Dashboards, data visualizations, graphical scorecards, charts. Whatever you call them, they’re everywhere. And that’s because they are a top priority for financial executives, according to a Gartner study on Financial Executive International CFO Technology. It probably makes sense to you. Amidst the fast pace of the business world today, all members of our teams need easy-to-read, quickly accessible data analyses. Dashboards or data visualizations are charts, graphs, and scorecards that demonstrate data trends, successes, and challenges, employing key performance indicators (KPIs), for management of a project, a department, or the entire company.
Dashboards of all kinds are quite prevalent, whether you’re in your vehicle, looking at a credit card spending analysis, or reviewing your Google Account Activity report. BI data visualizations fit into this category of dashboards because you can get an understanding of data trajectories. However, BI dashboards are different in their interactive nature. You can adjust and configure your analytics to get the data you want. Most BI dashboards are equipped with drill-to- and drill-down functionality, so you can customize your analyses to maximize your information and make more informed decisions. Okay, okay, dashboards are great – you get it. In this article, I’m going to discuss the feature and functionality considerations for dashboard software to upgrade your Intacct experience.
Data visualizations can pull financials from multiple sources. If you need real-time analytics and only for your financial data, you use Intacct’s native visualization capabilities. Live analysis is preferable for professionals who need analyses of up-to-the-minute financial information – or smaller companies that really only need simple accounting system dashboards, without the resources to manage a BI data store, like an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube or a data warehouse. Bigger corporations, however, typically require more than core financial data, and faster and more powerful performance for their dashboards, which you can’t usually achieve with a live Intacct dashboard.
BI data store integrations enable bigger organizations to generate dashboards without making the Intacct database sluggish during data queries for real-time data visualizations. If you have several Intacct users on your team, who sometimes query data at the same time, a BI data store provides a high performance. With a data warehouse or cube, you will have to replicate your data to the storage space, but depending on a separate platform means you can avoid slowing down Intacct. Additionally, a BI data store invites you to house other data source information in one place, such as payroll data, Web site statistics, project data, etc. Some third party software manufacturers also offer hybridity in their tools, so you can decide how you would like to integrate your data.
Maybe you can relate: some organizations prefer a live analysis for urgent analytics or deadlines requiring up-to-date information, but would like a BI data store for more routine processes. Some executives require real-time operational information analyses, like inventory or sales graphical scorecards. On the other hand, regular dashboards can – and typically are produced with a cube or a data warehouse. And the good news: hybridity like this doesn’t have to be out of your financial reach. Cost is just one consideration out of many to make in your shopping process.
Let’s discuss technology platforms. Some independent software vendors (ISVs) are producing dashboard solutions on a proprietary server. These tools function on an interface that has been designed outside of the ubiquitous and flexible Excel. The aesthetics and power might be impressive, but with these platforms, you can expect a longer learning curve for your business end users because they’ve never seen the formatting before. Furthermore, Excel and Intacct have native dashboard functionality, but are usually restricted in their abilities because that is not their main purpose as software. And that’s why Excel add-in software are so popular.
Excel add-in solutions provide you the advantage of familiarity with the internationally trusted spreadsheet application as you use the upgrades and added functionality that enable you to design and produce dashboards. Excel’s native dashboard function allows you to craft visualizations within a workbook, but ISVs are continually developing more powerful, user friendly dashboard tools, driven by consumer demand. Due to the ease of use, Excel add-in software is likely going to be the simplest to deploy, but the Internet arguably offers a more flexible option.
Web-based software is the new black today because your data is accessible from anywhere you can connect to the Internet – and dashboards have followed this trend. More third party software vendors are bringing web-based data visualization solutions to market, on premises and/or in the Cloud, providing just as many choices for dashboards, KPIs, and drill-down abilities. Along the same lines, mobile dashboards are gaining in popularity, with professionals on-the-go with only mobile devices at hand. Analysis and/or decision-making deadlines do not wait until you’re back in the office, so mobile dashboard applications answer that need. Only some ISVs are producing mobile dashboards at this point, and due to the size of the screen, they tend to focus on one chart or KPI at a time. And there are a few solutions offering the flexibility of all three modes: Excel, web and mobile dashboards.
It is currently rare for an ISV to develop a solution that offers hybridity for flexible and mobile access to data visualizations. Even better – software that is positioned within a comprehensive suite of BI tools. You can even find dashboard software that is discounted if you bundle it with other product(s). The premier BI suites are built with security, fully integrated solutions, and sometimes web portal options, but they are just one team of vendor, partner, consultant and support for all of your solutions. Big picture savings of time, energy, and money.
Intacct is a robust accounting system, and if you are adept at utilizing it, you might find software additions to be excessive in terms of implementation, training, and management, particularly if the tool is not easy to use. But the top business user friendly data visualization solutions can accelerate and upgrade analysis processes, which can simplify company decision-making. You might be overwhelmed by all you need to consider when shopping around for the best product, and Solver would be happy to answer questions and generally review BI360’s Excel, web and/or mobile-based, easy-to-use dashboards module stand-alone and component in the comprehensive suite of BI modules for collaborative, streamlined decision-making capabilities with Intacct.