Relationship Between Data and Dashboards

Dashboards are a business buzzword, and who doesn’t love a good dashboard, but it’s good to understand how data drives these dashboards and how the two work together.

I get many people approaching me for business dashboards, who are surprised when I ask them what they’d like in their dashboard and if they have the supporting data. If you’re not sure what I’m on about, but you like the sound of a bespoke dashboard, then this is for you.

There are two ways to look at this.


1. You have a data set, and want a report.


Often people will realise that they can export data as a CSV from some CRM or website, and they do so. They then contact me and ask me for a dashboard. This is a relatively quick win, because all the data is there and ready to go. I can simply turn the data into a dashboard. I’ll offer suggestions as to what could be in the report, and the client will ask for others, and we’ll get their dashboard made.


2. You want a specific dashboard, but you don’t have the data.


This is slightly more difficult, but possibly more rewarding. I have people contact me and ask for dashboards because they need to monitor something. However, they don’t have the data to use. This means that we need to work backwards to determine what data they need for their desired dashboard. For example, let’s say you want to know what you’re charging per hour. Then you’d need to know how long a job has taken, and how much you charged. Then we simply find the right formula and work out the values for the dashboard. Now that’s a simple example, but I hope you get the idea. When you think about what you want on the dashboard, ask yourself what goes into that. Think about what elements are involved. Some may be common sense, but your business is unique, so you may do it differently. That’s the whole point of a bespoke dashboard. Let’s make something that shows you what you want to know. I usually try to do as much as possible reporting from as little as possible data, but obviously you can only do what is mathematically possible. I can help you decide what data is required, but you’ll need to talk me through your process and what components are involved in that process. We can then determine what data is needed, and set up an efficient spreadsheet to help capture the data you need. This data entry part of the spreadsheet can have checks and balances to see that it it as accurate as possible, and that it is all in the correct place. This will ensure accurate data, which will lead to accurate reporting. That data can then automatically populate the dashboard.




If you’d like a business dashboard, and you have a dataset to use, that data can easily be turned into a dashboard. If you don’t have the data, and you want something specific, think about what data would be needed. Consider the aspects that are involved in what you’d like on the dashboard. Don’t worry too much about the maths or formulas, just make sure you know all the components, so you don’t leave anything out. A spreadsheet can then be created to capture the required data, and turn it into a bespoke business dashboard.

If this sounds like something you need, then please get in touch.