Insights in Power BI vs Excel

Today’s organizations deal with enormous amounts of data. Analyzing that data is a key to better performance and valuable business insights. What’s the best approach? Although Excel is useful for insight into early, raw data, Microsoft Power BI is more of a business intelligence tool that helps users visualize data from multiple sources

Here’s a rundown of the main benefits of Power BI over Excel.

What Power BI Does that Excel Can’t

Data Volume and Simplicity
Power BI can handle huge volumes and varieties of data, subject to design and environmental constraints. Tables can be loaded and correlated based upon communal fields. The Power Query Editor and the Data Modelling sections have easy-to-use, intuitive interfaces.

Data Connectivity and Auto-Refresh
Reports can be connected with heterogeneous data sources (discrete databases), infrastructure (on-prem, cloud), social media, CRMs, and the like far more efficiently with Power BI. The time consumed by the ODBC Driver of Excel for data import is at the high end compared with Power BI Workbook.

Auto-refresh keeps the data in sync with the connected source. Refresh Now and Scheduled Refresh option keeps all reports updated.

Reports and Cross-Filtering
Users can develop graphic reports easily, ensuring visually-appealing, professional results.

Cross-filtering is not available in Excel, it is in Power BI. This allows users to decide the flow for filtering data between tables.

Alerts and Emails
Once a dashboard is created, email alerts can be set up on KPIs eg, alert when inventory falls down, Creation of such alert and triggering an email when a condition is met is made very simpler. Where in Excel, we have to create macros using the VBA editor for sending an email or a reminder.

Other Features

Natural Language Query
NLQ lets users get answers through Power BI Service. This feature is useful to users who aren’t familiar with data models and have no time to play with reports.

Row Level Security
Adding Row Level Security (RLS) is a challenge in Excel. With Power BI, even non-coders can add RLS for different groups. RLS can be implemented to ensure that employees can only see data relevant to their local geography.

Download and Export of Dashboards
Users can download dashboards or export the reports to PowerPoint, PDF, or printers.

Power BI, Excel, or Both?

A data-driven world demands an efficient, effective data analytics tool. Companies are clamoring for data visualization and to do away with tabular reports containing hundreds of pages of numbers.

Business users can use Power BI without having to ask IT to analyze their data. Automation of dataset integration, ease of expansion into new data sources, rapid visualizations, and easily-deployable Row Level Security all make Power BI a necessity

To improve your data organization and analytics, contact Tek Leaders today. We create custom data storage, analysis, and visualization systems based on individual workflows and business strategies. If you have questions about how to use Power BI merge queries and other data analysis tools more effectively, you can reach us by email directly.

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The Best Visualization Dashboard Builder

What if you could build an elegant and complex visualization dashboard at the touch of a button? Some tools give you the power to do just that. The best visualization dashboard builders allow you to create multiple charts and other graphics to organize your data—often without writing any complicated code. 

However, there are hundreds of visualization dashboard builders out there and only a handful of them are generate truly groundbreaking visuals and insights. To find the most innovative and intelligent visualization software, let’s compare five top dashboard builders. 

Five Innovative Visualization Dashboard Tools

A visualization dashboard is a tool that helps you organize and display data in a visual format, such as a chart or graph. Most dashboards contain multiple visuals on a single page and can track everything from key performance indicators (KPIs) to project timelines. What makes these dashboards so useful is that they are infinitely customizable; you’re only limited by the visuals and tools each dashboard software supports. 

But this is where the dashboard creation process gets a little tricky. Some dashboard builders don’t have as many visualization options as others. Many also place a limit on the size of the data sets you can use or number of visuals you can display on a single page. 

This is why it’s important to weigh all of your options and find the tool that offers you the greatest number of benefits and the fewest restrictions. These five popular visualization dashboard building tools are the most robust and have very few flaws.

  1. Microsoft Power BI
  • Available for desktop or mobile users.
  • Offers a free license, a Pro license for $9.99 per user per month, or a Premium license for $4,995 or more per month. 
  • Includes hundreds of detailed visual templates and custom visuals
  • Choose a dashboard template or create your own custom layout. 
  • Make any dashboard a featured dashboard that automatically opens for every user. 
  • Link dashboards to Power BI reports to slice and dice data or drill down through the data to identify trends. 
  • Export multiple small data sets (although there is a data size limit). 
  • Easy to use, even if you have no experience with data science, visualizations, or dashboards. 
  1. Tableau
  • Available for desktop or mobile users.
  • Offers a personal desktop license for $35 per month, a professional desktop license for $70 per month, a server license for $35 per month, or an online license for $42 per month. 
  • Includes a number of visuals that you can add to the dashboard from a dropdown list (however, custom visuals are harder to add). 
  • Create your own dashboard by dragging and dropping different visuals or objects onto the page. 
  • Link dashboards to Tableau sheets for more detailed data analysis. 
  • Make interactive dashboards to share with other Tableau users. 
  • Export very large data sets. 
  • Requires some knowledge of dashboard design and data science, but is easy to use once you get over this initial learning curve. 
  1. Sisense
  • Available for desktop or mobile users (although mobile users may have fewer dashboard creation options). 
  • Offers custom pricing models depending on your business’ needs. 
  • Includes visuals in the form of widgets that you add to the dashboard page. 
  • Customize the appearance of the widgets using the app’s Widget Designer or adjust the layout of the dashboard’s visuals. 
  • Make interactive dashboards. 
  • Export very large data sets. 
  • Has a slight learning curve at first, but once you learn how to use the visualization dashboard builder, it’s easy to design new dashboards on the fly. 
  1. Zoho Analytics
  • Available for desktop. There is a mobile app; however, you may only be able to view dashboards from a mobile device. 
  • Offers licenses for $25 for two users per month or more expensive plans for as much as $485 per month for 50 users. 
  • Includes visual widgets that are automatically populated from reports linked to your Zoho Analytics account. 
  • Resize or change the order of visuals on the dashboard. 
  • Create custom themes using an HTML editor. 
  • Export some large data sets, limited to 100 MB or 100,000 rows. 
  • Not as customizable as some of the other options on this list and may require some knowledge of HTML. 
  1. iDashboards: 
  • Available for desktop or mobile users. 
  • Offers custom pricing options that vary by user. 
  • Includes a list of custom visuals. You can also embed other graphic elements into your dashboards (such as a company logo). 
  • Make interactive dashboards that drill down through your data to display more detailed information. 
  • Export small data sets (users may struggle to export large data sets or tables). 
  • The drag-and-drop feature makes it easy to create dashboards without writing any code. 

