Dashboards for Data-Driven Decision Making: As Easy as Driving Your Car

Updated December 2019

When we are driving we are routinely making data-driven decisions using the gauges on our dashboard to guide us.

We look to the speedometer to decide if we should press harder or let-up on the gas pedal. We focus on the gas gauge to plan for when we need to exit the highway to refuel.

Data-driven decision making should be just as easy when it comes to business. When you are driving your company forward, you should be looking to your gauges or business metrics to evaluate the most appropriate action items.

THE SPEEDOMETER:  HOW ARE WE RUNNING TODAY?

Imagine turning on your computer and having all the vitals of your company or department available for your review. No asking your sales manager for a report. No emails with the IT team. No waiting on an update from marketing. Everything is there, automatically, in real-time.

In addition, this central reporting system or dashboard acts a single source of truth for you company’s data, and identical information that is inputted slightly differently by different departments (for example: U.S., United States, USA) can be transformed to make the data uniform.

CHECK ENGINE LIGHT: YOUR ATTENTION IS NEEDED

Now imagine, it’s a long holiday weekend. You are enjoying time with your family and not checking your email constantly. Why not? Because you know you will be alerted if there is something that needs your attention. Whether it is a portion of your website that is down, a spike in resource demands, a hack or any other number of triggers that you set for yourself, you have alerts in place. 

RUNNING ON EMPTY: TIME TO REINVEST

Dashboards are helpful for monitoring the status of technology. For instance, many of our clients use Apache Kafka as their message broker and monitor the status of Kafka using Elasticsearch and Kibana.  (Learn more about monitoring Kafka with a Kibana dashboard here.)  Real-time dashboards help us and our clients decide when resources need to be scaled up or back to meet changing demand.

ODOMETER: LET’S SEE HOW FAR WE’VE COME

In addition to monitoring the current health of your company,  it is helpful to look back over months or years to see how particular metrics have improved or not and the other factors that were influenced at the same time.