3 classic mistakes to avoid with a SaaS dashboard project

  • Richard Thelwell
  • October 30, 2014

Considering a SaaS dashboard? If so, you’re far from alone: over the past year or so, there’s been a huge surge of interest in SaaS dashboards. Simply put, huge numbers of businesses—large and small—are seeing in SaaS dashboards a way to boost their operational responsiveness and gain faster insights into how they are performing.

But SaaS dashboards aren’t a one-way bet. Yes, you’ll find plenty of businesses out there that have benefited from moving to a SaaS dashboard. But equally, you’ll find plenty that haven’t.

So how do you make your SaaS dashboard project a success? And not yet another SaaS dashboard failure?

Read on.

Classic mistake #1: No ‘top level’ SaaS dashboard buy-in.

In too many companies, a SaaS dashboard is seen as an optional ‘add on’ to existing reporting systems—in short, a nice-to-have display on a computer screen, smartphone or tablet.

Moreover, you’ll often find SaaS dashboard projects that are really owned by the IT department, which (often mistakenly) see them as a way of reducing the demand on their report-writing capacity.

Both viewpoints are mistaken. Because a SaaS dashboard project isn’t just an IT project, and it isn’t just an add-on to what you’ve got now.

Instead, it’s a completely different way of viewing reporting: a real-time, ‘drill down’-enabled, rapid response, highly visual way of viewing reporting. And a way of reporting that should quickly become a primary means of managing, rather than a pretty desktop.

As such, your SaaS dashboard project should be driven from top of the organisation, as a strategic imperative. And as actions speak louder than words, the actual use of SaaS dashboards should start at the top, too.

Classic mistake #2: Badly-designed SaaS dashboards.

What will prevent people from using SaaS dashboards? Or prevent them from seeing the insights and warnings that your SaaS dashboard is trying to deliver?

When your SaaS dashboard is badly designed, is the answer. And you’d be surprised just how many SaaS dashboards are badly designed.

Because the skills involved in designing a visually-intuitive, information-rich, quickly-grasped SaaS dashboard aren’t necessarily the core competence of your IT department. Or, indeed, your users themselves. Indeed, if you’ve got a talented graphics design department, we’d sometimes be tempted to say: start there.

So in the rush to get your SaaS dashboard project ‘live’, don’t skimp on design. It’s worth the extra time, and it’s worth the extra investment.

Because a SaaS dashboard that isn’t usable, is a SaaS dashboard that won’t be used.

Classic mistake #3: SaaS dashboard ‘front end’, versus SaaS dashboard full solution.

What software do you actually need to buy to begin building a SaaS dashboard? To some SaaS dashboard vendors, the answer is a whizzy ‘front end’—a ‘bolt-on’ dashboard design and publishing tool, in other words.

Well, yes. But that begs a much bigger question: what exactly are you bolting that front end onto?

Because a SaaS dashboard really needs a data warehouse—fairly essentially so, if you have any aspirations towards ‘drill down’ problem-solving. (And let’s face it, a single-layer, ‘no drill-down’ SaaS dashboard isn’t much use for anything.)

Which begs the question: where is that data warehouse going to come from—and who is going to build it? Whatever the answer, then unless there’s a pre-built data warehouse already on hand, then it’s going to mean a longer—and more expensive—SaaS dashboard project.

SaaS dashboards: the bottom line.

At Matillion, we recognize that each of these classic mistakes can make the difference between a SaaS dashboard project that succeeds, and one that fails.

That’s why our experts work with your senior executives to build user buy-in. That’s why our dashboard designers craft SaaS dashboards that users will want to use, and which they will find invaluable in their daily work. And that’s why our SaaS dashboard ‘all in’ service comes with a data warehouse, as part of our end-to-end Business Intelligence solution.

All for a one-off fixed price set up, and an affordable monthly subscription fee: no hardware, software, or further consultancy required.

Which is what we think that a SaaS dashboard project should look like.

To find out more about SaaS Dashboard design, download our free Ebook today.