These are only a few of the visualization dashboard builders available on the market, so there may be other tools that better suit your needs. However, for most businesses, one of these five is usually the best option, as they are well-established in the data analytics industry and are known reliable customer support. 

Although all of these tools are advanced, you’ll need to consider the pros and cons of each before you make your decision. 

Auto-refresh keeps the data in sync with the connected source. Refresh Now and Scheduled Refresh option keeps all reports updated.

What’s the Best Visualization Dashboard Builder?

What’s your budget?
Power BI is the only software that offers a free license, but if you want to share your dashboards with other Power BI users, then you’ll have to pay for a Pro or Premium license. Still, the Pro license is less expensive than any of the other five software options on this list. Zoho Analytics is the next most affordable option. Tableau is more expensive than either Power BI or Zoho Analytics, but also comes with a number of additional features that may be worth the higher price. Sisense and iDashboards both offer custom pricing options, so it’s wise to ask for an estimate from them before you make a final decision.

Do you need to analyze large data sets?
If you only work with small amounts of data, then Power BI, Zoho Analytics, and iDashboards are all fine options. They cost less than services that support larger data sets. However, if you need to build dashboards from large sets of data, then either Tableau or Sisense are your only out-of-the-box options.

Do you have a data science or graphic design background?

If you don’t have any experience working with data, writing basic code, or designing engaging web pages or infographics, then some of these visualization dashboard builders will be tough to navigate. Tableau, Sisense, and Zoho Analytics have some of the highest learning curves, whereas Power BI and iDashboards are typically very easy for anyone to use. 
Keep in mind that these five tools aren’t the only options you have for designing effective visualization dashboards from scratch. You can also hire a third-party data analytics company to create a custom visualization dashboard builder based on your workflow.

How to Build Robust Visualization Dashboards

Although visualization dashboard builders are designed to work straight out of the box, the reality isn’t always as elegant or streamlined. Unexpected costs, steep learning curves, and data limitations make switching to a new piece of software difficult.

If none of these dashboard builder options meet your needs, or you’re looking for alternatives to self-service dashboard builders, consider hiring a third-party data analytics firm. They can take a close look at your business strategy and operations to create the best possible dashboards for every data set you’d like to analyze.

In some cases, hiring a third party is a better option than buying a software license because the third-party system is built specifically for your business. You won’t have to worry whether you’re missing key features or paying for more than you’ll actually use. Another benefit is that the system is inherently simple. It’s built around your workflow and experience level, meaning you won’t waste time learning how to use it. With help from visualization dashboard experts, you’ll create spectacularly-detailed visuals without lifting a finger.

To get a custom visualization dashboard of your own, contact Tek Leaders today. We specialize in creating robust and visually-engaging dashboards that are designed to track all of your most important KPIs and generate insights that have the greatest impact on your bottom line. If you’d like more information about the custom dashboard services we offer, you can reach us by email directly.

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SharePoint Migration Tool Pros and Cons

Copying data from on-premise servers to the cloud is a hassle for most organizations. It’s time-consuming and can be very complicated. To simplify it, Microsoft’s SharePoint Migration Tool lets users copy data from a SharePoint server to SharePoint Online. It’s a one-step process that takes the headache out of data migration.

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Sharepoint 2019 vs Sharepoint Online

Now that Microsoft has released updates to SharePoint 2019, you may be wondering which system will offer you the biggest bang for your buck: On-premise SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online. There are pros and cons to each, so the answer isn’t cut and dried. To find the right system for your business, you’ll have to take a closer look at all of the ways they differ.

What is SharePoint 2019?

SharePoint 2019 is an umbrella term for Microsoft’s latest edition of the web-based platform that helps organizations manage information. There are actually three versions of SharePoint: Online, Server, and a hybrid of the two.

