Get Out of Excel: 5 Signs You Need a Dashboard

When Excel was first introduced to the public in 1985, it was the first spreadsheet that was easy to use and actually used by the masses.

Did you know Microsoft released the first version of Excel on September 30, 1985 for the Macintosh? People would purchase a Macintosh computer for the single purpose of using Excel.

Called “one of the most powerful and most important software applications of all time” by James Kwok, Excel provided new functions including graphics, pull down menus, and “point and click” capabilities.

Thirty years later, Excel is still a fantastic tool, but in order to successfully run and manage a business, you can’t manage your business out of Excel alone. To really know what is happening in your business, you need to connect all your data sources (Excel, Shopify, Quickbooks MySQL, etc) to one visual dashboard.

Dashboards Show The Whole Picture

When you connect your Excel spreadsheets and other data sources to a Grow dashboard, you’re no longer looking at rows of data.

Dashboards make KPIs intuitive and accessible for everyone in your company. And you get to watch your business grow, minute by minute.

Visual dashboards make your data more powerful. You can see and do things that you simply can’t do with Excel alone, with Quickbooks alone, or with Shopify alone.

5 Reasons to Connect your Data Sources to a Visual Dashboards:

1. You’ve been burned by data

If you’ve ever been surprised by your data at quarter-end or missed a key calculation in the 100s of rows of KPIs in your Excel reports, you need something more focused.

It’s easier to manage risk with BI dashboards. Your entire team can see critical metrics fluctuating or dropping below targets. Metrics that they are responsible for.

2. Motivation

There’s nothing more motivating than spending 10 hours collecting data from multiple systems to present 5 minutes of data. Talk about morale boosting!

Connect your Excel reports and other data sources to your dashboards and you’re done. That’s it.

The numbers you need are right there. You don’t have to chase after them anymore.

3. Improve team performance

Real-time data makes reaching work goals feel like a game.

Watching the numbers rise or drop gives you and your team a checkpoint throughout the day: “Are we meeting our goals?” “Wow, look how great Heather’s numbers are!”

Dashboards makes high-performance part of the office culture.

4. Transparency

If you, or your team, needs an extra motivational push, there’s nothing like the whole office knowing you aren’t meeting your goals.

Dashboards don’t call people out. They just show the plain and simple facts.

Data calls people out and makes accountability the focus.

The visual display of data on dashboards provide immediate feedback, and managers can then help teams reach the goals.

There’s a difference between hoping your work is making a difference and knowing where you stand minute-by-minute.

Excel just does not have that capability.

5. Your team doesn’t understand your company strategy

It’s a common story in Silicon Valley: Startup receives 10 million in VC funding for the next big app, hires the best talent, but something is missing in execution and product placement, startup fails.

Excel is the beginning for most startups. But meeting your goals and KPIs doesn’t always translate.

What is lost in translation between the strategy sessions with investors and team execution?

  • Does your team know and understand the metrics critical to your company breaking even?
  • Do you understand your “breakeven” metrics?
  • Does your office manager, marketing director, VP of sales (who may have little background in finance or excel) know how to manage and report key metrics? How much time are they spending getting figuring that out, getting key information, when there are higher value activities they should be focusing on?

When all your goals are in Excel, your team has to physically open the report, or open the email that someone else prepared.

When the data is out in the open on a dashboard, everyone is involved and accountable to participate in the goal.

Name one person you know in your company that spent money and time on an activity that did not generate revenue, and maybe even lost revenue. Not hard.

Sometimes those experiences are key in figuring out the right methods, but when your marketing director is investing $5,000 in video marketing per month, you should be able to attribute that spending to some kind of sales or breakeven metric.