Companies now have access to more information than ever before. The challenge is knowing what to do with it all.
More often than not, the amount of information that a company collects and generates is so vast that it ends up siloed within business units and not shared efficiently across the organisation.
One way to get around this is to use a data integration and visualisation solution, so that you can share relevant information from multiple systems in a real-time dashboard with your entire team.
This not only allows you to break down silos and increase collaboration between teams, but also ensures that you have the latest info at hand when making business decisions.
All great in theory, right, but where do you start?
If a data integration and visualisation solution sounds appealing, there are a number of things to consider before you take the plunge. Here are our top 10:
1. Before you even start looking at technical solutions, take the time to understand your company needs. Which departments need their information visualized in a real-time dashboard? Are there any constraints you should be aware of? Do you have buy-in from key stakeholders? What are your objectives and how will the solution you are proposing deliver on them?
2. Once you’ve established your objectives, consider what data you want to visualise. For instance, do you need to integrate multiple data sources from different agencies, departments, systems etc.? If so, consider who is going to co-ordinate all of this.
3. Think about whether you have the internal capability to manage the data transformation, or if you need someone to do it for you. This is a big one and, until you have to do it yourself, you won’t appreciate how labour-intensive cleaning up data feeds and formatting them can be …. especially if they are coming from a variety of sources.
4. Do you have someone in your team who is data savvy and knows the best way to visualize data, or would you prefer to have someone outside your organization, who specializes in this area to build the dashboard for you?
5. Do you need to be able to combine different data sources to see the impact they have on one another? This is often far more valuable than looking at metrics in isolation, so make sure you choose a vendor that can deliver on this. While some off-the-shelf solutions give you the ability to create (for example) dual axis line charts, the set up can be quite complicated and additional charges may apply, so make sure you do your research.
6. Do a lot of people in your organization need access to the dashboard? If this is the case, you might want to choose a vendor that doesn’t charge per user, as this can really add up over time and become a barrier to sharing data within your business.
7. Do you need role-based access to ensure that the right people have access to the data they need while, at the same time, protecting confidential data? Think about your access levels early on and make sure you have the flexibility to easily change them to accommodate changes in personnel etc.
8. Do you require real-time alerts, so that you know when KPIs fall below certain thresholds, or when new data sources are added to your dashboard? Make sure the solution you choose can deliver on this and that you have the flexibility to nominate who the alerts will go to.
9. Consider how many data sources you need to visualize and the size of the data you need to house, as this could have an impact on the cost. Storage limits are common in most solutions, so just be mindful of how much storage you are likely to require, so that you can avoid costly overruns.
10. Last, but by no means least, consider what technical and customer support is available. Ideally, you want to be able to speak to a person who is dedicated to your success, not a chatbot. 😊
If you would like to find out more about the power of data integration and visualisation, and what HX One can do for your business, contact us today.