When organizations want to compare the features of SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online, they’re usually looking for information about how the 2019 edition of SharePoint Server differs from SharePoint Online. This is a common question in industries that collect and organize large amounts of data, such as healthcare facilities and financial service providers. These organizations want to know which tool will help them manage sensitive data effectively while maintaining low overhead.

You may be asking this question now because the SharePoint Server edition changed in 2019. Some of the features that were once only available in SharePoint Online are now offered in the latest Server edition, prompting some organizations to make the switch from Online to Server. 

To make this decision, you first need to consider the differences between the on-premises version of SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online.

What is SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online?

SharePoint Server is installed directly on your existing infrastructure. It’s an on-premise data management tool that requires you to maintain your own servers. There are two editions of this service: Enterprise and Standard. The free edition, called Foundation, was discontinued in 2016 and isn’t supported by the latest SharePoint update. 

By comparison, SharePoint Online is an off-premise version of the service that offers many of the same functions and features as the Server edition but doesn’t require you to manage any servers of your own.  

In 2018, Microsoft updated the features of SharePoint Online, including improvements to communication sites, cloud searches, and a sleeker user interface (UI) for its dashboards and portals. Later that year, Microsoft also rolled out changes to SharePoint Server with its 2019 edition. For the first time, users could build and access communication sites with the on-premise service. Users also had access to more file and folder sharing options, cloud connectivity (including hybrid systems), and a modern UI. 

Although SharePoint Server 2019 and SharePoint Online now share some core functionalities, they’re still radically different tools. To make an apples-to-apples comparison, you should look at the differences between Enterprise SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online. The Enterprise version of SharePoint 2019 Server is more similar to SharePoint Online than the Standard version because the Enterprise version has more features and cloud search options.

SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online: The Key Differences

Both SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online have these features in common:

    • Template creation options;
    • Mobile and cross-browser support;
    • Permissions management;
    • Document sets and management options;
    • Online server access;
    • User authorizations and cloud security;
    • Design manager tools;
    • Content search portals and managed navigation; 
    • A simple user interface; and more.

    With SharePoint, operations become much more efficient overall, saving your organization time and money.

    The Cons of Using SharePoint for Healthcare 

    There are a lot of benefits of SharePoint for healthcare, but it does have a few limitations.

    One challenge is that SharePoint offers many different applications and features which can be difficult to navigate for first-time users. Without training, your staff may input data incorrectly or feel overwhelmed by the new system. As a result, your staff may not know where to find the latest patient information, leading to potential health risks and liabilities. Some staff members also find that the system is too time-consuming to use on a daily basis. These issues can be resolved with training and better planning.

    Another problem with SharePoint for healthcare is that it’s often difficult to know where to start. It has massive number of features and it isn’t always clear one is appropriate for your organization’s needs. This is why many healthcare facilities hire an IT consulting firm to help them seamlessly migrate to a SharePoint system.

    Security is another potential problem with SharePoint for healthcare. The more authorized users you have, the more security vulnerabilities exist within the system. This is especially true if you fail to identify these vulnerabilities or train your staff on security best practices. Security problems may even lead to HIPAA violations down the line.

    When you identify the specific features that your organization will use, train your staff on how to use them, and close common security loopholes, your new SharePoint system will run smoothly.

    Do You Need Something Besides SharePoint? 

    SharePoint is a great tool for many organizations in the healthcare industry, but it won’t transform your facilities and operations by itself. Many healthcare companies hire firms that specialize in data storage, user dashboards, and documentation. Working with a third-party firm is superior to using SharePoint alone because:

    • Data experts will assess every aspect of your data collection and storage process, ensuring you’re collecting high-quality data and keeping it secure. 
    • The firm will come up with a custom business strategy, including a new data analysis system that helps you identify areas where you can improve. 
    • Web platform designers will make custom dashboards for your staff and patients that are intuitive and require no additional training to use. 
    • You can generate detailed visuals from all of the data you collect to make more accurate business decisions. 
    • You’ll rest easy knowing that the firm is aware of all current HIPAA regulations and data security best practices. The firm will take all necessary steps to protect sensitive patient information.

    However, there are differences between an Enterprise license of SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online: 

    Feature 

    Enterprise SharePoint 2019

    SharePoint Online

    Distributed cache support

    Yes 

    No

    Database support

    Yes 

    No

    Host-named site collection

    Yes 

    No

    Personal sites 

    Yes 

    No

    A business intelligence center

    Yes 

    No

    Custom site provisioning and definitions

    Yes 

    No

    Works out of the box

    No (requires some installation)

    Yes 

    In general, SharePoint Server can do almost everything that SharePoint Online can do. The main drawback to using SharePoint Online is that administrative and publishing tasks are much more limited.

    It’s also important to consider prices.

    You can purchase SharePoint Online on its own or bundle it with another Microsoft tool like Office 365. If you buy a standalone license, the service costs between $5 per user per month and $20 per user per month, depending on if you’re buying the basic service or a more extensive package that includes more features.

    An Enterprise SharePoint Server license costs approximately $7,000 per server. However, that varies depending on your location and other installation factors. You’ll pay about $100 per user for this service. The cost of keeping the servers running (air conditioning and other infrastructure) is also higher overall.

