Analyse, interpret and display your data, for as little as $20 a month

Small businesses often rely on the financial data held in their accounting software or service as their primary source of information about business performance. Cloud solutions, such as Xero and Saasu, offer similar information to desktop software, but add slick looking ‘live’ displays of key financial metrics.

But what about the rest of the data generated by your business? Sales statistics, KPI’s, job tracking, customer satisfaction phone calls, or whatever it is that you track in your business?

The answer may be a dashboard, built just for you.

A dashboard is simply a user interface that organises and presents information in a way that is easy to read. A dashboard can display all of your business data in an attractive graphical form, and make even the most complex information easy to understand and review.

Not very long ago the creation of an impressive dashboard was a costly exercise, normally outside of the budget of most small businesses, but that is no longer the case.

Now, an impressive dashboard can be created and hosted for as little as $20 a month.

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Here’s how –

Decide on a platform – there are two main types of dashboard software: software you run in-house, and hosted services. Each has advantages, but for simplicity and cost reasons we recommend a hosted service for small business customers. There are many to choose from, such as Tableau, The Dash, and Qlik, but we like, use and recommend Klipfolio.

Identify your data – most small businesses rely on a number of software applications, rather than just one, and as a result the business data is held in multiple locations and systems. It is important to identify the data that you will want to analyze first, and then to confirm the options to connect to that data from your chosen platform. Most platforms will connect to a wide range of data sources, but in some cases you may need to choose a platform based on the ability to connect to your data.

Sketch it out – there is no harm in jumping in and having a go at creating some charts, graphs and displays, but if you want to save time it’s definitely worth sketching out the information you want to display, working out how the displays should be grouped, and noting where the data for each display will come from.

Build it – with your design sketches in hand it’s time to configure your data sources, and then create your displays. The amount of effort required can range from almost nothing to potentially weeks of work – it all depends on your data and what you are seeking to achieve. Most platforms will offer documentation, guidance and support to help you make the most of their service.

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It’s perfectly possible to create your own dashboard, from start to finish, without any expert assistance. If you are comfortable with MS Excel, or MS Access, you will already have a good head start, but even a complete novice can achieve a good result.

Professional assistance, such as the services we provide, will cut down the time it takes to launch your dashboard, and will ensure that the end result is polished and can be developed further over time.

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