In the five years that I have been writing blog articles, the most significant change I can find is my thoughts on online dashboards. The filmmaker, Samuel Goldwyn, once said: “Never make predictions – especially about the future”.

Data reporting in market research is starting to change. We are emerging from a 20-year or so period where PowerPoint presentations have dominated into an era where online data visualisation can become the norm.

Online dashboards have come to the market research industry, but they are certainly not the norm for most projects. Market research will be in a better place once the key variables from EVERY market research project can be made available easily and inexpensively to research buyers.

For too long, research agencies have produced tables, counts and percentages from their survey data and then used different methods to put those figures into reports in the forms of tables, charts and other infographics.

The price of producing an online dashboard for market research projects is getting cheaper. This is good news for an industry that needs to deliver data to its customers effectively. But, is it viable for every project?

Market research has adopted technology at varying speeds in its history, often at a different rate to other industries. Why is this? Is it important? CAPI, CAWI, CATI, tabulations, reporting and dashboarding all pose different wants and needs.

There’s more data every year and more information to report and digest. The need for being able to merge data together so that it is in one place is increasing all the time and, arguably, has become a necessity. Users of data frequently complain that they know the information is available but it can take too long to retrieve or utilise.

Custom dashboards have become a popular way to manage data and to share information amongst colleagues, clients, customers or, indeed, any audience. So, what are the 10 most important things to consider before buying an online dashboard?

Online dashboards have been around for around 20 years, but their presence in the marketing and market research industry has only started to come to the fore over the last five years or so. Additionally, only the largest projects were considered suitable for dashboarding, mainly due to timescales and costs, whereas improved technologies have opened the way for most projects to be considered.

In the mid-1990s, PowerPoint suddenly became the way to present market research data. It replaced a variety of clumsy alternatives saving time and money and improving quality. But, little has changed in that time. Until, that is, relatively recently as products such as Dapresy, DataDynamic and MarketSight have come on to the scene..