There are host of new management tools for businesses of all sizes currently coming on-stream. Tools linked to CRM, ERP, Project Management, Team communication which were once only used by large companies being offered to them by even larger companies such as SAP and Oracle are now available to SME via the cloud. One of the areas a lot of new tools are available is around Data Visualisation. We are fans of “Dashboards” for managing businesses and hence are now trialling several of these tools to see which is genuinely useful.
What does it do?
Business data visualisation – especially used for sales over multiple products over multiple months - budgets versus actuals, product categories, visualisation etc. At its core, it takes excel data you have collated and with guidance, creates charts. It is smart enough not to need to know what the columns ACTUALLY mean but guides you through a process so that you give it enough information to create comparisons between budgets and actual data, averages, best monthly sales etc. The beauty of this product is that it displays well on mobile and tablets having being designed from the bottom up for these smaller displays. In a rush for sales meeting and have nothing prepared? Perfect for these purposes.
Cost per user?
$10 per user per month for the basic plan. Cheaper plans for more users.
Ease of use? Plus across devices?
You have to dedicate some time to making sure you have the correct excel data in the first place – this is the real work. This tool will NOT DO DATA ORIGINATION or tell you what you need to look at. It is dumb until you instruct it. However the guidance as you step through the uploaded file is fairly good and leads to a good result. The charts are clean and well spaced and you have multiples choices from bar to line to pie to….
Bottom Line – whatever…:
This tool essentially replaces an analyst who can use pivot tables and do basic excel charting and link the charts to a nice document with headlines. For $10 per month – this is not expensive. The thing is – if you have your excel file set up properly in the first place with output charts– then it will more or less update itself as time goes on and you add more data and update the charts.
SO – if there is no one in your office who can use an excel charting tool or pivot tables – this is perfect. If you have some staff who have basic excel - then use them. Most of the trouble is in collecting the right data in the first place and knowing what you should be looking at.
Score: 6/10 - docking marks because it essentially just automates chart making, which excel has pretty much automated already.
By John Rowland, Managing Partner