You likely rely on at least one dashboard to get your job done, but how can you tell that it’s the “right” dashboard? Most of us rely on dashboards that were in use when we got the job initially, or otherwise were handed a solution instead of finding one ourselves. Those of us in control of the decision might have picked one based on convenience, because it was the easiest one to find or the first one that seemed intuitive enough to help with your needs.
But if you want to get more out of your dashboard, it’s important to judge your current platform with a critical eye. Are you using the best possible dashboard? And if not, what can you do to find one?
Defining Your Goals
Everything starts with defining your goals. What is it that you’re hoping to get out of this dashboard, and which of these are higher priorities than others?
These are just some of the factors to consider:
- Productivity and efficiency. Dashboards have the power to save us time and improve our productivity—even though not all dashboards ultimately make good on that promise. The idea is that the simplicity and intuitiveness of a dashboard’s features should save you time that you would otherwise spend on doing those tasks manually.
- Data integrity and reliability. You also need to know that your data is safe, and that you have checks and balances to ensure that your data is being entered appropriately. For example, it’s good to get a warning if and when you attempt to make duplicate entries in a CRM dashboard.
- Visuals and reporting. Most dashboards attempt to turn big data into digestible insights by converting them into a more visual presentation. In other words, they use charts, graphs, and other visual depictions to help the user form conclusions that wouldn’t be intuitively possible just by glancing over the numbers.
- Customizability. Customizability may also be a priority for you. A diversity of available dashboard templates and changeable layouts can help you tweak any dashboard to perfection.
Key Questions to Ask
So is your dashboard really giving you everything it should? Ask yourself these questions:
- How many platforms did you evaluate before landing on this one? There are likely hundreds, if not thousands of dashboards like this one available on the market. How many of those did you evaluate before finalizing your decision on this one? If this is literally the only option you considered, the possibility that there might be a better one out there is quite high. If this was the best of a dozen or more options, you can rest more comfortably in the integrity of your decision.
- How long have you used this platform without considering a change? Technology changes quickly, and there are new innovations in the world of dashboards all the time. If it’s been more than a few years since you’ve even looked at other dashboards, it’s definitely time to reevaluate your relationship with your existing provider, and potentially look at new options.
- How much time do you spend working on the platform? This can be a tricky question to answer, but it’s an important one if one of your main priorities is actively saving yourself time. If this dashboard is meant to save you time on menial tasks, but ends up demanding significant time or energy expenditure to maintain your records within the dashboard manually, it may end up doing more harm than good.
- Do you ever find yourself wanting for new or different features? It’s sometimes hard to know what you’re missing, and you might be perfectly content with the dashboard you have simply due to a lack of imagination about what else could be out there. Think carefully about what other features you’d like to have access to. What would make your life easier? Could these be found in a different option?
- How much control do you have? Finally, how much control do you have over the layout and features of your dashboard? Are you subject to the whims of the developers, or have you spent time cultivating just the right screens and reports for yourself?
Finding a New Solution? If your answer to any of the above questions lead you to believe there’s even a chance that a different dashboard could be giving you a better experience, it’s in your best interest to give those dashboards a try. Most online dashboards offer a free trial of their software, so you can get your hands on it before you buy it. Take advantage of this by experimenting with and evaluating as many platforms that align with your goals as possible before making a transition.