    SharePoint Online is much cheaper than SharePoint Server. Some organizations will find the extra cost of SharePoint Server worthwhile

    Choosing Between SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online

    Both the Server and Online editions are robust systems that will help you share and organize your information effectively. If you want to customize the system, then the Server edition is the best option because it offers greater flexibility.

    The Server edition is also generally more secure than the Online edition. You have complete control over your data and can implement additional precautions like firewalls to prevent data breaches. However, SharePoint Online is also a very secure system, with the latest cloud security best practices to protect sensitive data.

    If you’re on a tight budget, SharePoint Online is the best choice. It’s far less expensive than either the Standard or Enterprise editions of SharePoint Server. It’s also a cost-effective option for small and large enterprises alike. Small businesses can run a lean, agile system at very little cost. Large enterprises won’t have to pay for dozens or even hundreds of individual user licenses for the SharePoint server. The more users you have, the less cost-effective SharePoint Server is overall.

    To help you make a final decision, ask an experienced IT services firm for advice on whether to choose on-premise SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint online. A team of data scientists and IT experts will explain the strengths and weaknesses of each system for your specific organization and assist you with making this transition without losing any important data.

    Alternatively, you can ask the firm whether it supports features that neither of these SharePoint editions have. For example, if you’re simply looking to organize your data more effectively, communicate and collaborate on projects with your peers, and locate your data from a user-friendly dashboard, then an experienced IT services firm can create a custom system that includes all of these features.

    A system like this is more customizable than SharePoint Online and may be more cost-effective than SharePoint Server. By exploring all of your options, you’ll find a system that makes data management easy.

    Contact Tek Leaders today to learn more about the pros and cons of on-premise SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online. We’ll offer you advice on how to create the most effective data management system for your company. If you want to hear more about the custom data management systems we offer, you can reach us by email directly.

    Author: Shashank Reddy Tummala.

    Shashank is the COO of Tek Leaders inc.He helps SMB’s to achieve their goals in their journey of Digital Transformation.

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    Data Analytics Outsourcing Companies: What To Look For

    Data analytics outsourcing companies let even the smallest businesses compete with the biggest names in their industries. These companies offer the same powerful analytics tools that the most successful companies use to get ahead—often at a much lower cost.

    Before you hire one of these companies to help you make better data-driven decisions, you’ll need to know what to look for. What sets one trustworthy data analytics company apart from another? In this guide, we’ll show you how to find a third-party firm that will give you the best possible results.

    What Does a Data Analytics Outsourcing Company Do? 

    Data analytics outsourcing companies take on most or all of the responsibilities of data management for your organization. They usually have their own servers and other hardware, as well as software licenses and proprietary systems for analyzing data. The company charges your business a flat fee to use its system and services.

    These services may include:

    • Business intelligence planning and reporting;
    • Data collection and storage (including cloud storage);
    • Big data normalization;
    • Data mining;
    • Predictive analytics (sometimes using machine learning algorithms);
    • Consumer analytics and customer insights;
    • Fraud prevention analytics (particularly for the insurance industry);
    • Spatial analytics;
    • Visualization tools; and more.

    Every data analytics outsourcing company is different. Some offer only a few of these benefits, while others cover them all. The cost of services also varies from firm to firm. To choose the right data analytics firm for your organization, think carefully about the benefits they offer and weigh them against the total cost.

    How to Choose the Best Data Analytics Outsourcing Company 

    How can you tell whether a data analytics outsourcing company is trustworthy and offers the best services for the price? Start by asking your main point of contact these 10 questions:

    1. Does my organization need to do anything to prepare for this transition?

    The best data analytics outsourcing companies won’t require you to have any existing infrastructure or in-house IT staff. The third-party firm should provide all of the tools and support needed to migrate to new systems.

    2. Will my staff need training?

    Reliable companies provide all of the training materials for your in-house staff. The best firms also create individual user authorizations and dashboards based on existing workflows. The system should be intuitive from the start.

    3. What data storage options does your company offer?

    The company must provide secure cloud storage, at minimum. Some companies also allow you to store data onsite and use cloud storage backups. No matter which option you choose, the company should help you migrate to cloud storage from your current system.

    4. Is the system flexible?

    Customizable dashboards and business intelligence (BI) portals are a must-have service. So are customizable reports and visualizations. Great companies will create a system specifically for your business based on your strategy and BI roadmap.

    5. How advanced are the data analytics services and tools?

    Services like automated report generation, robust visualizations, and predictive analytics via machine learning are incredibly powerful tools for finding trends in large sets of data. The company you partner with should use the most advanced tools on the market.

    6. How reliable is the system?

    The third-party firm should provide 24/7 customer support every day of the week to answer any questions your staff may have and to troubleshoot tech problems. It should also guarantee at least 99 percent uptime.

    7. Is my data secure?

    The company must follow data security best practices, including encryption and robust user authorization protocols.

    8. Is the system scalable?

    Ask whether you can quickly scale up or down based on your business’ latest needs and market trends.

    9. How much does it cost?

    The service should be value-driven. In other words, the company will assess the cost of these services based on overall results, not on time or resources spent per project. The best companies charge a fixed monthly fee and only charge for the services you actually use.

    10. Can I see examples of dashboards or reports you’ve created in the past?

    Seeing real examples of dashboards the company has created will help you decide whether the service is right for you.

