Businesses have expressed a need for data visualization since the beginning of data generation in enterprises. In order for executives and other decision makers to work effectively, understanding and viewing their data is an absolute must. There are many ways to go about visualizing data. The majority of enterprises generate lots of data, leaving them with hundreds and hundreds of documents filled with information to maintain. Having to skim through dozens of folders with various dates, to find that one Excel sheet you created on the company’s Return on Investment (ROI), for one of many services, can quickly become an obstacle.
To solve this problem, dashboards came about, the magic solution to dealing with loads of data and understanding it too. But not all dashboards are the same. They can come in a variety of packages, and in a multitude of designs and colour schemes. Dashboards tend to be unique depending on who it’s programmed by and where you’re getting them from. But the idea is that they provide an organized and categorized display of all of the data one might need to review. They are essentially reporting tools that centralize and visualize a variety of useful information.
Typically, they fit a variety of data sets and relevant information into one page. Some of the key performance indicators will be outlined, things that will help you figure out where you stand, depending on the type of dashboard. Telecom/Technology Expense Management dashboards will generally look at things like your IT and telecom expenses, your inventory status, and sometimes things like the level of automation you’ve reached and the ROI that’s being generated by initiatives and activities in the platform. Usually your TEM dashboard will also outline the savings you’ve accumulated over time, ideally with timelines – both actual and potential. All of these details help you work towards having a clear-cut visual perspective over your data, in one centralized place.
Dashboards have been evolving, and the amount of data you can get out of a dashboard and the way it will be presented to you is changing too. Here are some of the most popular dashboard features:
As programmers strive to create dashboards that are as user-friendly as possible, one common result has been interactivity. Providing users an ability to directly interact with the dashboard creates an extra layer of usability. Graphs should be interactive, allowing you to dig deeper into sections of interest, and expand key information for a better assessment. The ability to hover over a snippet of data and obtain greater details on that snippet is becoming a more common feature in dashboards, and with good reason.
Configurable Settings and Filters
Things like clickable legend icons that allow you to switch on and off the elements you need to see, sliding timelines, or data that can be expanded and detailed at the click of a button, make the user experience much smoother. Being able to configure a dashboard as a user can be very beneficial, allowing for a more personalized experience based on viewing the data you really need, and keeping the data you don’t need out of sight. Dashboards outline important data, such as savings, key performance indicators (KPI’s), ROI, and so on. They often act as a centralized point of access to information, a place to go when you need to assess and make decisions based on your current situation. A TEM dashboard, for example, will usually outline savings, IT and telecom costs, details on the inventory, and spending trends. All of this is necessary for decision-makers to understand their company’s telecom and technology environment. The ability to configure a dashboard according to what you need to see speeds up the process and saves you time.
Clean Cut Simplicity
While it’s easy to understand that dashboards can often become cluttered with data, unnecessary information, or overly colourful graphs and a multitude of shapes, users have recently expressed a preference for simplicity. Making use of white space can go a long way for the human eye. When everything is bunched up and squished together to fit on one tight page, looking for the exact chart that you need becomes a task in itself. Dashboards should be evidently spaced out, ideally in one pattern rather than multiple (e.g. everything in squared boxes, everything in circles) to avoid confusion. By maintaining a clean and thin layout, data pops out from the page, making the process much easier. Keeping it simple and clean is not only more appealing, but far more user-friendly, and makes data visualization a walk in the park.
Dashboards have previously been dull and unappealing. They often took on a basic appearance with no more than a few greys and blacks to divide up sections, charts and graphs. More recently, dashboards have begun to introduce colours or colour schemes into their make-up. Not only does this make dashboards far more appealing and pleasant to look at, but colours can be used to sort sections and identify key performance indicators (KPI’s) or key numbers, such as savings and costs, that a user might prioritize as they look through their dashboard.
Finally, one trend that has come about and is basically a requirement these days, is responsiveness. Since so many people will access dashboards on cellphones, tablets, laptops and computers, an interface must be designed to be viewed effectively on all surfaces. Most dashboards today can be viewed from any of these devices and should retain their appeal and usability, despite the shrunken down screen of a cellphone compared to a desktop.
The Cimpl Dashboard
Cimpl’s TEM dashboard encompasses all of these trends, bringing users a smooth, clear-cut experience. Data is made available at-a-glance for everyone in the company according to their roles. The ability to easily compare spending trends allows for well-informed decision making. Over-usage, cost spikes, and inventory irregularities can be quickly detected by the platform and demonstrated in the dashboard. ROI generated by actions and initiatives, such as workflow automation, is tracked and displayed. Everything is separated in a clean, white layout with a primarily orange colour scheme.
The platform’s role-based access functionality provides an insulated layer of security for the company. Dashboards are particular to the user, outlining different elements depending on their role. Employees can view their costs to the company and the assets they own. The dashboard is not only interactive, but is also configurable, with a sliding timeline, interactive graphs and charts, that allow you to make modifications and view the most pertinent data.
Ready to take back control of your technology costs? Request a free demo >>
Join us on October 25 at 1:00pm ET for our webinar on Dashboards and Role-Based Access. We’ll demonstrate the Cimpl dashboard and all of the features and functionalities of the tool. The live event will also explore the benefits of role-based access, particularly for data visualization.
- How to Visualize and Centralize Your Data
- Cimpl Offers Technology Cost Visibility Through At-A-Glance Dashboards and Role-Based Access
- Learn How Cimpl Empowers Companies with Centralizing Data
AUTHOR: Victoria Lewin