases? What if the Excel spreadsheet’s data collection is also needed? Company “C” now has a scenario in front of them that would require that decision-maker to have access to three different dashboards in order to see all applicable data needed to make their specific decisions. The organization would also have to have someone building three separate dashboards with all this information on it instead of having the ability to simply harness all three sets of information onto a single dashboard, even if those three data sets come from three different data sources types. Our big takeaway in this scenario comes down to finding the right fit when it comes to dashboarding. If you have multiple data sets coming from multiple data sources, find a data dashboarding option with the ability to do everything you need the first time you do it! I know the dashboarding options with these abilities are few and far between but don’t settle for a product if it does not do everything you need it to do!

As you can probably tell from these common scenarios above, 4 Horsemen Solutions™ has run into many different issues and pain points in the data dashboarding space during our time doing research into this subject. We have found many specific options available to resolve specific portions of these issues, but not one product that has the ability to tackle all these unique issues at once.

Having done all this research and seen these organizational issues arising from data dashboarding shortfalls, we would like to introduce you to Assure™ Dashboard Suite, from 4 Horsemen Solutions™. Dashboard Suite is comprised of two separate products listed below.

Assure™ Dashboard Designer:
This product is our central location for users to access, view, and analyze real-time data. Fully customizable dashboards created with this product provide effective, consistent, single-pane visibility into all key business analytics, allowing you to easily track progress towards goals, saving time, effort, and funds along the way.
Remember also, this product has the ability to use “Any Data…from Any Data Source…Anywhere.”

Assure™ Dashboard Viewer:

Our Dashboard Designer product gives you the ability to design and build these user-friendly dashboards, and our Assure™ Dashboard Viewer product gives the decision-makers the ability to view the same dashboards, along with the same real-time data updates, and many of the other benefits found in the Dashboard Designer. The only thing missing here is the customizable design and build functionality, which is only accessible through the Dashboard Designer mentioned above.

The big takeaway with this product is the ability to only look at the data each specific decision-maker needs to see. No more filtering through tons of information you do not need.

Our Assure™ Dashboard Suite is available now through our website, 4horsemensolutions.com, along with more information about our entire product line. Free trial demos are available to download for each product. More in-depth, detailed demos of our products are available upon request through our website or call 1-800-429-5260.