Why Every SMB Should Have A Dashboard

Technology is slowly replacing humans in the workforce. Jobs and tasks are being automated and replaced with software. We shouldn’t feel threatened by this, but empowered. Fortune editor Geoff Colvin argues that as technology becomes more prominent in the workplace, humans will actually become more valuable.

When you think about the work that a computer will never be able to do, what comes to mind? I think of intuitive leadership decisions, orchestrating teams out of a slump towards success, the tenacity to build and scale a multi-million dollar company.

Imagine hiring a new employee that is always measuring your key performance indicators. The work ethic of this employee is unmeasurable and consistent—because this employee works 24/7.

This employee doesn’t sleep, doesn’t take vacations, and collects and communicates critical data to you and your team every moment of the day. This employee is not a person—it’s a company dashboard. No longer should business leaders have to task their employees with collecting data from multiple systems and spreadsheets. That’s the dashboard’s job. And the dashboard is an employee that every small-to-medium sized business should hire.

Facebook is testing a digital assistant powered by artificial intelligence that can complete simple tasks for humans. Tasks like online shopping, travel arrangements, and appointments. This digital assistant is called “M.”

If we will soon have robots like “M” available to schedule and organize our lives, based on our individual Facebook preferences, why are we still manually collecting data for our key company metrics? This is 2015. All small-to-medium sized businesses should be able to focus their time on strategy, not data collection.

I don’t believe that real-time metrics and scoreboards should just be available to Fortune 500 companies. Every small-to-medium sized business will need real-time metrics and a business intelligence dashboard in their office within the next 5 years. Humans should not be spending time entering data into spreadsheets or compiling critical metrics from multiple systems. Technology enables business leaders and teams to focus on high-value activities and strategic leadership.

Hiring a dashboard as your next employee may be daunting at first. But consider the long-term investment and power of this employee. You never have to worry about ETAs, because the dashboard operates on a real-time basis. You don’t have to wait for quarterly updates because you see your KPIs fluctuate daily. You can manage risk faster and better—the visual graphs and interactive charts on your dashboard will make it easy for you and your team to anticipate issues.

Investing in a company dashboard is one of the best investments in human resources that you can make. That one employee—the dashboard—gives you and your team more freedom to lead, more information to make decisions, and more ammunition to succeed.

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