    Your contact at the data analytics outsourcing company should have a solid answer for each of these questions. If the company doesn’t provide one or more of the key services above, then it may not be worth the investment. When it comes to choosing the best firm to work with, you can afford to be picky. You shouldn’t settle for an outsourcing contract that doesn’t meet all of your needs.

    Should You Hire a Third-Party Firm? 

    Most businesses, especially small or medium-sized enterprises, should absolutely hire a data analytics outsourcing company. Smaller enterprises often don’t have room in the budget to hire an experienced team of data scientists to perform advanced data analysis every day. By outsourcing this process, you’ll get the same expertise at a much lower cost. You can easily compete with the giants of your industry.

    However, not all data analytics outsourcing companies are equally knowledgeable or reliable. If the firm outsources work to unskilled freelancers who have little experience with data science, then you may not get the deep, insightful results you want. Security is another pain point when you hire a third-party firm. If the firm doesn’t take the steps necessary to protect your data, you may be vulnerable to breaches or data theft. Trustworthy firms address all of these issues by hiring the most skilled and experienced data scientists to keep your information safe.

    A reliable firm will also work with your current IT staff (if you already have an IT team) to make sure everyone is on the same page. Sometimes, in-house IT staff are hesitant to let another company take over data analysis responsibilities. However, by working closely with your staff, a third-party IT firm can quickly establish trust, prepare your team for the transition, and ease your staff’s workload. Your in-house staff will appreciate having extra time to work on big picture projects by outsourcing tedious data entry and analysis tasks to a third party.

    As long as you select the most experienced firm, negotiate a favorable contract, and communicate with your in-house staff, you’ll be successful. By the end of this process, you’ll have a seamless analytics system that generates powerful insights and helps drive your business forward.


    If you’re thinking about outsourcing your data analytics process to a third party, contact Tek Leaders today. We are a leading provider of advanced data analytics and business intelligence services. Tek Leaders provides powerful tools and full-service support to businesses looking to maximize their data. If you have more questions about data analytics outsourcing companies,  you can reach us by email directly.

    Author: Shashank Reddy Tummala.

    Shashank is the COO of Tek Leaders inc.He helps SMB’s to achieve their goals in their journey of Digital Transformation.

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    The Best Dashboard Database Design for Your Company

    You’re driving down a long stretch of highway and aren’t sure whether you should refuel now or at the next gas station about 30 miles away. You glance down at your car’s fuel gauge and see that you still have enough gas to get you through the next 50 miles, at least. So, you decide to drive on.

    Database dashboards work in the same way as vehicle dashboards. They display the most important information right up front so that you can make the best decisions.

    However, unlike the dashboard of your car, your company’s dashboard database design is much more complex. In some cases, you have to display hundreds of numbers and dozens of metrics on a single dashboard to get the most accurate view of what’s happening.

    Effective dashboard database design distills all of this complicated information down to its simplest and most visually-engaging form. There are six design principles that will help you get the most out of your dashboard:

    1. Base your design on business-related questions. 
    2. Design for your end-user or audience. 
    3. Select the most accurate visuals
    4. Tell a story in the design. 
    5. Keep the graphic elements simple. 
    6. Use color to your advantage.

    By following these six tips, you’ll create a beautiful and interactive dashboard database design to drive all of your future decisions.

    How to Get the Best Dashboard Database Design

    Tip #1: Ask Questions Upfront

    One of the biggest mistakes that companies make when they create dashboards is that they try to cram too much information onto a single page. This results in an overly-complicated dashboard that doesn’t tell you what steps you need to take to make your business more successful.

    To prevent this, start by asking what you want to achieve with your dashboard database design. Asking business-related questions helps you to drill down to what’s important. Your dashboard will answer these very specific questions, rather than attempting to cover everything all at once.

    Examples:

    1. How many new customers did we get this month? How did this compare to last month?
    2. What are our top 10 products? Why are these products so popular? 
    3. How is our marketing team performing? How do we improve performance?

    The more specific the questions, the more effective your dashboard database design will be. You’ll see exactly which metrics to track to get the right answers.

    Tip #2: Design for Your Audience 

    Once you have a list of business-related questions you’d like to answer with your dashboard database design, consider who is going to look at the information. Is your audience a group of employees or your CFO? They’ll want to see different things in the design.

    For example, upper management and stakeholders likely want to see big-picture figures that will help them steer the company in the right direction. If you include daily operational metrics in the dashboard design, you’ll only muddy the waters and make their jobs more difficult.

    Likewise, your employees want to know what they should be doing differently to reach their individual goals. If the dashboard is too broad in scope, they’ll struggle to see their roles in the company’s overarching strategy.

    To decide on the right dashboard database design for your audience, choose one of the three most popular dashboard styles:

    • Strategic dashboards for tracking individual goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
    • Operational dashboards for managers to monitor systematic efficiency, like time to market or equipment maintenance records. 
    • Analytical dashboards for tracking larger market trends and big picture KPIs that stakeholders want to see.

    All of these dashboards are designed with similar layouts but different visuals and metrics.

    Tip #3: Choose the Right Visuals for the Job 

    Visuals can be misleading. For example, if you’re missing key data sets, then the visual representation of the information won’t be accurate. Another common problem is choosing the wrong type of visual to display the data.

