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OEM Dashboards: 5 Ways They Make Good Software Better

by Allan Wille, CEO, www.klipfolio.comTuesday, November 17, 2009

You've built a dynamite software product or service, and you know it. But if its purpose is to provide data visibility to front-line personnel in a fast-changing environment, or to automate the reporting of key metrics to management – all with no training required – then it could well be missing one crucial component. 

To find out, ask yourself: Are users eagerly adopting my solution? Can they see the key data they need quickly and easily? Is it fast and a snap to learn, even for occasional users? Does it provide the value needed to differentiate it from the competition, drive new business, and secure renewals? If you answered "no" or "maybe" to any of these, there are at least 5 ways that adding a dashboard to your product can make it perform better, and sell better.

1.  A dashboard differentiates your product for competitive advantage

For starters, yours isn't the only product out there. It might be superior to others in many ways, but that won't necessarily impress the right people.

How does your software address the performance needs of power users? Can it effortlessly report KPIs to senior management? A dashboard that sits on top of your sophisticated solution – that is always there on users' desktops where they can't miss it, that delivers critical and frequently changing information in real time in a way that is easily understood and acted on – could be the differentiator that raises your offering above the level of the competition.

2.  An existing high-quality dashboard solution speeds time to market

Perhaps you've already realized you need a dashboard, and you're contemplating building one. After all, you've got highly skilled – and highly paid – developers at your disposal.

But those developers need to focus on what they're best at. Why not add a dashboard designed and built by people whose main occupation – and preoccupation – is crafting the best KPI dashboards going? By leveraging the work that dedicated dashboard-obsessed developers have devoted to their craft, you'll get a better product to market faster and cheaper. And you'll get more value out of your own people by keeping them focused on what they love most and do best.

3.  Killer features mean added value

Nothing impresses some buyers like an extensive list of features. Right or wrong, it can become a numbers game, with competing solutions striving to produce longer lists.

But certain features really do add value. A dashboard that makes your product's output visible right on users' desktops, so they don't have to go looking for it, is one of them. And it's one you can easily – and impressively – highlight during sales demos. It adds obvious value that is recognized immediately by potential customers. It's something no features list should be without.

4.  Out of sight means out of mind – Dashboards drive adoption

Far too much software fails to deliver the performance and productivity improvements it promises because users can't or won't use it.

Dashboards – especially those that sit on the desktop, that are always visible and clearly understood, and that are easy and fun to use – are the best way to ensure that people use what IT has acquired for them. Dashboards, quite simply, increase user adoption. And that makes a direct, positive impact on your numbers.

5.  Customers expect dashboards

Dashboards are one of the hottest areas of software development today. Increasingly, customers are coming to expect a dashboard as an integral part of any software solution.

With today's tremendous pressure to perform, and to show measurable results, it's no wonder that dashboards have become a key operational tool. They are what users see and interact with. They show the numbers that matter. They are the interface between person and product. To the user, the dashboard is the product.

OEM Dashboards drive profitability – for you and your customers

Adding a dashboard at the point where product meets people makes a solution easier to use, and the value of your product far more apparent. Leveraging your superior product with a dashboard on the desktop means increased performance and profitability for your customers. And that means happy customers and solid sales for you.

By adding a dashboard built by an experienced data visibility leader – one that integrates seamlessly with your product, bears your brand, and delivers information the way users need it – you add competitive advantage that drives higher sales. It might be the "something more" that makes your product the next "killer app" to hit the market.

About the Author

Allan Wille is CEO of Klipfolio Inc., makers of Klipfolio Dashboard, the KPI Dashboard. Klipfolio's OEM Dashboard Program has helped companies worldwide integrate dashboards into their software to release stronger products faster and more cost-effectively.

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