We eat our own dog food here, so of course we’ve connected our local Informer instance to our SugarCRM database. We are proud Technology partners with SugarCRM and have learned a great deal lately about their broad user base and use cases for reporting and dashboarding. In turn, we’ve restructured our own internal instance of SugarCRM to do more for us on a daily basis.
We use SugarCRM primarily as a contact, task, and opportunity management platform, so the data it keeps tells an excellent story about the current health of our business (it’s good!). But like every other individual data silo in our company, it only tells part of the story. We need to combine data from SugarCRM with data from Pardot (our marketing automation tool) and our in-house financial suite to get that true broad picture our management likes to see.
So initially we built a relatively complex but still very operational-focused Opportunity report for scheduling, archiving, and live execution.
This works great but it’s difficult to step back from a row and columnar style report to see trends and such. So we set out to develop a dashboard that uses much of the same data, but expresses the results visually. Here are some of the key questions our staff wanted the dashboard to answer:
- What are the Actual vs. Projected Totals from now through the next 12 months overall?
- What are the Actual vs. Projected Totals from now through the next 12 months for one particular account we want to monitor granually?
- Where are our leads coming from?
- How do our Projected Totals compare to our Actual Totals?
- What is our current Stage of Sale broken down by Salesperson?
- What are our Projections by Salesperson, by Quarter and by Month?
- Where are our sales coming from geographically?
- What is the trend for the forecast?
For each of those questions the dashboard designer asked the following:
Where can I retrieve the data needed to answer this question?
How often does the data need to be refreshed?
What is the best visualization to use to convey the answer?
And given that, was off. Like most dashboards, the majority of the time was spent gathering requirements from stakeholders and identifying how and where to get the data needed. The actual construction of the dashboard itself took under an hour with various tweaking for aesthetic purposes.
So we thought it fun to share the result with you but of course don’t want to publish those type details to the world. Pointing to a demonstration SugarCRM database solved that for us, though the data is admittedly not as rich as actual business data. Still gets the idea across though.
And admittedly we put a few extra visualizations in there just for this blog post. Usually a dashboard with more than 7 metrics gets cluttered, but we liked the way this one looked.
If you use SugarCRM as well, let us know and we’ll forward along the package!