Top 5 Reasons Busy Execs Choose Online Dashboards

Last Updated: Friday, October 26, 2012 by Johnathan Briggs

As online security standards have increased, businesses are increasingly moving their software into the cloud and therefore reducing their costs, maintenance and becoming more dynamic and quicker to react to change. Most in-house dashboard solutions are a complete management nightmare. They are costly, time-consuming and mostly take power away from managers and put it into the hands of techies.

Online dashboards such as Target Dashboard are a breath of fresh air for companies, so huge numbers of busy business executives and managers have now either moved to online dashboard solutions or reviewing their current position as they work to build the perfect dashboard.

In this post I am going to outline the five key reasons that top level, influential managers have moved their business intelligence or KPI dashboard reporting to online cloud-based services.

Online Dashboards are Quick to Set-up

Everybody involved in business is now very familiar with how to browse the web and use online applications. The beauty of the web is its simplicity. Moving a traditionally off-line application onto the web requires a great deal of thought for the user interface. However when done well an online application uses the same basic principles of navigation that we are all used to in our everyday lives. The result of this is that most people can very quickly learn to use an online application, often with little or no training. With the traditional off-line application you would typically require to train every member of staff based on their specific role but with an online dashboard application most people will find they can learn on the job and still be very competent. This leads to a much quicker implementation time and you can actually be up and running in just hours and not weeks.

If you bought an off-line dashboard product, then you would often spend a lot of time speaking to the vendor's sales team to see whether the product is a good fit your requirements. When you are happy with the fit you will likely sign the order and a large scale implementation process will begin. Several weeks or months later you should have some dashboards.

With an online KPI dashboard, the software is ready before you are, therefore you can be securely set up and installed in minutes. This means that most online dashboard software vendors will allow you to trial their software almost instantly, so rather than speak to sales guys, within just minutes you can be experimenting with the online software and learning if it meets your needs. The result of this is not just a massively reduced procurement timescale but also a much quicker implementation time and reduced risk.

Without doubt, having key management information at your fingertips on any form of dashboard allows a business to run better so having a faster procurement and implementation time means that the organisations using the online dashboards are stealing a competitive advantage over others implementing old fashioned software.

Most Online Dashboards Run on Many Devices

For the last 20 years the corporate world has been dominated by the boxed PC but now we are in a major era of change. Mobile devices have now become commonplace in the work environment as well as other alternative business computers to the PC. This leaves us in a time period when buying software can have a non-clear future. ie. in one or two years' time will our software need to be used on a PC, Mac, a smart phone, a mini tablet, a full tablet. Also what operating system will these run? Windows, iOS, Android or something else. When buying an off-line product you generally have to commit yourself to one of these environments, however most online dashboard solutions run in a simple web browser and thus it really doesn't matter what devices or operating system accesses information it's available on everything and effectively future proof.

View From Anywhere

As business becomes more mobile, geography in the corporate world becomes less important. In most companies there are people travelling, working from different offices or simply doing work from home. To be effective in all of these environments the software needs to become geographically independent. The great advantage of all cloud-based dashboard reporting software applications is that you can always access the online application from anywhere in the world as if you were sat in the office. This gives people who are less office-based more tools to make better decisions.

Lower costs and more features

Off-line business intelligence and dashboard KPI software has traditionally been very expensive. As a company you may commit to buy a version of an off-line dashboard product and then install onto your corporate network. You will likely pay a very large initial sum of money and then in around a year the vendor will be telling you about the costs of a new version of the software with new features. With cloud-based applications you normally pay a very small monthly fee and no upfront costs. The online software companies therefore have much less of a hold over you as you can leave and go to a competitor quite easily. The result of this is that online software evolves new features very quickly and at no cost. The online companies learn from their customer's requirements and improve their software by adding new features that they roll out to everybody. This means that the concept of the software "version" is almost dead as online applications always "evolve" to meet more needs

Online Applications Need No Maintenance

If you purchased an off-line system then it likely that this will require a server, a backup system and a reasonable amount of time of your IT team - these are all direct and indirect costs to your organisation.

With online cloud-based web dashboard systems all of this maintenance goes away and is handled by specialists at the host company. Because they provide a service for very large numbers of companies it likely that they have an infrastructure and processes in place to maintain the quality of service that is far in excess of what could be done in-house. Almost all businesses are now looking at migrating many of their services to the cloud and at the top of the list of advantages is often the reduced cost of ownership.

Business executives realise that an online dashboard solution is quick to set up, inexpensive and very powerful and therefore is a natural progression from any existing systems that they have. This year at Target Dashboard we have seen growth in clients of three times the previous year and also a marked increase in larger corporate customers.

Learn more about how to build the perfect dashboard with our KPI Dashboard Best Practice Guide or get started with your free trial of Target Dashboard KPI software today!