Stop Mistaking Reporting, Data Mining & Dashboarding Tools

Dashboarding reporting data mining tool

Back in 2010, there was a strong demand in the dashboard creation industry. Marketers wanted to have a simple software they could easily connect to their Google Analytics account and create nice, user-friendly business dashboards. It’s in this context that DashThis was born.


We quickly received a lot of feedback in the beginning phases of our system development.


“Looks great, but why can’t I drill down my widgets?”


“I love it, though I haven’t figured how to put together my entire keyword list.”


“Awesome, but what about this, and that?”


OK, so maybe we had been getting the wrong signal.


“Oh, I see. What you need isn’t actually a dashboard tool, maybe it’s a PPC reporting tool that you need.” I told my new clients.


“A what? No, no! I want to give my clients a custom Google Analytics dashboard! I want a business intelligence tool.”


We had to find a way to deal with the dashboard vs report vs BI confusion, and come up with a tool that would satisfy these people’s needs in spite of a wrong usage of words. So that’s what we did. However, the confusion between the different fields of analytics still exists, and we believe knowing the difference can actually help a lot when seeking a tool to help you grow your business.

Dashboarding tools

A dashboard is a snapshot of your actual performance. Dashboards help you get the big picture at a glance by showing what’s happening right now, just like your car dashboard does. When driving, what is most useful in the moment is knowing your actual speed, engine temperature, and fuel level. Not the highest speed you reached yesterday, nor predictions about the times you’ll be pulled over in the future (although this could be kinda useful).


In the marketing field, dashboards are used to track your audience’s behavior in real-time. How many visitors are on your site right now? What is your current average time on page? Your dashboard is not a place to add insights and exhaustive comments; it should showcase global information about certain KPIs in order to help you make quick decisions and act fast.

Dashboarding tools pros:

  • They allow you to see your business’ KPIs in real-time.
  • They’re easy for anyone to understand at a glance.

Dashboarding tools cons:

  • They don’t track your data over time.
  • They display limited trend timeframes.

Data mining /BI /big data tools

A data mining, BI, or big data tool is the hardcore analyst’s first stop in Toyland. It’s the data freak’s heaven and the super-geek’s promised land. This kind of tool is like a mechanic who can tell exactly why your car is running weird by looking thoroughly through every part.


For the marketing king and queen, these kind of tools are useful to discover trends, confirm strategies, or track performance down to the finest details. A data mining tool needs to be powerful and allow the slicing and dicing of data at will; it offers countless data manipulation possibilities and lets you extract extremely precise information.


Let’s face it: neither your boss nor your clients wanna have to interact with all this scary data.

Data mining /BI /big data tools pros:

  • They allow for extremely complete analyses.
  • They allow for the testing of an infinite amount of hypotheses and correlations.

Data mining /BI /big data tools cons:

  • They’re expensive.
  • Setting them up is complicated.
  • The end-user won’t necessarily understand them.

Reporting tools

A web reporting tool is used to create, as its name indicates, reports. A report is like your auto dealer: he knows his stuff, he can compare your car to the previous year’s model, he has a good idea of your vehicle’s performance, and can surely guide you through your decision process, but he wouldn’t touch your burning engine to save his life.


Unlike dashboards, reports present data with a historical and contextual view, and unlike data mining /BI /big data tools, they don’t allow for much slicing and dicing. They’ll display your past year’s performance, and also compare it to present-day data. Since this is the piece of paper you hand your boss or client so they can make decisions, it’s the right place to add your insights and valuable expert comments.

Reporting tools pros:

  • They’re simple to use.
  • They track your data back over time.
  • Their reports are easy to share.

Reporting tools cons:

  • They offer limited real-time tracking options.
  • They don’t provide very exhaustive analysis.

Here at DashThis

Here at DashThis, the latter kind of tool is our specialty, and we’re pretty darn good at it. Thus, our software has been created with the ideas of long-term tracking and contextual data viewing in mind.


However, even though there is an important distinction between dashboarding and reporting, we know that nowadays, those two concepts are more often than not linked in people’s minds. This is why our marketing reporting software provides features that are also useful to those looking for a dashboarding tool.


So although our software does cross over both reporting and dashboarding concepts, we leave data slicing and dicing to the data nerds; DashThis is simply not fit for them. There is no one-size-fits-all tool, and here at DashThis, we have chosen to focus on and stay true to intermediate-level marketers who don’t need deep and exhaustive data analysis.


DashThis is a marketing reporting tool, but most importantly, it helps you grow your business. It automates the whole creation of your marketing reports and data dashboards, allowing you to spend more time on creating value for your clients rather than manually copying and pasting data into spreadsheets.


So, how about a 15-day free trial to help you fully grasp how DashThis can change your whole reporting game?

Stéphane Stéphane Guérin

Stéphane has been working on business web projects for more than 15 years. After creating and selling numerous web marketing agencies and web apps, he founded DashThis in 2011. 

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