Dashboard topic: Impact of the Economy on Business Dashboards.
Some dashboard software vendors such as Klipfolio suggest tough economic times are actually good for the dashboard business due to the increased scrutiny on performance.
Business Week has published a Small Business FInancing article that recommends using a business dashboard as a tool for use while pitching a company to investors. Titled “Pitching? Let Your Dashboard Do the Work: The dashboard—a single screen of key metrics and info—can give investors a better understanding of your company than slide shows or physical documents”, the article gives tips on making dashboards a tool for securing funding.
View the article here: Business Week: Let your Dashboard Do the Work.
Here’s an excerpt:
What’s a dashboard, exactly? It’s a single screen of information that paints a quick snapshot of your company’s operations. On it, you’ll see key metrics like sales trends, milestones, customer pipeline, cash flow, and so on. The information is drawn from your own accounting software such as QuickBooks, enterprise resource planning system, or customer relationship management applications such as Salesforce.com or Netsuite. If you’re not already using one of these, you can try a Web-based service such as Adaptive Planning. Either way, the figures can be refreshed or updated in real time.
So rather than sending physical documents or e-mailing clunky slide shows to a prospective investor, think about sending them a streamlined version of your dashboard. You can e-mail a dashboard in your initial pitch to investors, or ahead of your first meeting. You’ll send it as an attachement or as a link to an online version. After viewing your dashboard, investors should have a better understanding of your company, and they’ll probably think you’re well organized, too. Plus, with most Web-based dashboards, you can see if the investor has logged in, and how many times, which can be a valuable indicator of his or her interest level.
The article goes on to provide a link to a good article titled Track Your Company’s Vital Stats with Dashboard Software: A dashboard serves up your company’s vital stats at a glance
It features the following summary of dashboard software:
Dashboards can “transform raw, meaningless data into useful, actionable information,” says Boris Evelson, an analyst with Forrester Research who covers the dashboard market. A dashboard allows you to look at charts and graphs instead of reports and spreadsheets, and it can pull together data from areas as diverse as e-commerce sales and human resources. Dashboard functionality is available in CRM software such as Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, as well as in enterprise resource planning packages from companies such as NetSuite and Zoho. If those don’t give you everything you need, you can do what Lawson did and bring in data from additional applications such as QuickBooks.
Although it’s possible to add even more customization with stand-alone tools from vendors such as QlikTech, TIBCO Spotfire, and InteSoft, that can quickly get expensive. The software can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Then for every dollar spent on software, Evelson says business owners can expect to pay an additional $5 to $7 in customization services. That’s why Evelson recommends that companies with fewer than 100 employees use a dashboard that’s part of a package, rather than a stand-alone tool.
Speaking of Business Week articles on Dashboards, here is a classic article:
Tag: Business Dashboards for Investors, Dashboards as a funding tool