iDashboards 2015 Users Conference to Take Place in Miami with Keynote Bill Rancic

Users Coference

The iDashboards team is hosting the 2015 Users Conference from October 26-29 in Miami. We’re inviting iDashboards users from all around the world to come together and network with other users, customers and partners to expand their product knowledge and leave with insights into new and inventive ways to utilize the software.

Each day will consist of breakout sessions that include technical experts sharing tips and tricks for creating visually engaging dashboards, customer panels, case study track sessions, and a meet and greet with keynote speaker Bill Rancic.

Rancic, the successful entrepreneur and winner of the first season of “The Apprentice,” will be giving a speech on “How to Succeed in Business and Life,” where he will discuss the ups, downs and lessons learned in the business world.

We are excited to welcome Rancic to this year’s event and look forward to hearing his insights into business best practices based on his incredible success as an entrepreneur in numerous industries.

As pioneers in developing business intelligence solutions, our annual Users Conference was created as an opportunity for iDashboards customers and partners to connect, experience share, and learn new ways to improve data analytics and business operations—and Bill Rancic’s presence at the event will only further that mission.

After the conference, all registrants are invited to join us for evening activities on Monday and Tuesday for an unforgettable experience. Events include:

  • October 26: Opening reception at Turnberry Isle, Magnolia Courtyard
  • October 27: White Party at Nikki Beach in South Beach

Our Users Conference team also planned special activities for guests, friends and family for a small fee.

We hope to see you there! For more information on how to sign up for the iDashboards Users Conference, click here.

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Public Health Accreditation – Where to Start?


Public Health Accreditation

If you are a public healthcare professional working through the accreditation process you may be thinking, “Where do I start?” Going from good to great isn’t always easy. The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) has put standards in place to advance the quality and performance of the public health departments at the state and local levels to increase accountability and transparency. The process includes collecting and maintaining data on the health status of the population, analyzing that data and providing the results to develop recommendations.

Why would you want to go through the aggravation of all this data collection and analysis? Consider the benefits and impact of Public Health Accreditation:

  • Better identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Promote transparency
  • Improve management processes
  • Stimulate quality improvement and performance management
  • Increase accountability to community members, stakeholders, and policy makers
  • Improve communication with the governing entity/board of health
  • Be more competitive in funding opportunities

The first thing to do is appoint an Accreditation Coordinator in your organization who will review the process, standards and keep track of all documentation. Your organization will need to participate in, or conduct, a comprehensive community health assessment. Your Accreditation Coordinator will need to take lead on partnering with other organizations in your area in order to access the data needed.

Reliable data is extremely important for evaluating and developing programs in public health. Data must be gathered in a timely manner, as accurately as possible. One of the requirements involves retaining historical data in order to compare between populations and across time. A functional system is required for collecting data and for managing, analyzing, and using the data.

Once you have collected this data, how do you make sense of it? That is where dashboards can help. In a nutshell, iDashboards takes your information out of rows and columns and puts it into a visual format that is easy to understand. Data tells a story and you’ll be able to tell your story to accreditors, your constituents and stakeholders, and ultimately provide more accessibility and transparency into your organization. Dashboards will help you visualize and analyze your data to identify trends, show how your organization is progressing toward its goals, and display metrics from your continuous improvement plans.

Through iDashboards’ patented technology called interactive intelligence, you will be able to see correlations between related data points even if they are coming from separate data sources. This allows for better decision making when you are looking at data pulled from all divisions of your organization. When measuring meaningful use with your EHR/EMR, you can utilize dashboards to monitor all metrics in one location in order to improve healthcare delivery, quality and safety. Dashboards help with data sharing internally and provide timely electronic access to health information at a high level with the ability to drilldown into granular data.

The dashboards connect directly to your backend data sources in order to display the most accurate and up to date information. This leverages the investment that your organization has already made in business software and databases and allows you to reallocate your crucial IT/reporting resources.

Dashboards allow you to access reporting any time in a standardized, systematic manner. You can access your reports on your smart phone or tablet anywhere with an Internet connection. With a web license, you can display metrics for the public’s consumption on your external website. This will allow you to engage the community in identifying and addressing health concerns and promote their understanding of public health initiatives.

Photo credit: The Tennessee Department of Health

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Desirable Data: Does your Dashboard Charm the Business User?

Data Visualization Desirable Data

The rapid growth of data is astounding. Between our businesses, our electronic devices and our websites, data is growing by epic leaps every year. It’s a powerful asset that’s creating new and exciting opportunities, allowing us to track everything—from productivity and potential clients to our budgets and the quality of our customer service.

