I’ve been looking at a number of online reporting tools this week offered by E-tabs, Kicktag (the Cosmos product) and Data Liberation. Two out of three of them essentially have a full serviced dashboard offer, as well as a self-service option. E-tabs is planning to launch a self-service option later in the year.
As you’d expect, if you pay a company to build a dashboard for you, you will have many more options in terms of look and feel and every aspect of functionality. With either a fully functional dashboard product behind the scenes and people who really know how to use it, or a team of developers, custom dashboards really are just that.
A custom dashboard, however, will often cost £10,000, and the price can go up to £40,000 or more. That means that this kind of tool may only be used on large-scale surveys like global trackers or research programmes that significant numbers of people will be wanting to access.
As for smaller-scale surveys where these costs simply can’t be justified or absorbed, the options are more limited. A lot of work is being done to develop self-serve low price reporting dashboard tools, and always the trade-off is between price and flexibility, particularly with the visual look and feel. Closing, or narrowing, the gap between clientside expectation and supply side technological and cost constraints is definitely an ongoing challenge.
One possible outcome is that the gap between what these things cost and what people are prepared to pay will always limit the move to online reporting. After all, the internet has been around for a while now, and the vast majority of quantitative surveys are not reported online (in the form of an interactive dashboard). I know researchers in the marketing and retail sectors who do not report online at all.
Some of the products do look promising, though, for example a dashboard tool being developed as an integral part of online crosstabbing and charting tool MTab and MTabView promises to offer a lot of flexibility at an affordable price. Kicktag Cosmos and Data Liberation also have some really useful functionality and are continually under development. I would be really happy to see some really neat and clever low price reporting dashboard tool really take off and render the 200-slide PowerPoint report superfluous.