Here I review the best dashboard software for 2020 and compare key features and deficiencies of 10 market-leading dashboard tools.
Businesses are going through major changes – our cutthroat digital environment forces companies to act faster than ever to ever-changing market challenges and become more data-driven in their operational and strategic initiatives.
The main question companies are facing is how to utilize all the collected data most efficiently while increasing productivity and decreasing costs? The answer is simple – with the help of modern dashboard software. They have disrupted spreadsheets and traditional means of collecting, manipulating, storing, analyzing, and reporting data with modern and professional technological features that facilitate sustainable business development.
For those reasons, we have prepared a substantial list of the top dashboard tools to look out for in 2020. But first, let’s start with a basic introduction on the definition and benefits.
What Is Dashboard Software?
Dashboard software enables companies to visualize historical, current and future data in interactive graphs and charts while empowering companies to make informed, data-driven decisions, interact with data, and provide the necessary backbone for business growth.
What Are The Benefits Of Professional Dashboard Tools?
While there are free tools on the market, we’re focusing primarily on paid software since unpaid ones simply can’t offer a wealth of features and capabilities. Each offers a free trial; hence, you can test them on your own.
Whether you work as an analyst or C-level executive in marketing, sales, finance, HR, IT or logistics, just to name a few, these tools provide numerous benefits for managing your data, and here are the most prominent ones:
- Connect all business touchpoints
Modern management requires data and reporting from a wealth of sources, and dashboard tools provide you with a single point of access to all the data stored in your company. Large volumes of information are not just present in enterprises – small and medium-sized businesses also need software to balance their operational and strategic initiatives and gain a competitive edge. Decisions based on data presented in a single screen is not just possible, but also affordable.
- Communicate across the board
Professional dashboard software enables you to easily share and communicate your analysis. Whether you need to present your dashboard on a meeting or send it to your colleague across the state, modern software includes numerous sharing and viewing options which will help any manager, professional or VP to improve communication across departments.
- Take advantage of SaaS
No matter the number of people that need to work with a dashboard tool, you will always have the possibility to scale or re-scale between diverse options, solely based on your business needs. If you need 2 or 200 users to work with the tool, you can regularly switch your subscription plan and adjust according to your needs. Cloud-based solutions are slowly but surely replacing on-premise infrastructure because of their simplicity, costs, and endless storage. SaaS solutions provide the possibility to outsource the dashboarding and reporting, and the vendor takes the responsibility to regularly update and provide a seamless experience for data storage and warehouse.
- Skip endless scrolling
With traditional means of data analysis, dashboarding, visualization, and monitoring, there are no options to quickly find valuable information or generate automatic reports. Excel and PowerPoint did have some benefits during the past, but in today’s modern age it’s just not possible to cope with massive volumes of data just with a spreadsheet or presentation. Companies need insights fast, without factors such as human errors. Data must be 100% accurate and in real-time. That’s where professional dashboard tools prove their value.
To help you in choosing the best possible solution for your company, here we bring the top 10 dashboard software with the most prominent features alongside limitations to make your choice easier.
What are the best dashboard software tools on the market?
datapine is a dashboard software that enables you to connect a wealth of different data sources and start visualizing your data with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface with a few clicks. Their solution is not specifically intended for only one industry or department, but they enable everyone to build interactive dashboards, and utilize their analytics, as well as reporting features, as a new business tool for increasing productivity and decreasing costs.
**Source: datapine website
The tool is SaaS-based, but on request, there is also a (customized) on-premise solution, and offers various subscription options, sharing possibilities, and works perfectly for both basic and advanced users. Their dashboards are updated in real-time, and intelligent data alerts based on artificial intelligence enable smart monitoring processes which will alarm you anytime a business anomaly occurs. This is a neat feature since management often needs to keep track of numerous KPIs and make fast, data-driven decisions at any given point of time. Dashboards can be presented on a TV screen, desktop, mobile or tablet, hence, their accessibility is device-friendly, but also 24/7/365 (SaaS enables this option).
Industry and function-specific built-in templates are another important feature because not all of us have time to design and create a new dashboard for each business scenario. It also makes sense to mention numerous features such as global style options which enable the user to change the design elements and apply unified settings for charts, texts or data labels, respecting the brand story and creating a unified image.
The tool provides aplenty dashboard analysis features such as drill-downs, drill-throughs, zoom-ins, time interval widgets, hierarchical filters, dynamic text boxes, etc.
