* Financial Execs Know:  Good Dashboards Transform Companies (Part 1)

[fa icon="clock-o"] 5/22/17 12:10 PM [fa icon="user"] Jon Thompson [fa icon="folder-open'] Power BI

Perhaps you’ve heard the adage, “You don’t fatten a pig by weighing it.”  While this holds true on a farm, if you’re in business, experience shows that “what gets measured, gets managed."

You also know that if your M.O. is to manage by reaction, putting out fires only when they’ve reached critical levels, you won’t likely surge ahead of the competition anytime soon. 

Similarly, if you’re a leader in your niche, you’ve probably learned the secret shared by the world’s most successful companies:  Keeping your key performance metrics front and center throughout an organization, will fatten the pig every time, almost as if by magic. 

Having started and managed several businesses over the past few decades, we’re convinced that data analytics and dashboards are the most effective way to measure and manage any business. 

BMI-HomeDashboard1-2.pngBy “dashboards”, we mean displaying business-critical information graphically and numerically in story-board form.  The right dashboards will inform decision-making and motivate everyone at every level in a business to focus on the activities that most impact growth and profitability. 

In other words, dashboards don't just spotlight the critical issues, they change the very behaviors that best address those issues.  This twofold effect creates a virtuous cycle that accelerates growth more quickly and at lower costs than any other tactic we’ve seen in our business tenure. 

We call it The Dashboard Effect, and until recently, it has been the all-but-exclusive domain of LARGE companies.  Today, thanks to a rapid evolution in tools that more affordably deploy “business intelligence” (or “BI”, VC-speak for visual-analytics), dashboards are quickly becoming a business prerequisite for employee-engagement and operational efficiency.

Financial executives are ideally positioned to put The Dashboard Effect into operation.  You already work with Excel, arguably the most user-friendly and ubiquitous analytics tools ever created.  And you already author many of the reports your company depends on. 


What you may not realize is dashboards are not simply a more visually appealing way to present data.  They turn otherwise static spreadsheets into real-time interactive charts, graphs, and tables that make exploring data more compelling (dare we say “fun”?), and much more impactful. 

The versatility of today's new breed of business intelligence tools (e.g., Tableau, Qlik, Domo, and Microsoft’s Power BI, to name a few) makes for easy blending of accounting and non-accounting data.  This functionality helps dissolve the walls that keep parts of a business isolated in data “silos,”. 

And before you get nervous about the risks of sharing data, know that current BI technologies are specifically designed to create a layer of security between your transactional systems and those consuming the data, with role-based authentication to show only the data each user is authorized to see. 

For more information on The Dashboard Effect, download the first chapter of our book, The Visible Enterprise.  Give us your feedback and we’ll ship you the full book, on our dime.

If you are ready to strike up a conversation about how companies can use their data to increase efficiency and profitability, get in touch at jon.thompson@bluemargin.com or at (970) 214-1652.

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Jon Thompson

Written by Jon Thompson

Jon Thompson is co-founder and senior partner at Blue Margin Inc. An author and speaker, Jon sheds light on how businesses can take advantage of a revolution in business intelligence to become data-driven and accelerate their success.