    To prevent this problem, your dashboard database should have access to all of the data you currently have in storage. Your in-house IT team or a third-party dashboard database designer can help you connect your data warehouse or cloud storage source directly to the dashboard.

    You should also choose the best visual representation for each data set. There are four main types of visuals:

    • Comparisons that show the difference between two or more sets of data;
    • Relationships that show how two or more sets of data correlate;
    • Distributions that group data by commonalities or values; and
    • Compositions that break data down into new categories, so you can drill down to get a more detailed look.

    The best dashboard database designs feature a combination of these four types of visuals. By analyzing the data from multiple angles using a few different custom visuals, you’ll get a much fuller picture of what’s happening at your company.

    Tip #4: Tell a Story in the Design 

    What’s the best way to organize all of these visual elements on the dashboard? You should structure the information like a news story.

    This means placing all of the most important data at the very top of the dashboard. Even if the stakeholder or employee only glances at the information at the top, they’ll understand the key insights. Your supporting visuals then go under these essential visuals—they are more detailed and enrich your understanding of the data.

    For example, a well-structured dashboard database design includes:

    • Top visuals: Big picture insights (e.g. a heat map showing total mortgage amount by county);
    • Middle visuals: Trends that support these insights (e.g. a line and bar graph comparing total mortgage amounts to goals set earlier in the year); and
    • Bottom visuals: Individual performance KPIs or operational details that lead to the figures above (e.g. a chart showing individual loan officer performance).

    When you structure your dashboard database design in this way, you make it easier for people to connect with the data through compelling visual storytelling.

    Tip #5: Keep it Simple 

    It’s easy to get carried away when you design a new dashboard from scratch. Many organizations pack as much information into the dashboard as possible because they believe it will lead to better insights. However, the opposite is usually true. Too many visuals or data sets on the page will only confuse people and make it harder to see what truly matters.

    A clean, simple dashboard database design is most effective. Not only does this make your dashboard look more polished and professional, but it also is easier to use on a daily basis. Users know exactly where to input data or filter results. They also know where to find crucial information so they can take immediate action.

    Include no more than about five to ten visuals or widgets on a single dashboard. Your entire dashboard should also fit on a single screen without requiring users to scroll down. This allows them to see everything at once. It also makes it easy to adjust data filters and see how the visuals change in response.

    Tip #6: Make it Colorful 

    Cohesive color schemes serve two purposes in dashboard database design:

    1. They make it easier to quickly understand the data on display. 
    2. They lend the dashboard a more professional look.

    For example, if you color-code the data so that profits are shown in green and deficits are shown in red, stakeholders will instantly know whether the figures are overall positive or negative. You can also show different gradients of color to represent information, such as in heat maps.

    You also have the option to choose background colors that match your company’s logo or official color scheme. When presenting this information to stakeholders, potential investors, or others outside of your organization, this makes your dashboards and reports look more authoritative.

    How to Create the Best Dashboard Database Design 

    Dashboard database design is both a science and an art. You need to be familiar with how to link the dashboard to data sources, program interactive components, and create innovative visuals based on data science best practices—but you also need to weave a compelling story and make a beautiful, user-friendly dashboard.

    Combining all of these traits can be time-consuming and challenging, particularly if you don’t have a data science or graphic design background. By hiring a third-party dashboard database designer, you’ll save time and effort. Dashboard experts will:

    • Connect all of your data to the dashboard;
    • Build a dashboard that answers key business strategy questions;
    • Choose the most appropriate visuals for each data set; and
    • Customize the dashboard based on staff workflows and your business philosophy.

    Having a fully-customized dashboard built by data science experts lets you identify the key insights and trends that will help your business blossom.


    If you’re ready to build aesthetic and functional dashboards for your organization, contact Tek Leaders today. We create custom dashboard database designs from scratch that help organizations gain valuable insights. If you have more questions about our design process, you can reach us by email directly.

    Author: Shashank Reddy Tummala.

    Shashank is the COO of Tek Leaders inc.He helps SMB’s to achieve their goals in their journey of Digital Transformation.

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    SharePoint for Healthcare: Pros and Cons

    The healthcare industry is going digital. The most modern and innovative medical organizations are using the latest software and online platforms to run facilities more efficiently and improve patient treatment plans.

    SharePoint for healthcare is one of the most practical tools for this purpose. Its features and simple user interface make it a popular choice in hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers, and other healthcare facilities.

    Implementing this system for the first time can be complicated, time-consuming, and even risky if security isn’t prioritized. In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of the greatest benefits of SharePoint for healthcare as well as some of the risks. Armed with this information, you’ll make the best possible decision for your healthcare organization.

    The Benefits of SharePoint for Healthcare Organizations 

    Microsoft’s SharePoint is a comprehensive web platform used to store and organize information. The platform has multiple editions and applications, and is used in a wide range of industries to perform a diverse number of tasks. It’s a very flexible system. With this tool, healthcare organizations can easily collaborate on complex projects, improve staff workflows, and distribute important training materials. It keeps all of the facility’s information well-organized so that staff can focus on patient care.