And yet, even with the recent eruption of information, many of us are still attached to our spreadsheets, thinking this antique can keep up with the pace of our data. Not only is this a waste of time, but it’s also creating this complicated string of information that we then have to communicate to someone else.

Let’s not sugarcoat it: Nothing is more of a buzz kill in a meeting than endless rows and columns in a spreadsheet. Data shouldn’t be boring. At its very essence, data is the call to action—it should be a rousing speech by which the company moves toward progress.

The Age of Data Visualization
Data visualization is the bridge between these gaps, giving companies an accessible option to analytics while simultaneously making the presentation stimulating. While a love (and understanding) of numbers may resonate among a select few, the vast majority of people are more receptive to bright colors, interactive pictures, and a clear point-A to point-B map of directions.

A Tale of Data
We love good stories. Whether they’re personal stories from our lives or the tales found in action-packed films, there’s something within us that embraces a story. Data visualization is perfect for illustrating your company’s goals through stories.

Storyboarding your objectives turns your data into easily consumable bites that people can understand and appreciate. You can show where you’ve been, where you’re going, and the challenges of getting there, all through bright and compelling graphics. A clear, start-to-finish presentation will have your audience following your every word and point.

Data as Art
Walt Disney – perhaps one of the greatest storytellers—once said, “Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” Data visualization links your information with meaningful graphics, allowing you to engage the emotions of your audience.

Whether you’re aiming to be inspirational or trying to communicate your objectives, the artistic design of your data will inevitably allow you to effectively get your point across.

Customizing Your Data
While art and story are crucial aspects of any dashboard experience, you must also consider the audience. Presenting for a group of investors will likely be different than for a team of marketers. Data visualization gives you the opportunity to leverage data and connect it to the right audience.

If you’re ready to ditch the spreadsheets and experience data visualization, click here for a free 30-day trial.


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3 Easy Fixes for Better Big(ger) Data

Big Data

Big data, it’s all we hear. It’s in the news, social media and all over the internet. But what really classifies as big data and how do you utilize it effectively?

According to Gartner, big data is defined as “high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety of information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making.” The definition in itself can sound a little overwhelming. In other words, big data is data that you have access to on a daily basis.

How do we take your everyday data and turn it into information that can empower you to make better business decisions? The answer is CVS – not the pharmacy, but rather the method and acronym for Consolidate, Visualize and Share.

1. Consolidate It
Every piece of data serves an important role in your decision-making process and should be managed carefully. Similar to most companies, you probably have multiple databases, a CRM, an ERP, an accounting solution, a marketing automation system, and several Excel spreadsheets. If you’re pulling individual reports from each data source, it can be extremely time consuming – not to mention you’re not getting the most of your big data.

Find a data management solution that allows your data sources to communicate with each other. For example, Sleep Innovations, a large mattress manufacturer, was able to save over $1 million annually with a company-wide initiative to consolidate and visualize their data. By consolidating data sources, you’ll find hidden trends and outliers that you might have overlooked by just examining the one database– saving both time and money.

2. Visualize It
Ever look at a spreadsheet and wonder what you’re really looking at? I know I’ve gotten lost in a spreadsheet that I’ve even created! Our brains are constantly at work, craving color and action. What if you could turn your data into something that is engaging and interactive? Dashboards do just that. Dashboards are visual depictions of your data relayed in the form of charts and graphs that can be understood at-a-glance.

Look at the image below, which one allows you to easily determine the product that sold the most last year? Or which screen allows you to quickly find when sales were at an all-time high? My guess is that you picked the dashboard. By using data visualizations like dashboards, you can consolidate all your data sources into a single platform that enables you to see patterns and benchmarks throughout your department and/or organization.

Big Data Dashboard

3. Share It
You can discover powerful information in your big data, but if it isn’t shared effectively the insight will be lost. There are numerous ways to disperse information without worrying about data security. Spreadsheets, PowerPoints and dashboards are typically safe and effective ways to communicate goals.

Data can be shared by paper reports, displayed on internet or intranet websites, or promoted by digital monitors throughout your office. For example, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System uses LCD screens in each medical unit to promote transparency, improve accountability and enhance performance. They recently won the American Hospital Association’s Most Wired Innovator Award for their vast improvements in safety and quality care, which they’ve accredited to the dashboard LCD screens.

By using the CVS method, you’ll encourage healthy competition while allowing everyone to clearly see where thresholds lie. From that point, discussions will arise, helping determine the best way to obtain goals. Although the CVS method is not all inclusive, it is a great place to start transforming your big data into even better big(ger) data.

