Overall Satisfaction with iDashboards
At our institution, the office of Institutional Effectiveness, Research, Planning, & Assessment (IERPA) uses the product to generate business intelligence/strategic planning dashboards which are made available to all employees via the guest user account and to specific employees using the named user licenses. IERPA administers the product and is responsible for creation and maintenance of all dashboards. We have created dashboards that display enrollment, completion, and assessment data for the college.
- iDashboards is one of the most user-friendly products I have used. The learning curve is very short for this software. However, that does not diminish the capabilities of the product in any way. The analytics available are robust for a dashboard software, and with the real-time analytics module dashboard creators can perform calculations in the software itself as opposed to in the data source. Users can create visual displays of data very quickly and there are many options from which to choose.
- The ability to use multiple data sources is a key benefit of this software. We utilize excel files as well as our Oracle database for our current dashboards. The software used ODBC to connect to our database and we can utilize stored procedures or create custom SQL queries to pull and display data.
- The upgrades that are provided (we began with 7.0 and have upgraded through 7.5 and 8.0) have included features that are directly useful for the dashboard creators which I feel speaks highly for the company. I have found the new features very beneficial and they have further reduced the time it takes to create production ready displays.
- In the future, I would like to see iDashboards include the ability to display unstructured data such as text analysis or word/phrase maps/clouds. Also, integration of data from websites would be useful (e.g. from the college's social network sites).
- As an administrator for the product at our campus, I would like to see improved formatting of the administration interface.
- iDashboards has allowed us increased transparency of data to our employees. This allows decisions to be guided by actual data instead of perceptions.
Argos is a report writing tool which also includes the ability to construct dashboards. While Argos does have more robust features relevant to object programming and analytics (e.g. creation of form elements, event specific triggers, and OLAP cubes), it has a steep learning curve. The immediate usability of iDashboards has resulted in a decreased use of the Argos software for many departments at our organization.
Our executive leadership relies on the dashboards provided through the iDashboards software. Thus, there is no doubt the contract will be renewed.
When considering the purchase of iDashboards I suggest you be very clear about your needs because I believe the real-time analytics, reporting features, and real-time alerts features require different licensing levels. The company is very forthright, but it is good practice to clearly state the features and number of named users your organization needs so that appropriate pricing quotes can be given.