- Supports various data sources (including customized solutions)
- Intuitive drag-and-drop interface & 80 demo dashboards (built-in templates)
- Advanced dashboard design and analysis features
- Intelligent AI-based data alerts and predictive analytics
- Multiple sharing options (public URL, viewer area, automated e-mails, embedding)
- Their mobile dashboards are only accessible via an app, and for selected advanced analytics, you would need to know some SQL
2. Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft Dynamics is a product focused on CRM and ERP systems that disrupts the market by offering extensive functions. They’re quite known in the business for their customer insights options and offer both on-premise and cloud solutions. It’s integrated with other Microsoft applications so you can easily connect with Office 365, LinkedIn, and Azure.
**Source: Microsoft Dynamics 365 website
This dashboard tool offers applications across industries and departments such as sales, customer service, field service, talent, finance and operations, retail, project service automation, and marketing. Dashboards are simple in their design, and programming knowledge is not needed. A bit more challenging is the process to familiarize yourself with the product, as beginners will find themselves often confused (their library, tutorials, and learning materials are extensive). Especially strong in the CRM area, it’s nice to create a visual analysis for the full customer relationship funnel.
- Focused on CRM and ERP systems
- Personal and system dashboards
- Various chart properties available
- Basic layout options
- Long customization process and challenging navigation when starting with the software
SimpleKPI is a KPI dashboard tool developed by Iceberg Software. They’re focused on business performance management with the focus on KPI tools such as KPI reports, analytics, and KPI tracking. Real-time monitoring and over 40 different chart types are one of their top features while mobile support and an app will ensure you can access on-the-fly, like other tools we will mention.
**Source: SimpleKPI website
Their solution is focused on managing day-to-day activities and gives a real-time overview of how you progress towards your targets. You can also embed individual KPI charts on your website, and customize the dashboard on a certain level such as combining with your brand colors. They also offer sharing options via PDF and Excel files, but also inbuilt reports so you have templates that will make your reporting process quicker, as well as additional comments and notes section which gives the user the possibility to manually enter additional information.
- Focused on KPI management
- Perfect for managing day-to-day activities
- More than 40 chart types
- Choosing from a series of performance criteria for creating reports is quite easy
- Not compatible with Macintosh and IOS systems
iDashboards is a self-service tool that offers mobile and desktop-friendly dashboards, and a built-in ETL tool that allows companies to directly connect to databases, web applications or CRMs. Their live support is quite a comfortable feature for potential customers. Tools such as Excel Auto Uploader enables the user to push their data into the cloud within 60 seconds. With premium features, a company can share the dashboards publicly while their Satellite Data Hubs enable companies to sync their disparate sites over the Internet so that each office can work on the same data, no matter the physical location.
**Source: iDashboards website
We can’t stress enough their customer service and support options. On-site training, e-mail, phone, and even a ticket system for customers, as well as extensive resources such as knowledge base, discussion groups, and downloadable assets, makes this dashboard software fully focused on customer experience.
They also provide analytics features such as predictive and profit analysis, ad hoc, and OLAP.
- Built-in tools such as Excel Auto Uploader
- Satellite Data Hubs
- More than 225 charts and graphs templates
- Customer-centric approach
- Some users reported a limit in source files to pull reports from (10MB)
5. SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)
Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services is part of the Microsoft data platform focused on operational database management systems to store and retrieve various requests. Focused more on developers, with programming features that give numerous ways to describe the data more analytically. Large data storage capacity and various technologies such as database engine, machine learning, integration, analysis, and reporting services give numerous possibilities to effectively manage databases with speedy query performance, perfect for both Windows and Linux operating systems. Users report a seamless experience and recommend this tool as one of the best database software on the market.
**Source: SQL Server Reporting Service website
With a focus on the technical side of data analysis and reporting, the display of the data comes in many ways such as tabular, free form, graphs, images, and charts. Their suite of products includes paginated reports, new mobile reports, and a web portal which enables certain flexibility to consume and explore the data. Major changes and upgrades over the years ensured a well-developed product.
- Focused on operational database management systems
- Large data storage capacity
- Multiple SQL Server technologies
- Fast query performance
- You need programming knowledge, especially SQL, to utilize it effectively
Geckoboard is a dashboard solution that offers various features for companies that wish to display their data on big screens but also have the chance to manage it from laptops. Their focus is on business users who need quick data visualization, without deep analysis and advanced artificial intelligence features like in other tools. They do offer over 60 code-free integrations and provide various filters to fine-tune the metrics shown on screen.
