Introduction and Cyfe, Domo, Hootsuite
Business runs at the speed of light, but keeping track of data can be a monumental challenge. How do you know whether that sales forecast from marketing is matching up with reality? When you launch a new corporate website, is there any way to see if users are sticking around reading about your new products? Plunging into the data takes hours.
These business intelligence dashboards present data using some visual flair to help managers make sense of complex data with just a glance. They are highly configurable so the dashboard only shows the data most relevant to your business without inundating you with too much data.
What can they do? In the complex world of business management, a dashboard presents data in a way that encourages action and decision making. Good data means good decisions.
These tools provide a quick glance at complex data like sales orders at an e-commerce site or how long visitors stay at a corporate site so managers can act quickly and correct problems. Without them, managers and employees have to drill into data sets and try to understand the summary, which can take hours longer when the goal is to understand performance and action items.
Billed as the "all-in-one" business dashboard, Cyfe seems to live up to that claim. It allows you to monitor websites including analytics like traffic and how long a new customer stays online, plus you can keep tabs on sales progress and support issues by department, and pull data from multiple sources like Salesforce.com or Google Analytics.
It's the rare tool that focuses both on business intelligence (sales and support) and web success (number of users engaged) at the same time.
Best feature: Clear presentation in a dashboard to help understand complex data streams. This means no wading through complex data or poorly contrived thumbnail views.
Domo is a powerful business intelligence dashboard which aims to help companies run their operations using a visual thumbnail approach. You can connect sources like spreadsheets, cloud apps, data warehouses, CRM databases, and social media activity. The dashboard is highly visual and shows large numeric data points like total sales, cash balances, sales order on record, and year-to-date expenses across the entire organisation.
Best feature: Focus on business intelligence data to manage sales, CRM, and social media. It means employees do not need to use as many dashboards.
3. Hootsuite Pro
Hootsuite is focused on social media management, and the columnar dashboard presents a wealth of information in one main view. You can quickly see mentions for a brand, track multiple social media profiles, and respond to customer issues.
The dashboard supports multiple team members, scheduled posts, and admin approvals to help a large company track social media. Reports show detailed info about social media follows, mentions of a brand, and how many people are viewing a post about that new product launch.
Best feature: The columns that present social media data in one glance. This means those tasked with managing social media have more data to act on in one view.
Tableau, Geckoboard, GoSquared and SumAll
4. Tableau Desktop
This enterprise-grade business intelligence app does it all. The dashboard shows analytics for every conceivable part of business, from sales orders to customer support issues to web page visits. If there's data available – from sources like Oracle, SAL, Salesforce, and many others – you can pull the visual representation into Tableau.
The high-end app goes even further by integrating with cloud platforms like Cloudera Hadoop, Google BigQuery, Amazon Red Shift, and many others, yet the data is represented in a more digestible format.
Best feature: The all-encompassing nature of the dashboard that syncs with almost any source. It means more of the business can be managed even at large companies.
One of the most useful web analytics interfaces, Geckoboard shows a summary of website and business data in a highly visual, colourful format. The dashboard integrates with many sources of data like Google Analytics, accounting apps, CRM, and many more. A unique feature is the ability to run Geckoboard in a full-screen HDTV mode. If there isn't an existing connector available, an API lets developers create one for custom integrations.
Best feature: The API that lets developers create connections to almost any custom source. It means the dashboard is "infinitely" extensible.
For companies that need to do a deep dive into web analytics, GoSquared is the best choice. It presents data in a highly visual and "personal" format. The personal touch is a unique feature in that you can track individual visitors and see how long they stay at a site, the pages they visit, and if they come back for more. You can even track how people click, type, and scroll.
The Now dashboard shows in one view a graph of web visitors, page views, and even info about which devices people are using to visit your site. You can even see links to your site from sources like Twitter and then engage with those potential site visitors outside of GoSquared.
Best feature: The ability to see incoming links from Twitter posts so you can act on them and engage with customers who are creating the links.
SumAll is a social media manager along the lines of HootSuite but infused with powerful new features. The dashboard lets you track mentions of a brand on social media sites, and some social ad campaign data like clicks and website visits. However, it also links to Google Analytics, email management tools like MailChimp, and e-commerce platforms like Square. The interface looks like an engaging chart with a few boxes that contain summaries to help you make decisions.
Best feature: The ability to connect to the Square e-commerce platform so you can see how your sales are progressing in real-time.