I was playing Tom Clancy’s Hawx air combat game with my son and he was teaching me how important the dashboards are to know where you are in the sky, see threats against you, target the enemy, etc.
It’s the same with the data in your business. Without a dashboard for your growing business how are you going to know where you’ve been, where you’re going and what you need to do to get there.
As business owners, especially those of you who have growing businesses and are larger, small businesses (10, 50, 75+ employees), you have a LOT of data coming across your computer screens, through your warehouse into your smartphones and etc.
Unfortunately, there’s only so much data you can strategically act on at one time. Sure you know if you’re profitable or losing money, because thankfully you have an accounting system to help you manage this part of your business.
But what about other ‘data points’? Do you know how various inventory levels affect your profit margin? Do you know how the length of your pay period affects your cash flow? Do you know how weather in one state is affecting the delivery of goods in another state?
Wayne Morris, CE of myDials has a passion for giving businesses a dashboard (well, several dashboards) to convert raw data into rich information and use it to make better decisions to grow their businesses.
He told me that the importance of a good dashboard is that it enables managers to make operational decisions more effectively and enable your decisions to be relevant, timely and overall much better.
Data is great, but the problem with raw data, as we are learning with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is that lots of data that’s not connected to other critical data does not help improve anything.
For very small businesses, dashboards and data analysis might not be useful. But as your business grows the better handle you have on data, the more informed decisions you’ll be able to make.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have an alert or alarm indicate something to you that’s a small problem, before it gets to be a big problem?
Using a dashboard, Wayne said, you don’t have to be a statistics specialist or expert analyst. You simply have to be able to read and make executive decisions.
Many businesses using spreadsheets like Excel to crunch numbers. However, if you want to really MINE information and see as rich information you can act on, you need business intelligence.
To start using business intelligence you need to know the drivers of your business and the metrics of those drivers. This will enable you to work with your BI vendor to customize a system that’s just for your business.
An ideal business intelligence system will help you monitor, alert, learn, share and analyze information.
Wayne showed me something very neat. With the dashboards of myDials you can also perform a “what if scenario” and manipulate the dials (data) to see how an action affects something else.
For example, if you lower the cost to create this line of products, how will this affect my profit margins – and I guess, more importantly – what specifically do I need to do to lower the cost?
You can expect to pay around $75 per user per month.