In part one of the series, we discussed the three types of dashboards: – Strategic, Analytical and Operational. In this post, let us see in detail how to construct strategic dashboards.
What are strategic dashboards?
Strategic dashboards are used by upper management professionals like business owners, CEOs, vice presidents, and departmental heads. Strategic dashboards tend to be simple looking and provide a quick overview of the organization’s or department’s overall health.
They highlight the key metrics (KPIs) to track and provide the required information to compare the trends over time. These dashboards are looked at once a week, monthly or quarterly, but not daily.
Creating business dashboards have always been easy with Zoho Reports. Dashboards thus created can be shared and accessed from web URLs. But you may have clients (or colleagues) who would like to view the dashboards as PDF files. Now, how nice would it be if your dashboards were to be emailed as beautifully formatted PDFs with your own company’s logo?
Till recently, it was possible only for individual reports to be exported/mailed as PDF. Now, dashboards can be exported/emailed as PDF too.
You can even schedule the dashboard PDF files to be emailed at regular intervals using the scheduled emailing of reports feature.
Note: The PDF generation is optimized for charts. Just make sure that the dashboards you convert as PDF don’t contain large data tables.
The latest update to Zoho Reports brought in two nifty features. Let’s look at them in detail.
A dashboard in Zoho Reports is created by dragging and dropping multiple reports on a single page. Till now, we had one/two column layout options with fixed width & height. We have brought in greater flexibility to the layout now. You can now resize each of the embedded reports within a dashboard. This makes your dashboard look prettier, allotting more space for longer/wider reports, avoiding unnecessary blank spaces where you need to have shorter/smaller reports etc.
Resizing the reports is easy. Go to the Edit Design mode, hover your mouse over the report’s borders that need to be resized and drag as needed.
Charts – More Sorting Options
We have added two more sorting options in Charts, important ones at that. When your chart contains a String or Date column in one axis and Numeric column in the other, you can order the values in String/Date column based on the numeric data in either ascending or descending order.
New options that have been added are:
Options when Y-axis has numeric column and X-axis has String/Date column:
By Y-value – Ascending: Sorts values in X-axis based on Y-values, ordered from smallest to largest
By Y-value – Descending: Sorts values in X-axis based on Y-values, ordered from largest to smallest
Options when X-axis has numeric column and Y-axis has String/Date column:
By X-value – Ascending: Sorts values in Y-axis based on X-values, ordered from smallest to largest
By X-value – Descending: Sorts values in Y-axis based on X-values, ordered from largest to smallest
Try these new features in Zoho Reports and let us know how it goes.
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An organization’s key information (data and reports) should be readily available at any point of time. A BI and reporting solution makes this possible through a dashboard. The below slide deck shows how easy it is to create dashboards in Zoho Reports and use the other features available (like inserting text/images and sharing/publishing of dashboards).
Some dashboard samples created using Zoho Reports
Create and Share Dashboards using Zoho Reports and let us know how it went.
We’re happy to announce that Zoho Reports, our online business intelligence & reporting tool has graduated out of beta today. Zoho Reports helps businesses make better sense of their data by providing useful insights through powerful reporting and analytics, which
transforms to informed decision making. It achieves this through an impressive set of capabilities that lets users easily perform a variety of tasks, such as:
- Upload any data. Zoho Reports lets users securely upload spreadsheets and tabular data such as .CSV, .TSV, .XLS or .HTML files. Of course, users can also add
data directly using the spreadsheet-like interface.
- Push data from any application. Zoho Reports works with hosted and traditional (in-house, behind a firewall) business applications and databases for reporting and analysis. Users can fetch and upload data into Zoho Reports from Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL and MS Access databases. Automatic periodic uploads/synchronization is also supported.
- Drag-and-Drop interface. Users can visually analyze and build insightful reports and dashboards using a drag-and-drop interface, all by themselves.
- Use a variety of reporting components. Users have access to a wide range of reporting components, including charts, pivot tables, tabular view and dashboard components that ensure
the most insightful report building and analysis possible.
- Query with SQL. Zoho Reports lets users create powerful and flexible reports with SQL queries written in any database dialect/syntax.
- Collaborative analysis. Users can develop reports together, enabling informed, collaborative business decisions. Reports can easily be shared with fine-grained
access control, giving the report owner complete control over data and reports being shared.
- Embed reports anywhere. Zoho Reports encourages widespread consumption of business intelligence by enabling users to embed reports in websites, intranets, blogs,
applications, iGoogle and Microsoft SharePoint Server.
- Secure all data and reports. Zoho Reports maintains a highly secure environment for all user data. Access to data and reports is secured with a proper user name and password, via HTTPS (SSL connection) network connectivity. All data and reports are hosted in highly secure datacenters, which offer redundancy, backup and continuity.
New functionalities in this release include,
- Dashboard view. Users can collate similar reports and view them all on a single page. For instance, a dashboard page consisting of 10 reports can be displayed in a “5×2” (five rows and two columns) format.
- iGoogle gadget. Users can embed the gadget version of Zoho Reports in their iGoogle home page, giving them ready access to their reports and dashboards from their iGoogle page.
Like other Zoho products, Zoho Reports offers a generous free edition. And the pricing plans start at $15 per month (for 250,000 rows and 2 users). Take a look at Zoho Reports. We hope you’ll like it.