    The following are some of the most important benefits of SharePoint for healthcare organizations:

    Information Storage

    • Up-to-date patient information. Patient treatments and medications are all tracked and are very easy to find.
    • Simple forms and templates. Patient intake forms, contracts, reports, and other frequently-used documents exist as templates in the system and can be programmed to autofill based on a patient or physician’s records. This saves staff a lot of time. 
    • Supply orders. The database can store information on the number of supplies the facility currently has in stock and automatically flag low supplies for re-ordering.

    Communication

    • Making content searchable. Authorized users can search the entire system by keyword. When patients need to be treated quickly, medical professionals don’t have time to sift through mountains of paperwork or digital files.
    • Collaboration with other facilities. SharePoint’s extranet allows medical professionals to communicate with each other without having to make a phone call or send an email. Patient information is up-to-date and physicians can leave notes for each other about treatment plans or medications from within the private, secure network.

    Patient Experience

    Staff Workflows

    • Improved scheduling. Your staff shifts are documented in the system. You can track between-shift breaks to ensure your staff is getting enough rest. This is also useful for tracking who’s on call. 
    • Automated workflows. Recurring events, department budgets, and equipment maintenance appointments are automated. SharePoint is programmed to send out alerts to people who need to be in the facility for these events or who need to sign important documents so they can be approved.
    • Efficient staff training.  SharePoint for healthcare automatically sets up periodic trainings, such as reminders for staff to complete continuing education courses. It will also notify all staff when a new protocol is put in place that requires additional training.
    • Performance reviews. Staff attendance and performance is logged in the system and can be quickly brought up during performance reviews. You can also use a visualization tool to track performance over time.

    Security

    • Emergency alerts.  SharePoint color-codes updates by urgency. If something needs immediate action, the right person receive a color-coded notification. You can also program SharePoint to link to emergency contacts directly, saving precious time.
    • Health Insurance Portabilityand Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance. SharePoint for healthcare doesn’t automatically follow all HIPAA regulations out of the box, but it can be set up to do so. Private networks and authorizations ensure that data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
    • User authorization. Each user has an authorized login that only gives them access to the information they have permission to see. All other information is unavailable to them, keeping the system secure.

    With SharePoint, operations become much more efficient overall, saving your organization time and money.

    The Cons of Using SharePoint for Healthcare 

    There are a lot of benefits of SharePoint for healthcare, but it does have a few limitations.

    One challenge is that SharePoint offers many different applications and features which can be difficult to navigate for first-time users. Without training, your staff may input data incorrectly or feel overwhelmed by the new system. As a result, your staff may not know where to find the latest patient information, leading to potential health risks and liabilities. Some staff members also find that the system is too time-consuming to use on a daily basis. These issues can be resolved with training and better planning.

    Another problem with SharePoint for healthcare is that it’s often difficult to know where to start. It has massive number of features and it isn’t always clear one is appropriate for your organization’s needs. This is why many healthcare facilities hire an IT consulting firm to help them seamlessly migrate to a SharePoint system.

    Security is another potential problem with SharePoint for healthcare. The more authorized users you have, the more security vulnerabilities exist within the system. This is especially true if you fail to identify these vulnerabilities or train your staff on security best practices. Security problems may even lead to HIPAA violations down the line.

    When you identify the specific features that your organization will use, train your staff on how to use them, and close common security loopholes, your new SharePoint system will run smoothly.

    What Are Some SharePoint Alternatives?  

    SharePoint is a great tool for many organizations in the healthcare industry, but it won’t transform your facilities and operations by itself. Many healthcare companies hire firms that specialize in data storage, user dashboards, and documentation. Working with a third-party firm is superior to using SharePoint alone because:

    • Data experts will assess every aspect of your data collection and storage process, ensuring you’re collecting high-quality data and keeping it secure. 
    • The firm will come up with a custom business strategy, including a new data analysis system that helps you identify areas where you can improve. 
    • Web platform designers will make custom dashboards for your staff and patients that are intuitive and require no additional training to use. 
    • You can generate detailed visuals from all of the data you collect to make more accurate business decisions. 
    • You’ll rest easy knowing that the firm is aware of all current HIPAA regulations and data security best practices. The firm will take all necessary steps to protect sensitive patient information.

    You can also ask an experienced data management firm to train your staff on how to use SharePoint. The firm will ensure that you make this transition with minimal operational disruptions and that you’re making the most out of the platform’s features and functionalities. With an experienced team by your side, you’ll have all of the resources you need to promote wellness and provide excellent care to local communities.

    Tek Leaders offers free data management audits to healthcare organizations. To sign up for your free audit, contact Tek Leaders today. If you have more questions about SharePoint for healthcare or the services we provide, you can reach us by email directly.

    Author: Shashank Reddy Tummala.

    Shashank is the COO of Tek Leaders inc.He helps SMB’s to achieve their goals in their journey of Digital Transformation.

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    SharePoint 2019: On Premise, Off Premise, or Hybrid?

    Microsoft’s latest SharePoint 2019 update is out, and its new features are making it easier than ever to store information and communicate internally. With the new update, you can create communication sites, generate new sites faster, store more files, and integrate SharePoint with other cloud-based data applications.

