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Data Dashboards Answer IT Questions So You Don’t Have To

Data Dashboards Answer IT Questions So You Don’t Have To

The IT department is your organization’s ‘grand central station’ for data and analytics.  It’s in the name, after all: information technology. The platonic form of IT might look something like a human data dashboard.

This is a natural fit…until IT becomes inundated with questions and requests for data. Help desks are an integral part of any IT department, but efficiency drops when the organization relies too heavily on manual help to access information. More data questions mean less time for network administration, equipment installation, infrastructure maintenance, and the rest of the tasks on your plate.

The answer is to empower users with the tools to access the data they need—without your help.

KPI Dashboards

Data dashboards are tools that analyze and display metrics in a visual format.  Usually, the data is tracked by an external application (like Google Analytics) and then fed into data dashboards.  This is often how leadership keeps track of their chosen KPIs to monitor the overall health of the organization (or department, or even a specific initiative).

Put a powerful, user-friendly KPI dashboard into executive hands, and they’ll be able to keep an eye on everything they care about at a glance. Databox is a well-known example, but there are tons of other software (free and paid) to choose from.

Data APIs

Application program interfaces are another way to auto-feed needed data from the source to a user-preferred platform. Modern software often relies heavily on integrations that help with data-sharing. 

Our OpenWater software, for example, offers data APIs that can access all submission form data, as well as invoice and payment data.  We support hundreds of mainstream API integrations, as well as custom ones for in-house platforms. With APIs, you can:

  • Sync your finance system (like Solomon, Microsoft Dynamics, or PeachTree) to OpenWater, so the finance department can quickly access real-time or batched data on awards program finances.
  • Export data to reports with OpenWater’s simple, efficient reporting APIs. You’ve got the flexibility to define fully customized reports, so users can access everything about the submissions in whatever format they need (such as JSON, TXT, PDF, or HTML).

OpenWater’s long list of “canned” integrations don’t need a developer to set up, though you’ll need someone who can interface with Abila or ISG. If you do have a developer available, our comprehensive REST API supports custom integrations that can enable your team to build custom workflows that get data into your CRM or AMS.

Once the API is hooked up, the user has the power to access data and create reports without developer or IT help.

Custom Reports

Software that produces easily customizable data reports can save you a lot of back and forth, digging for the information your users need. Spend time upfront training users to access reports and data dashboards on their own. For many users, a data-rich Excel spreadsheet is all they really want.

OpenWater allows you to export submission data to Excel and fully customize the query in the report. It’s easier to run reports with complex filtering if the user is familiar with creating filters in our report condition builder.

Website Analytics Tools

Google provides a wealth of data, and it’s largely free. See if you can work it into your existing user platforms. 

OpenWater can easily incorporate javascript-based website analytics tools like Google Analytics right into the user portal.  This gives the user real-time tracking of website activity, and all you need to do is insert the javascript code snippet into your OpenWater theme.

However you choose to get data into your user’s hands, their ability to self-service will cut down on IT questions and boost organizational efficiency.