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When running a business, every moment is a precious commodity. The difference between an average experience for a customer and a great one exists in the minutes of a response time, and the difference between a lot of progress and very little lives in how much work you got done the day before. It grows tiresome to waste even a few seconds to search for data; even more so when you can’t be sure your data is up-to-date. As you know, seconds add up and they make all the difference. What if you had a tool that could look at all the information you need and give you the results in one screen? Welcome to Sage Intaact’s real-time dashboards.

What are real-time dashboards?

Real-time dashboards are cloud-based visual aids that allow for a single space where you can access the entirety of your company’s relevant and necessary data from a web browser window. In other words, a real-time dashboard delivers information immediately without having to run reports, receive emails, or forage through Excel. By presenting relevant data in a graphical manner, the data is easy to access and understand without the labor of creating or reading reports; the information you want exists at your fingertips.

What are the biggest benefits to using dashboards?

Real-time dashboards have a number of benefits. The most obvious is access to information real time. You can instantly see what’s happening in your company right now—not a month ago, not a week ago, not even a few minutes ago. The data is 100% current. Another benefit is that real-time dashboards are completely customizable. A company is made up of many different people with individual viewpoints that all fit together to create the whole. With real-time dashboards, you don’t have to force a one-size-fits-all solution onto everyone; rather each person within a company can customize dashboards to meet his or her own unique needs in order to perform to the highest standard. Real-time dashboards also present statistical information. You can quickly see statistics such as the number of employees or clients and easily calculate it against financial data for an overall picture of the state of a project or even the state of your company.  Yet another benefit is that real-time dashboards can help a company meet its compliance needs. Whether it be sales tax or HR regulations, real-time dashboards can present information on and reminders about compliance right away.  Real-time dashboards also link to other website feeds. You can access your customers’ LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages, and most recent tweets in a single screen.  Finally, real-time dashboards allow you to see consolidated information on all of your companies. A dashboard can easily retrieve data relevant to each of your entities and present the sum total in a single snapshot so you no longer need to wade through endless amounts of irrelevant info.

Who can use dashboards? How are they used throughout an organization?

Dashboards would be beneficial to every single person working in a company, from the CFO to the warehouse workers. Here are some examples of how dashboards might be used:
A controller could use dashboards to see the overall financial state of a company, such as total money owed, total money customers owe, profit and loss statements, cash balances, and consolidated financials.  A warehouse employee might use dashboards to see how many orders have been picked for the day, how many orders are left to pick, and quantity on hand.  A salesperson might use dashboards to see total items sold, total money owed by customers, and expense reimbursements waiting to be approved.  The possibilities are genuinely endless.

What technological advancements have allowed for the development of real time dashboards?

One of the greatest technological advancements of the last twenty years has been the development of the cloud. The movement of accounting data to the cloud has directly allowed for the development of real-time dashboards. Due to the data existing in the cloud, programs can be written in code designed for browsers, allowing the data to be presented anywhere, any time, and any way.

How can I determine whether my ERP software is enabled to produce dashboards?

Real-time dashboards are a cloud-based and browser-based product, so if your ERP software is based in the cloud, you’re all set. If your ERP is not cloud-based, it probably does not allow for real-time dashboards. However there are third-party products that can be added on to your server-based software which will allow you to create dashboards, although they likely will not have real-time access.

What risk does a company take by not utilizing dashboards?

The biggest risk taken is stale information. In today’s world, data that is a few minutes old might be virtually unusable, and with real-time dashboards, you never need to take that risk again. A couple more risks: not being up-to-date with compliance needs so that you might fall outside of legal regulations and not having work flows in place to make your company more efficient, such as the readily available approval routing systems provided by dashboards.

How does an organization build a set of dashboards?

In Sage Intaact, dashboard building is intuitive and easy. Every dashboard is made up of components that can be quickly added to a dashboard. For example, any time a report is run, there is a button in the top right corner that says “Add to Dashboard” and it takes one simple click for the dashboard-building process to begin.

How can ACI help?

Professional assistance is unnecessary in order to set up real-time dashboards. However, if you have more complex considerations regarding dashboards or simply find that you would rather your time be used elsewhere, ACI Consulting can sit down with you and listen to your unique needs, draw up specifications of exactly how your dashboards will function, and then build the dashboards for you.  ACI has written hundreds of dashboards that are used every day by companies around the world who have come to rely on their dashboards as integral components of running their businesses. In an age where time is a currency and old data is useless, real-time dashboards are not only helpful, but necessary. Once you’ve freed yourself from slogging through out-of-date info, your business can soar to new heights.

Contact Douglas Luchansky to take your next step.