It can be a very challenging process to pull together data from different sources and then create a simple and easy to read presentation.  Having the right software can make this difficult process much easier for the business owner.  Here are some hints on how to create the best dashboard:

  • For simple last minute projects try Geckoboard.  Its drag and drop interface is easy to use.  Its display may be a bit simplistic for more artistic and creative projects but if you’re in a pinch and need a quick presentation, Geckoboard is a very good option.  This software will integrate with some of the most popular services including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Facebook, Spreadsheet, Google Analytics, Instagram, LinkedIn, MailChimp, Twitter, and YouTube.  It is a very steady and reliable option for displaying information with ease.
  • For today’s tech savvy team, the graphing features provided through open source tool R is extremely valuable as a free alternative for large scale data scale visualization projects.  It is an open source alternative with a community behind it.
  • Tableau Business Intelligence (BI) platform also adds tremendous value with its real time data visualization, analysis, and data modeling.  Within moments of opening, this tool can connect to different data sources and display your real time data analysis in your preferred format. Interactive dashboards, presentations, and reports can be shared across teams and onto a manager’s desktop within minutes.   However, Tableau is higher cost and more appropriate for larger organizations.
  • While not widely known, Excel has a great open source community for dashboard templates that can be downloaded and used as a blue-print.  The most significant drawback to Excel is its limitations with real-time data visualization.  Information must be placed in an Excel tab before templates, formats, macros and all that “magic” can take place.

For more complex and creative tasks, you may want to consider working with your team and explore which one of the following options works best for your project.

I would like to thank Vasil Martiko for preparing this article with me. Vasil is a graduate student at Stevens Institute of Technology majoring in Data Analytics. Don’t forget, you can email me at with any questions you might have and I’ll be glad to answer them.  You can also follow me and my business on Twitter @peggymchale and @consultants2go.