**Source: Geckoboard website
The company offers to effortlessly add data from Google Sheet or Excel to the dashboard while the option to connect to SQL databases will enable a user to create visualizations from queries. They also provide a neat loop feature which enables to cycle through several dashboards on a single screen. The company provides also public sharing options with temporary links, so you don’t need to have an account with Geckoboard to view a colleague’s dashboard.
- Perfect for quick data visualizations
- Especially convenient for big screens or TV
- Neat loop feature
- Temporary public links
- Not perfect if you need deep data analysis and advanced (predictive) analytics
Chartio is a software solution offered as cloud-only. They provide users with a visual SQL, which is essentially a visual interface for data analysis, as well as SQL mode for users who wish to create own queries. Sharing and scheduling reports are similar as in other dashboard tools, but they do have a neat Snapshot feature which saves a PDF copy of a dashboard at a specified time interval. They also have own help center, and assigned data advisors for enterprise-level subscriptions, as well as webinars for people who want to learn more.
**Source: Chartio website
While they offer private and public dashboards, the analysis is strongly focused on visual SQL. It provides the user to utilize their Data Pipeline feature, which enables you to transform query results via a series of layers that include custom calculations, forecasts, and pivots. They also offer a preview feature so you can always know how your data looked like before and after the transformation. Finally, you can visualize all your data into dashboards and even let Chartio recommend the appropriate chart based on your data.
- Visual SQL mode
- PDF snapshots
- Layers of data transformation that include custom calculations, extrapolations, edits of columns, etc.
- Preview of data (before and after)
- For profound data exploration you will need SQL knowledge
8. Zoho Reports
Zoho Reports is a dashboard software that holds over 40 integrated applications, from customer service, finance platform, HR and IT, among others. They’re offered as an “operating system for your entire business” with integrated artificial intelligence in the form of Zia, the Zoho Intelligent Assistant, and customization tools for upgrading and creating apps on your own.
**Source: Zoho website
They also provide KPI monitoring, data visualization, and report creation with a drag-and-drop interface, similar to other tools we have already mentioned, but the interesting point is their analytical assistant, Zia. It’s based on machine learning and natural language processing to build reports and dashboards. You simply need to ask a question in plain English on Zoho’s interface, and Zia generates the most appropriate chart.
- Over 40 integrated applications
- Customization tools for apps
- Analytical assistant Zia, developed with AI
- A drag-and-drop interface, similar to other tools
- You need a high learning curve at the beginning to study the tool
Klipfolio is a dashboard software that enables you to connect over 100 data sources, visualize your data with a drag-and-drop interface or inject custom HTML into your dashboard. You can share your reports via Slack, e-mail snapshots and links while their Klip Gallery supports more than 400 KPIs and visualizations. PowerMetrics is another analytical feature that stores the historical values of each metric you choose to work with. Alongside with the Klip Gallery, PowerMetrics are the new building block of Klipfolio’s data analysis. The reporting engine is made of the report designer, generator, tool, and reporting platforms
**Source: Klipfolio website
They also offer numerous courses, workshops, and tutorials so be prepared for learning plenty of new things.
- Customization of dashboards with HTML
- Klip Gallery and PowerMetrics for extensive analytics
- Reporting engine for numerous ways to build data visualizations and reports
- Numerous courses, workshops, and tutorials
- Sometimes it can be overwhelming to configure and learn everything the tool has on offer
Last, but not least on our list of the top dashboard tools is DashThis. Specialized for marketing data, and focused on agencies across the world, this software enables a reporting process with the help of more than 30 integrated marketing platforms.
**Source: DashThis website
The dashboard can be easily customized, and users regularly report the ease of use and simplicity of the tool that enables them to oversee their marketing data and send reports to clients. DashThis doesn’t provide predictive statistical models or advanced artificial intelligence such as machine learning so if you need to perform deeper analysis, this tool is not a perfect fit.
It will perfectly suit agencies who need to send monthly reports.
- A perfect fit for advertising and marketing agencies
- More than 30 integrated marketing platforms
- Templates & Cloning Options
- You can create monthly reports fast
- Reports are limited on a monthly basis only
Whether you’re a C-level executive, team leader, data analyst, manager or IT specialist, professional dashboard solutions are a must-have in 2020 for every KPI-driven company. We hope our dashboard software comparison has given you a better overview of what to expect from each, and now it’s your turn to explore them additionally and choose the best possible solution for your company or department.
Read more: Operational and Analytical Dashboards – Key Differences
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