Interested in learning more about dashboards? Check out our resources here.


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Supply Chain Management: Using Dashboards to Make Better-Informed Business Decisions

supply chain management

With the amount of data available for supply chain management companies to utilize, it is easy to overlook the tiny, yet critical details. The vast amount of information received creates more of a challenge when determining vital information to use for business decisions. To help reduce this complexity, dashboard solutions are using techniques to combine flexibility, transparency and power.

Dashboard technology streamlines processes to identify problems, increase efficiency and improve the clarity of data, making it easier for everyone to understand. A dashboard helps consolidate data sources while executing more detailed results, leading to stronger decision-making capabilities.

What makes dashboards effective?

Successful dashboards are visually appealing. A robust dashboard solution combines several components of critical information all together at once. This adds value by increasing productivity without spending unnecessary time gathering and sorting data. Defining objectives and evaluating milestones are progressing due to decision-makers having quick and efficient access to the data they need.

What are some best practices for selecting and implementing a dashboard solution?

  • Metrics and measures system
    • Include specific metrics in your dashboard that drive your organization.
    • Focus on essential information; a powerful dashboard relies on the information it has access to.
  • Personnel and priorities
    • Know your audience! Many executives will focus on big-picture metrics, while other professionals would benefit from a more tactical set of information.
    • Dashboards have the ability to design portals or categories tailored to specific people and/or departments.
  • Presentation and clarity
    • Dashboards should be understood with a single glance. The information should be easily accessible to make timely decisions.
    • Data should be straightforward with visuals that are clearly comprehensible. Choose charts that best depict your metrics and allow for accurate measurements at-a-glance.
  • Flexibility and customization
    • Flexible dashboards are essential to customize and distinguish the specific needs of an individual company or department.
    • Guarantee the selected dashboard is capable of integrating all data sources.

Implementing dashboard technology makes it easier to see the full scope of your supply chain management organization. By providing enhanced efficiency and a complete breakdown into specific data points, supply chain management dashboards can lead to stronger decision-making capabilities and overall improved business.

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iDashboards Academic Edition: A Free Dashboard Tool for Professors

Academic Edition
In the academic world, no matter how interesting your conclusions are, you’re not serving your students well if your presentation of those conclusions is boring. That’s where data visualization via the new iDashboards Academic Edition comes in. Created exclusively for professors and your upper level and graduate students, the Academic Edition is designed to help bring disparate data sets to life in colorful, compelling and interactive dashboards.

A free download, the iDashboards Academic Edition is easy to learn and employ. With its intuitive design and drag-and-drop interface, the Academic Edition can quickly be integrated into your programs. Most importantly, the insights you and your students will discover can have a substantial impact on their course of study.

“In my Master’s classes, I emphasize that if you want to get into management, you have to get the board of directors’ attention, find the main objectives, research your competition and use services like iDashboards to prove your point through data visualization,” said Academic Edition participant Harry Hurley, professor at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. “It’s amazing when students apply these factors to their final presentation and take on the role as if they were presenting to a real board of directors.”

The Academic Edition provides an easy way to create custom dashboards to fit any project. It also offers:

  • Access to chart, graph and map elements
  • Fast and easy data collection
  • Viewable on mobile and tablet devices

Data is a driving force in the classroom and the boardroom. Data visualization is the most effective and efficient way to glean insights from the great influx of data within the academic world. Bring data visualization into your classroom and your students’ presentations with a free download of the iDashboards Academic Edition.

To get started or to learn more about Academic Edition, visit


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Boone Hospital Realizes the Power of Data Visualization with Healthcare Dashboards

Healthcare Dashboards Boone Hospital

Many healthcare systems have begun collecting mass amounts of data about patients, services and employees. This data can be used to improve efficiency and patient care, but it can be difficult for healthcare organizations to muddle through thousands of numbers to understand how best to address key performance indicators (KPIs).

Located in Columbia, MO, Boone Hospital Center (a part of BJC HealthCare) provides progressive healthcare programs, services and technology to people in 25 mid-Missouri counties. With nearly 400 beds and a 24-hour emergency center, the hospital boasts more than 2,000 employees and 350 physicians on the medical staff.

The HR department at Boone had collected data for several of their KPIs, such as turnover, premium pay, vacancy postings and other core HR metrics. However, they lacked the ability to quickly access their data and leverage it to identify trends or patterns. Boone’s HR department needed a convenient, comprehensive way to gather all of their data into one central location for decision-makers to utilize. It needed to be easy to use, could connect to their existing data sources and would allow them to drilldown into key metrics.

