For a lot of people, business intelligence = dashboards. Since they’re so relied upon to present at-a-glance views of KPIs and to guide decision-making for business leaders, it’s critical that dashboards are well-formatted, easy to read and simple to navigate. Let’s explore the dashboard design trends that resonate with today’s executives.
1) Flat UI will continue to grow
In 2014 clean beats clutter. Users are drawn to crisp, clean interfaces, often with tile-based layouts. Windows 8 was influential in creating this flat design and Apple followed suit with iOS 7. Business leaders can quickly access and interpret data when information is presented in an uncluttered interface.
2) Mobile First
While it might seem like every company on earth is using business intelligence tools to glean insight from their corporate data, surveys say that nearly 10% of companies do not yet have BI in place. Even though 91% of companies may have it deployed somewhere in their organization, anecdotally BI vendors like to trot out the statistic that only 20% of potential users have access to business intelligence. The more companies we talk to, the more this seems true.
If you run a company or a department that doesn’t have access to BI tools, you might wonder how you can use them. Boris Evelson from Forrester Research compiled a list of analysis types that may apply to your situation:
- Historical (what happened)
- Operational (what is happening now)
- Analytical (why did it happen)
- Predictive (what might happen)
- Prescriptive (what should I do about it)
- Exploratory (what’s out there that I don’t know about)
When you’re first starting out with BI, you’ll likely be most interested in historical and operational analytics, though we often work with finance teams who want to dive right into predictive analytics. Let’s look at a few practical BI use cases in various departments of an organization.
Finance Department: Historical, Operational, Analytical, and Predictive Analysis
Has your business intelligence software under-delivered on value? I don’t only mean the ROI of your BI – I also mean simply how valuable BI is to your organization. Is its use engrained in your company culture? If it’s not, you’re in the majority. By some estimates, 80% of corporate data isn’t accessed by BI users. How important to your culture can BI be if it’s only touching 20% of your data? But this isn’t an article about big data or social data – this is an article about changes you can make this year to improve how valuable BI is to your company, to increase the number of users who rely on it, and to make it essential to your everyday operations. You’ve likely paid between $100,000 and $1,000,000 for your BI system – why not squeeze every last drop of value out of it?
1) Pump customer data into your analysis
Is there a company in the world who can say “We have access to all the data we need about our customers”? A 360 degree view of customers is something every company seems to be chasing. Though it might seem like an elusive goal, you can take the first steps by integrating data from your CRM, accounting and customer support systems into your BI dashboards and reports to enable analysis of customer growth, profitability, and lifetime value. Understanding these KPIs can help you spot trends, identify opportunities to cross-sell, up-sell or simply target them more effectively. Your BI platform likely connects data from multiple sources, so why not take advantage of this inherent value by getting your platform to assemble the necessary data for you so you don’t waste time manually integrating data from all these different systems. It might not be quick to incorporate customer analytics into your BI initiative, but more companies are finding it essential to the continued value of their business intelligence and the success of their company.
Learn more about customer analytics in our blog series, which starts here.
2) Set up alerts and delivery
The arc|ademy BI Challenge will be held for the third time in 2014, but this is the first time the contest is open to university students around the world!
We invite college-level computer sciences and economics students to submit innovative business intelligence, analytics and planning applications that solve real business problems for a chance at our $20,000 (15.000€) prize fund! Building prototypes with arcplan 8, students can apply individually or in groups to come out on top in one of our 3 categories:
- Innovation: applications that are novel in their visualization, methodology, or technical approach
- Fast Mover: solutions that have been developed in a short time span or can be deployed quickly
- Business Excellence: applications that aim to improve the quality of business decisions
Each winner, selected by a jury of renowned market analysts, media representatives and BI experts, will receive $6,600 (5.000€). Previous years’ winners have presented their solutions at arcplan’s arc|planet user conferences and have gotten invaluable exposure…
Everyone loves a good comeback. Stories about celebrities like Robert Downey Jr. and Britney Spears climbing back to the top after falling so far capture our collective imagination. Movies like Rocky and Cinderella Man – about underdogs making a comeback – inspire us to think we ourselves can rebound from any setback.
Is your business intelligence dashboard the underdog at your organization? Dashboards have been around for decades, with some companies not putting the time and effort into updating them regularly to keep pace with the innovations in BI and the growing expectations of users.
Done correctly, BI dashboards are indispensable resources for decision makers, capable of bringing the most pertinent information to the forefront so leaders can take action. Conversely, BI dashboards that fall short of meeting the needs of business leaders will take a back seat in the BI toolbox or be forgotten about entirely. In order to keep decision makers coming back for more, BI dashboards must serve up relevant information, keep pace with new trends in technology, and at the same time maintain visual appeal. Read on for the 3 reasons why your BI dashboard may need a comeback.
Your KPIs aren’t KPIs…