Dashboards are a fast and efficient way to track KPIs, gather insight, and identify emerging trends. Information is visualized and presented in a digestible format, helping businesses make strategic, data-driven decisions.
However, there are many dashboards to choose from. In this crowded market, how would you pick a solution that would benefit your business the most? If you’re a smaller business without a lot of technical resources, setting up a web dashboard can be a daunting task. This article will walk you through how you can build a simple web dashboard with minimum coding involved.
What is a web dashboard?
A web dashboard is a website or page in your website that displays real-time data using various charts and diagrams. For example, Google Analytics displays your web analytics data (such as web traffic or demographics) to you in the form of a web dashboard. You’re able to quickly gather information from the charts presented to you.
Why do we need a web dashboard?
Whether you work in healthcare, E-commerce, or anything in between, you can benefit from web dashboards by visualizing, narrating and operationalizing the business. For example, critical customer data such as transactions, refunds, support tickets, and ad spend per customer should be distributed among the operation team at an E-commerce store so processes can be streamlined and optimized. Customers can therefore receive faster response, higher support level and ultimately more value from the product or service you provide.
What does it mean to go serverless?
Hosting a server means that you must worry about managing servers while managing your data. Servers can experience delays, breakages, missing data, overload, and other technical issues. They typically require a dedicated team to maintain. This reliance on upkeep would inevitably make the performance of your web dashboards highly dependent on the technical infrastructure.
With a serverless architecture, its usage is scalable and many times follow a pay-for-use pricing model, making it a flexible, cost-optimal solution. Without the need to manage a server, you can focus on building applications and making measurable impact.
What are some solutions?
There are many serverless solutions available. Choosing the right option for you depends on the resources you have available and their compatibility with the software.
With that in mind, here are a few to consider:
Built-in Dashboards in SaaS Tools
In this category is where we will find tools such as Google Analytics and HubSpot. These tools are often highly specialized and powerful. For example, the HubSpot CRM has Marketing, Sales, and Service hubs that can all work together in tandem to provide meaningful insights to your company’s relationship with customers.
However, these platforms come with limitations to their web dashboards. It is often difficult to create customized dashboards to fit your specific needs, making it necessary to turn to other tools to use in conjunction. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult for multiple tools to communicate with each other. You can’t import web traffic data from Google Analytics into Hubspot to analyze the relationship between web traffic and marketing campaigns without the help of ETL tools.
BI Tool Servers
Another solution is to use a BI tool that will host the server for you. This includes Tableau Server and Metabase Cloud. BI tools are able to build great web dashboards and many are even geared towards a less technical audience.
With these tools, it can sometimes be difficult to integrate other applications to retrieve data. For example, Tableau and Metabase can connect directly to databases and data warehouses, but lack the integration to third-party applications such as HubSpot or Shopify. To connect to those apps, users would have to use ETL tools to load data from the app into a database or data warehouse.
Updating in real-time is also an important feature for dashboards to stay up-to-date. Since BI tools don’t have their own built-in database, users would need to host a database in order to constantly update their dashboard.
Cloud Data Management Platforms
These tools can be a great end-to-end solution for building web dashboards. They are serverless, being hosted on cloud, and are often more equipped to handle data integration and transformation. Without the need to manage your own data or to use ETL tools, it’s a great solution for smaller businesses that don’t have a team to help run these tasks.
Acho is a cloud data management tool that can retrieve and host your data, provide tools to prepare your data for dashboard building, and create a web dashboard. Having these capabilities available on one platform eliminates the need to move your data around or turn to other tools.
How can you use it to build a web dashboard?
Building a web dashboard with a tool like Acho is a simple process.
Here’s how you can build your dashboard!
1. Upload your resource
The first step to building a dashboard is to upload your data. Your data will be stored on cloud through the platform.
There are several ways to create a resource:
- Upload flat files such as CSV or Excel files either as a single file or batch files
- Connect to databases or data warehouses
- Connect to supported third-party applications
- Configure API connections
Connectors to third-party applications or APIs are easy to use. You just need to enter your credentials for the given source or the API and your data will be automatically pulled.
2. Create a project
A project is where you’ll be able to view and transform your data to prepare it to build a dashboard. In the project, you’ll find a suite of tools to help you clean your data. You can also calculate metrics you’d like to present in your dashboard.
3. Build a web dashboard
In the charting app, you’ll be able to build your dashboard. There are many kinds of charts and graphs you can choose from to accurately communicate your data. You can create indicators, line graphs, filters, and more.
4. Set up data syncs
Dashboards incorporate both historical and real-time data. In order for your dashboard to stay up to date, you need to be able to constantly ingest new data as it comes your way. This is easily done from your resources.
In workflows, you’ll be able to schedule data syncs for data pulled from third-party apps and APIs. You can set sync frequency and view your sync history.
5. Watch your dashboard update
Once your data is updated, you’ll be able to watch your dashboard update in real-time!
6. Share your dashboard
Web dashboards can be accessed through a URL. When you publish your dashboard, you’ll receive a shareable link. This link is public, so anyone who has access to your link can view your dashboard.
You’ll also see an embed code. This way, you can embed your dashboard in other websites.
Without hosting a server, web dashboards become a powerful and easy way to share information across departments and to the public.
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