After vetting several potential solutions, Boone identified the iDashboards Enterprise Full Suite as the best product for them. Our healthcare dashboards solution allows Boone to connect multiple data sources, including existing Excel workbooks, into one hub—creating one central source for data. Boone also appreciated how user-friendly, flexible and dynamic our product is, while still providing the ability to effectively drill-down into key metrics like turnover and vacancy postings to identify trends or patterns that need to be addressed.

Another positive point was that Boone didn’t have to rely on their internal IT team to generate additional code to drive information through the healthcare dashboards—the head of the HR department was able to manage the process autonomously. The IT team only needed to be involved when server space was needed.

Instead of having several separate data sources, our Enterprise solution allows Boone to successfully pull their data into one central location that can be accessed by employees and decision-makers alike. The ability to drilldown into important data also allows decision-makers to immediately identify patterns or trends that can impact operations—ultimately leading to better decision-making capabilities.

Boone knows they have just begun seeing and utilizing the benefits of their healthcare dashboards and plan to further leverage them in the coming months as a tool to help achieve department-wide business goals—with the possibility of rolling out iDashboards within other departments of the health center in the coming years.

To view more healthcare dashboards and iDashboards client success stories, visit

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The Power of Dashboards & Storyboarding: Getting Your Data’s Real Story

Storyboard Icons_Individual-02

Our team is constantly introducing new customers to iDashboards and our software, so we’ve heard almost every question possible. One way that we like to answer our new customers’ questions is through our storyboarding process.

Many people hear “storyboarding” and think of a film set and the way a director plans his shots and frames, and the iDashboards storyboarding process is similar. Just like when a director is framing a movie, our goal is to drilldown from endless possibilities into the best charts for our client’s key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics. There isn’t a formal set of rules for creating a logical, intuitive or insightful dashboard – so how do we go from a blank canvas to powerful insights from data? The storyboarding process is the answer.

Here’s a high-level overview of how we can help you get started with your new dashboards by storyboarding.

Our storyboarding process begins with gathering the dashboard project stakeholders in the same room, in front of a whiteboard. It is imperative to have everyone present so we’re aware of everyone’s goals and are able to be more efficient.

The next step is to agree on the dashboard’s purpose and audience – the two most important key considerations in a dashboard’s design. Knowing the purpose, what insights the company is looking to glean, and who will be using the dashboard will help in selecting the correct metrics.

Then begins what most of us think of as storyboarding: dividing the whiteboard into 4 frames and beginning to think about data in a more visual way. The group will decide on a metric to be displayed on the dashboard and establish “Product, Group and Timeframe” for the metric.

Storyboard Icons_Individual-03

For example, if you would like to show current month’s average sales versus the same month from last year for each sales manager in the company, using the PGT method will ensure you capture all information. This process is repeated for every metric to be included in the dashboard. We typically recommend clients include 4-6 metrics per dashboard.

Storyboard Icons_Individual-04

We will then assist in determining the best chart for each metric. With a library of more than 100 types of charts and graphs, there is an option for any possible metric! Include a sketch of these charts and graphs on the whiteboard so you begin to understand how the dashboard will really work.

Storyboard Icons_Individual-06

The final step is adding color to your charts. We recommend consulting with your graphic design team to ensure brand colors are used according to your organization’s brand standards. Also, think about using color in familiar ways – we often see clients use red, yellow and green, typically seen in traffic lights, for metrics to indicate success or failure.

Storyboard Icons_Individual-07

Our storyboarding process allows clients to take a deep dive into their existing data sources and take the time to really determine what they want to measure. This allows dashboards to be built into exactly what you need and will lead to highly successful implementation.

Storyboarding can seem a little overwhelming but it is much easier to create and make changes on a whiteboard than an actual dashboard. If you’re interested in diving in more to the storyboarding process or hands-on training, please contact us at

How have you used storyboarding? Could you see how storyboarding could help your organization?

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Dashboards For Your Customers: They’re Not Just for Internal Use

dashboards for your customers blog

You can’t bore your clients into better understanding. It’s important to get data to your clients when they need it, and it’s important to put data into a format that is easily understood by your client and moves them toward positive action. Accountants, consultants, analysts and Fortune 500 clients are having great success by reporting back to their clients with interactive dashboards.

