Reports vs. Dashboards: Is One Better Than The Other?

Email Reports vs Dashboards? As a company that builds both Dashboards and email Reports, we’re often asked whether a Dashboard is better than and emailed Report and vice versa. So today, we’ll break down what determines the better option for you. We will discuss:

Your Data

When it comes to the supervision of data, at MethodData we firmly stand by one of our favorite catchphrases: “it’s your data and you should be able to do what you want with it.”  Transforming that data into Reports helps you make the best use of your data to make smarter marketing and sales decisions, and do countless other activities in the interest of advancing your business. Not only does it help you make the correct decisions, but helps you make highly informed decisions.

With that axiom in mind, your Reporting has to be accurate and comprehensive. You have to be view it in context and with a purpose. It has to be easy to understand and current. And the best way to produce trained data and projections, is through the use of historical data, which is great to use in comparison to current data.  However, that’s a lot to ask from systems churning out unprocessed data: essentially 1s and 0s.

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” 

Albert Einstein

Once you’ve checked the foundational boxes regarding data source and whether it is usable, it’s time to answer more interesting questions:

  • How do you want to view the data?
  • When and how often do you want to view it?
  • How much data do you want to see at once?
  • Do you want to compare it to historical data?

Although it may seem like a simple set of tasks at first glimpse, working through these questions now will result in time saved and significant efficiency gains later on, which can otherwise become overwhelming. Remember, we are also here to help if you need it. Depending on how you answer the above questions, will determine whether or not you want to use reports, dashboards or even a combination of both.

“You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.”

Daniel Keys Moran

Email Reports

At MethodData, the term “Reports” means the automated generation of emails containing highly enriched and informative data-sets, correlated around a specific period, and condensed into highly informative summaries, relaying critical business intelligence, that arrive in your inbox at the scheduled time of your choosing (repetitively as needed). Sounds convenient right? We agree.

Email Reports are great for static data. Nice and easy to read printable documents that you can be sent to the relevant executives and stakeholders. When you want the same information, received in the same format, repeatedly, then this is the format for you.

MethodData Task Breakdown Report
One of our email reports: The MethodData Task Breakdown Report


Dashboards are similar to Reports, but a better option for those seeking real-time data and with the ability to filter any data you require. By building a Dashboard, you can make it interactive and visually stimulating. It can portray information that gives you a high-level overview of your entire operation, and then, with the simple click of a button, offer you a more in-depth view of your business segment or even a granular representation of core metrics underlying those graphics or summaries. 

Dashboards are also perfect when you need multiple filters and the ability to view data in multiple different ways. For those that love the more active role of data manipulation and the immediacy of differentiated information, with a multitude of graphical representation options, then this is for you.

MethodData Dashboard
One of our MethodData Dashboards

Best Option for You

So when it comes to Reports vs Dashboards, just remember that both options are fully customizable to whatever data you need and want.  That’s why we do custom Reports for HubSpot Users. Every business is unique, and so your reporting should also be. The success of your business relies on intelligence fed by information.  As critically acclaimed authors, Chip and Dan Heath point out: “Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it.” So regardless of which option you choose, we will make sure it is just perfect for your needs.

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