Does your organization have SharePoint, but feel like you’re not fully capitalizing on it? Then, build a dashboard!
Importance of Impactful SharePoint Dashboards
The ability to create dashboards in SharePoint, which contain reports for executive management, is often more important than its core functionality. In SharePoint, you can build hyper-responsive, attractively designed, remarkably convincing dashboards that demonstrate all of your key performance indicators (KPIs), report updates, big data analytics, and business intelligence (BI). Additionally, dashboards are a useful way to communicate important information regarding complex projects and status updates in a quick, easy way. If designed right, they are easy to comprehend, and save a lot of time by representing massive amounts of data in one full swoop.
Think of your business as the engine under the hood and your business dashboard as a car dashboard that shows you all the important metrics of your engine’s performance instantly. Dashboards offer a visual representation of your organization’s real-time performance that allow organizations to automate information-sharing procedures.
SharePoint dashboards are also comprised of scorecards and reports to help businesses make better decisions and track performance across an enterprise. Depending on the structure of your company, one person or multiple people can be responsible for creating BI content. Hence, it is important for businesses to have a BI center site like SharePoint, because it enables them to share, consume, and manage information that is of use. These systems provide a quick outlook of your business’s most valuable data—allowing business leaders to perform accurate business analysis and garner actionable business intelligence.
The main reason why dashboards are one of the most popular business intelligence software solutions is not because they are easier to implement or more economical, but rather for their usability, efficiency, and the fact that they aid in truly actionable decision-making.
Benefits of SharePoint Dashboards
- Informed Decision-Making
One of the main benefits of using SharePoint dashboards is that they enable you to make informed decisions by presenting all the information that you require within a central location. Less time will be spent looking for the information ultimately better positioning organizations to make fast decisions.
- Actionable Reports
SharePoint dashboards combine different sources of information to provide actionable reports. You will receive reports that present visualizations of the data and summarize simply to make it easy for you to analyze and identify trends.
- Business Objectives and Goals
Dashboards help you to meet your business objectives and goals, and by identify specific business functions that can be improved upon. SharePoint dashboards can be effectively used in specific departments that handle a lot of data.
- Measure Individual Performance
Dashboards help you measure every individual’s performance via status indicators that permit you to determine if there are certain patterns that need to be addressed immediately. Employees are more likely to ‘get the job done’ if their work is quantifiable.
- Eliminates Manual Errors and Saves Time
Organizations waste a lot of time when they handle processes manually. Also, manual processes can lead to errors especially with repetitive tasks or when there are multiple entries. Dashboards allow you to automate processes, thereby helping you save significant amounts of time.
- Track Competitor Performance
Most businesses understand the importance of tracking and monitoring competitors. Dashboards can also enable you to track the progress and performance of competitors within your industry. Use the competitive market benchmark analysis template to compare your financials and total headcount with those of your competition. Enter data for up to four competitors, and the template will automatically calculate market averages. Additionally, you can do a SWOT analysis of competitors to find out where you stand in comparison.
- Customized Templates
A very substantial advantage of SharePoint is the ability to create custom dashboards using a variety of tools. There are various templates that you can use to come up with the unique pages your organization requires.
Five Ways to Create Impactful Dashboards
A dashboard can be defined as a related group of interactive scorecards and report views that are organized together in a SharePoint or Web-hosted site.
SharePoint allows you to create and use dashboards that provide up-to-date information in a centrally managed and easily accessible location. SharePoint Server tools help you create and use dashboards that are appropriate for an individual, team, group, or an entire organization. From PerformancePoint Dashboard Designer that creates dashboards, to SharePoint Server that creates a web page, SharePoint has tools for every user’s needs.
Refer to the below table to select the dashboard creation tool that suits your specific business needs:
|1||A dashboard with one or more pages displaying a variety of reusable reports and information to be used across a large group or the entire organization. The dashboard contains robust scorecards and reports, as well as display reports that are hosted on other servers.||PerformancePoint
|2||An Excel workbook containing one or more reports.||Excel Services|
|3||A SharePoint page containing one or more reports to be used by a team or a small group.||Web Part Page|
|4||An interactive chart that uses internal or external data for displaying on a single SharePoint page.||Chart Web Part|
|5||A simple scorecard or report that shows performance information for one or more metrics displayed on a single SharePoint page.||Status Indicators|
|6||A Visio diagram that is connected to data and changes visually as the underlying data changes.||Visio Web Access|
Though dashboards differ in design and complexity, most are highly interactive and allow you to explore data in individual reports and scorecards.
Challenges of Creating Dashboards
A tool is deemed useful only if its users can derive value from it. Users will only feel the positive impact of dashboards when they have the right tools in place to use them. Most fail because they don’t measure and present meaningful information.
Another important point that is often overlooked, is that dashboards are often set up without the end-user in mind. As a result, they are either extremely complicated to set up and use or require assistance from a developer or some other member of the IT team to truly engage with.
Compatibility and interfacing are some of the other common challenges of business dashboards. If a dashboard is unable to interface with other important business systems, the information it provides will be either incorrect, outdated, or otherwise limited in its usefulness. To bridge this gap users must often manually input data, thereby defeating the purpose of the dashboard all together.
Some dashboards refresh daily, while others refresh weekly. An ideal business dashboard should securely and automatically connect users to the information they need in real-time. Additionally, business dashboards should be available to a user whether they are sitting at their desk or working remotely. A well-designed, intuitive and user-friendly dashboard tool allows users to not only access critical information but to act quickly on that information.
Business Intelligence Impact
Among the many impactful benefits of BI dashboards is easy and quick access to information. This directly impacts your employees’ efficiency and saves them from having to track down key information and data. BI dashboards supply performance metrics whenever, wherever. As a result, decision-making time goes down and productivity goes up.
In today’s highly competitive business environment, decisions must be based on data, and can impact everything from sales forecasts to budget planning and customer experience. Dashboards function as a platform to build intelligent reports—presenting KPIs to keep managers and the team up-to-date and able to make intelligent, actionable decisions. Dashboards provide the BI for organizations to become more agile and competitive. They compel employees to focus their efforts and attention on finding innovative solutions, rather than sitting idle on problems. Agile and self-organizing teams make mindful decisions and gain a wider perspective to increase efficiency and workflow. Having a system that displays KPIs and employee goals enables a data-driven environment, where everyone values numbers over harder-to-quantify, subjective feelings.
Associate Director – Product Development
Amit Gupta plays a key role in incubating and establishing best SharePoint practices at AgreeYa. He is closely associated with the Product Development and Delivery team and works to find new solutions based on Microsoft technology and optimize performance and responsiveness for our clients. He can be reached at email@example.com