Here are three examples:

  • The world’s largest distributor of technology products had been sending weekly reports to its largest 2,000+ customers regarding their purchases; however, their customers were drowning in the well-tabulated data contained in these reports. The company realized their customers would be better served with insightful dashboards displaying data graphically, with drilldown options and visual analytics so they made the switch to those dashboards. They built a single set of dashboards and using the “filter by user” function now provide customized dashboards that their customers can access live from any Internet-enabled device.
  • A large travel-related services organization had been reporting travel spend to thousands of accounts in massive spreadsheets that didn’t really tell the most important story: how much money were they saving the client? These reports provided travel spend aggregated by department, location and region, all broken into various categories – air, hotel, cab, auto-rental, meals and entertainment. One of their client managers decided to break the status quo by championing a set of dashboards for his select few clients so they could see the value of the relationship with the service organization. The manager worked with iDashboards’ cloud-based offering and had dashboards to his client in about a week, starting with a dashboard that clearly shows the cost savings provided by the vendor. When rolled out at a client meeting, the manager and his team got a standing ovation and the initiative was so successful that other client executives have persuaded their leadership to adopt customer-facing dashboards for other key accounts.
  • An accounting firm was looking for a meaningful way to report back to their clients. They wanted full mobility so their clients could grab a dashboard on their iPad, as well as the ability to customize dashboards for specific clients. They used iDashboards to build a “suite” of dashboards that are standardized (again using “filter by user”) but also have complete flexibility to create custom dashboards for specific clients as needed.

It’s 2015. Are you still reporting in Excel like it’s 1985? (Did you know Ronald Reagan was President when Excel was introduced?) Whether you’re a single consultant or a Fortune 100 company, you probably share the same issue as the clients mentioned above: How do we get data to our customers in a meaningful and insightful way?

Interestingly, in all the examples above there is a great IT staff and meaningful reporting, but when it came to sharing information with their clients, IT wasn’t able to make the desired changes. In each case, it was someone outside of IT who became the champion of getting data into a format that was more meaningful to the client.

It shouldn’t take much imagination to put yourself into your customer’s shoes, because we are all customers of other products and services. If you’re sending reports and spreadsheets overloaded with data, are your clients finding them overwhelming and of little value? Every customer needs something that will deliver intelligence and insight into the products and services they buy and you should be providing that to them.

Wouldn’t it be nice if each of your vendors were to take the initiative to add value to the data they are collecting and present it in a graphical dashboard with quick insights? If your company is reporting back to your clients, wouldn’t it benefit them (and you) to provide that reporting in a way that is meaningful and creates positive action? Dashboards don’t just have to be internal facing – consider the ways they can help you as you communicate with your clients.

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Make Your Office Art Captivating and Intelligent With Dashboard Displays!


What kind of art is currently taking up expensive space on your office walls? Inspirational paintings? Quotes? City landmarks, modern art, employee accolades, company event photos, company awards? For every kind of workspace we share – from corporate offices to call centers to production floors – there’s a type of art meant to inspire, calm or simply communicate the company’s values.

Yet, no matter what message a company is trying to send, there’s one conclusion that it’s probably fair to make: after seeing the art on the office wall just one time, employees and customers may not ever notice it again. In fact, only its absence will be enough to evoke any response at all. Our subconscious filters out extraneous information. And nothing is so expendable, so fit to be lost in the background, as most office art.


Why waste all that valuable space with forgettable art? Today, with LCD display technology so affordable, and dashboard software so readily available, it’s possible to easily create a continuously updated dashboard display that compels attention while communicating key information. It’s art that’s as immediately relevant as it is interesting. And it’s a great way to communicate your company’s underlying values – that your company is modern, innovative and embraces the future.

The decision of what to display is as varied as the types of information you can display on a dashboard. Team metrics, customer maps, new employee announcements, employee awards, top sales performer scorecards, videos and any other digital content are all good candidates. In fact, there are some within the business world who believe that data visualization can be as artistic and engaging as the art you might hanging in a museum, according to a recent Time magazine cover story.


Content can be updated daily or weekly, and many of the metrics can even be real-time. For example, sales for the current period, number of calls made and sales in the pipeline can all be displayed in real-time when connected to respective origination systems, such as a CRM program or phone system.

In the main lobby or customer-facing areas, you can also install separate customer-oriented intelligent displays. Relevant content might include customer wait times, marketing announcements, current promotions, new product releases, product videos, customer testimonial videos, company awards, media coverage, etc. The advantage of a dynamic dashboard solution is that it can provide informative real-time information mixed with beautiful artwork in a slideshow presentation, keeping the display interesting without making it too self-serving.


Touch-sensitive displays can provide yet another level of interactivity. For example, a user can click on specific graphics to drill down and receive additional information, or pause and resume the slideshow, or can even perform a visual query using drop-down lists and sliders. It’s like having a computer browser at your fingertips.

For more information or to discover how others use iDashboards Display Solution check out:

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