    To take advantage of these new SharePoint 2019 options, you need to select the right edition for your business. Microsoft offers on-premise, off-premise, and hybrid options—each with its own benefits and trade-offs. This guide will help you find the appropriate version of SharePoint 2019 so that you can leverage your data and communications more effectively.

    The Benefits of SharePoint 2019 On-Premise Services

    SharePoint 2019 is an online platform that business owners use to keep critical documents and information organized. However, it isn’t just a web-based service. Business owners also have the option to store information on-premise.

    SharePoint on-premise requires you to store data in a secure location of your choice. This means purchasing and maintaining SharePoint servers onsite and hiring an IT team to update the system periodically.

    The benefits of using SharePoint on-premise depend on whether you purchase a Standard or Enterprise version.

    SharePoint 2019 Standard allows you to:

    • Regulate data governance;
    • Store data securely;
    • Target key audiences;
    • Perform web analytics;
    • Manage user profiles;
    • Organize metadata and content;
    • Search existing data; and more.

    By comparison, SharePoint 2019 Enterprise offers all of the features above as well as:

    • Rich web indexing;
    • Custom dashboards; and
    • Integration with business intelligence tools like Power BI.

    SharePoint Enterprise is the best option for organizations that manage a large amount of data or that want to maximize business intelligence. The features are more robust than the Standard version.

    The main benefit of using SharePoint on-premise is that you have greater direct control over data security. It’s also helpful if you want to customize the system to fit your staff’s workflows.

    However, there are also downsides to going on-premise. It costs more to maintain the servers onsite and hire a full-time staff to keep the system operating at peak efficiency. It also requires more physical space. If you have a small office, you may not have the infrastructure required to make the system work. It also takes time to set up a server onsite, so your return on investment (ROI) may be delayed.

    This is why many business owners opt for SharePoint 2019’s off-premise services instead.

    The Benefits of SharePoint 2019 Off-Premise Services 

    SharePoint 2019’s off-premise, cloud-based option doesn’t require any existing infrastructure. Microsoft stores your data securely in the cloud. You access it using a web-based portal. SharePoint online allows you to perform all of the same tasks as the on-premise Enterprise version.

    The off-premise version is also less complicated and sometimes less expensive. You won’t have to hire an IT staff to maintain servers or find a secure physical location to store your data. You’ll receive frequent software patches directly from Microsoft whenever they’re available. Plus, you’ll see a faster ROI. Once your data has been uploaded into SharePoint’s servers, you’ll have immediate access to it from any authorized device.

    However, there are also a few downsides of SharePoint 2019’s off-premise option. It isn’t as customizable as the on-premise version. You don’t have any control over the software patches or the look of the dashboard user interface. Some business owners also feel more comfortable controlling their own data, rather than trusting a third party with it. While modern cloud data storage is very secure, you may still wish to have your own security protocols in place.

    SharePoint 2019 also offers a hybrid option that combines features from both versions.

    Should You Go with Hybrid Services? 

    Business owners who want to continue to store their data locally but also want to have access to this data from any location can choose SharePoint 2019’s hybrid services. This option includes:

    • The ability to access locally-stored data in the cloud from a secure sign-in;
    • Monthly and annual patches and important cloud updates (which saves your IT team time); and
    • Cloud backups of locally-stored data (and vice versa).

    You’ll still have the added cost of maintaining servers onsite and hiring IT staff to maintain them, but a hybrid system takes some of the pressure off of your team. They can focus more of their time and attention on servers and security issues without worrying about updating the software side or making new user dashboards. You also have greater access to your data. Staff can locate data in the cloud from any location and aren’t limited to using computers on site.

    How to Choose the Best SharePoint 2019 Plan

    The choice you make ultimately depends on your goals and existing infrastructure. Generally, SharePoint 2019’s on-premise option is best for large organizations that want to control every aspect of data security themselves. Larger enterprises can afford multiple servers and IT teams on site. They also often have more unused physical space to store it all.

    If you’re a small enterprise, a cloud-based version is most beneficial. Not only does it cost less up-front, but it also is easier to manage over time and more flexible. With all of your data stored in the cloud, you can quickly scale up or down without making adjustments to your physical infrastructure.

    If you want both the flexibility of a cloud-based system and a local backup of all of your critical data, then a hybrid version is a great choice.

    No matter which SharePoint 2019 version you’re considering, an experienced IT services firm can make the migration seamless. Knowledgeable data scientists are very familiar with the pros and cons of each SharePoint version and can help you choose the option that works best for your organization’s needs.

    Another reason to hire an IT services firm is that they can offer you additional features that SharePoint doesn’t currently support. If you need a cloud-based system but also want custom user dashboards, an IT firm can do both. The firm will help you upload your data into SharePoint online and will create user-friendly portals that connect with your data in the cloud. You don’t have to choose between customization and secure cloud storage. An IT firm will offer you all of the benefits of these SharePoint versions without any of the drawbacks.

    If you want advice on transitioning to SharePoint 2019, contact Tek Leaders today. We offer a free business intelligence audit. If you have more questions about the cloud storage and dashboard services we offer, you can reach us by email directly.

    Author: Shashank Reddy Tummala.

    Shashank is the COO of Tek Leaders inc.He helps SMB’s to achieve their goals in their journey of Digital Transformation.

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