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Simple, but not simpler

6 February 2013Sales Growth

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler” – Albert Einstein.

Apple’s iPhone and iPad are examples of “simple, but not simpler”. They employ basic motor skills and visual elements to control advanced technology – technology that was just a concept not long ago.

Today, the principle of simplicity is being applied successfully by using visual tools such as dashboards to reduce complexity and provide access to key information quickly and easily.

Simple access to information has empowered business owners and managers, allowing them to leverage business data, thus increasing productivity, reducing risk, and underpinning decision making at all levels.

We all know that running a business is demanding. The challenge is to take all the variables and complexity and make it effortless to understand and manage. This is the reason that management-style dashboards have skyrocketed in the past few years.

Dashboards give time-poor business owners and managers easy-to-understand, up-to-date analytics about the main financial and operational aspects of their business, such as gross profit, sales, expenses, debtor days and cash position.

Dashboards let you focus on key business drivers, bolstering timely and accurate decision-making.

Areas for improvement, potential business risks and underlying trends also become easier to identify.

“But what about spreadsheets?” you ask. Although spreadsheets can be powerful analytical tools, they can increase underlying complexity rather than reduce it. Their accuracy relies on many variables, correct data extraction, labour-intensive data entry and difficult formulae. Multiple filters, graphs and pivot tables, which require expert skills to create, are often required to articulate complex spreadsheets.

Dashboards, on the other hand, can be built into financial software and pre-configured “out of the box”, providing powerful yet simple analytics while eliminating the risk of returning incorrect data. A great dashboard lets you simply and easily drill down further through the buried layers of information, giving you direct access to the underlying data.

So, how valuable is a dashboard?

Airline pilots have long used a form of dashboard to view and interpret vital information quickly and accurately. Imagine relying on printed reports to fly a plane! Would you travel in a plane if you knew the pilot was flying without proper instruments or critical co-ordinates plotted out on a spreadsheet?

Piloting your business with information that’s difficult to understand, out of date or incomplete is a catastrophe waiting to happen. Applying a system that’s easy to implement, with dashboards that are simple to understand will strengthen your financial returns and reduce stress. It’s that simple!

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