Collecting data with no plan to report on it is, well frankly, silly. It makes no sense to collect data with no way to use it! The crazy thing is many software development companies recommend that exact thing.
There are so many options out there today for rich dashboards and reporting. It can get confusing, but this is another one of the secrets about technology: most of the time there is no wrong answer, and there usually is no one answer.
What is the difference between a Dashboard and a Report?
Dashboards and report typically require different approaches because they achieve different purposes.
- Dashboards: Data visualizations that allow for quick understanding of summary data, Key Performance Indicators, and overall health and operations.
- Reports: Data objects designed for printing in forms like signable forms, detail or line level reports, labels for shop travelers, etc.
What technologies make the most sense for Dashboards and Reports in my business?
Since these are different delivery needs, the technology we use to address them is often different. Some reporting suites such as Cognos from IBM, MicroStrategy, and Web Focus from IBI have solutions built in for both. They also require a significant investment that put them outside of budget for most of Contollo’s consulting clients.
But How we find a good balance?
Well, most of the companies we work with are well served by dashboards written in Microsoft’s Power BI. PowerBI represents a good balance between low entry costs, decent features, and reasonable monthly expenses.
Reports written in either Visual Studio Report builder or HTML reports written with DevExpress toolkit.
This combination allows for a good balance of performance, productivity, and cost efficiency.
Is there something else I need to know?
Yes, you should always know that data platform you use is not as important as having a plan for ensuring high quality and consistent data. Your data collection and storage applications need to be configured to ensure the correct data standards are met.
The number of users will affect the monthly cost of the BI platform. If this is a concern, it may be better to use a toolkit and develop the dashboards in your application. This is something to consider when creating your Technology Strategy.
What we recommend?
At Contollo we recommend documenting the Key Performance Indicators, choosing the data storage solution, and choosing the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM, and other applications you will use before selecting a reporting product. Recently we worked with a client that chose PowerBI for their visualization tool and Firebase for their database and webhost. PowerBI did not have a functional way connect Firebase, which was not discovered until they had too much invested to turn back.
There are many tools on the market right now, to recommend the perfect pairing for your technology requires knowledge of your environment and systems, which is exactly the purpose of our Technology Strategy.
Let us talk about a few of those needs:
A construction business needs visibility into construction processes on multiple, along with a more efficient way to collect needed data in the field and send the data to the home office.
If you miss something read the previous chapter
Contollo will be glad to help your company, schedule a technology assessment for free!