Guest Post: Tim Griffin, Userful
In business today, tracking your company’s performance is vital to ensure its success. Organizations track online traffic, stock performance, social engagement, eCommerce, support tickets, as well as external information that executives need to be aware of to help them make better business decisions—e.g. currency exchanges, local weather, international news.
With an almost limitless number of data points vital to business success, information overload can cripple the ability to see the right metrics. So, in order to ensure that key players in the company, or sometimes everyone in the company, are up to speed, organizations use dashboards to display key statistics and data points from a variety of sources.
Using dashboards to organize your data
By providing at-a-glance views of key performance indicators (KPI), dashboards allow us to organize data into graphs, charts and maps, and visualize them based on time of day, day of week, or even across the years. Dashboards offer great flexibility, as metrics can be grouped for a particular objective or business process—sales, marketing, human resources, or production—and staff can easily filter data by any criteria they need, and display only the relevant data.
Data visualization using dashboards is of high value to organizations, and with large streams of data pouring in every second, companies are looking at how best to use them. In other words, they want to be able to make decisions based on incoming data without delay. And there are often multiple dashboards as well as other information sources they need to monitor.
How to maximize dashboard visualization?
Any company or organization with multiple processes, has to deal with great amounts of data and large numbers of dashboards. For example, an online marketplace might track purchase activity, site availability and uptime, user/member growth, geographic location of sales. But they also track advertising and marketing campaigns, social media engagement, support tickets, warehouse inventory and shipping dates. On top of that, they will be tracking revenue, forecasts and stock prices.
Dashboard management is key to ensure that the relevant data is visible to the right staff—i.e. website related data for the web team; campaign, social media and advertising data for the marketing team, and support tickets and bug reports for the support team. The challenge comes for staff—generally management and the executives—that need to be able to keep track of many (if not all) of the dashboards. They need an approach that allows for quick and easy visualization for decision making.
Video walls hold the answer
Video walls provide the real estate, the power and the flexibility to display multiple dashboards simultaneously. They are highly visible, which allows staff to see multiple metrics as needed, and enable collaboration among team members.
A good video wall controller also gives you the flexibility to manage and display content on both video walls and independent displays. So, for example, a video wall in a meeting room or a common area can display dashboards of interest to the management team, while individual screens at each department can showcase the relevant dashboards to each team. A video wall controller also has the flexibility too to support multiple input sources and displays them simultaneously on different zones within the video wall, and allows you to quickly change what’s shown on the displays, making it more interactive.
A good video wall controller will also allow a user to interact with the dashboard on the video wall—taking control of it with his or her mouse and keyboard when needed—vital for any interactive dashboard.
Some video wall solutions offer cloud based management and control. This is beneficial to organizations with multiple sites across the country (or even across the globe). If executives want to ensure all sites are aware of the same information, they can push out data and dashboards to displays across the enterprise, to any site worldwide.
In this age of information overload, being able to capture data as it happens simplifies things and help teams focus on their goals. Video walls offer the ideal platform to visualize many data sources and dashboards at once, and now that there are cost effective video wall solutions on the market such as Userful, video walls are affordable for any business whether a global enterprise or a small business
AV entrepreneur and analyst Tim Griffin is the founder and CTO of Userful Corporation, an industry leading software appliance for AV & IT professionals to easily control large numbers of displays and interactive content sources from any browser.