The use of Dashboarding software use in the Parks and Recreation field has risen sharply over the last several years. If you aren’t familiar with dashboarding software, it is software that can present numerous data points at once in a single display. You can think of it as being similar to the dashboard in a vehicle, which displays such important points as the speed at which the car is traveling, how much gas is in the tank and so forth. In the Parks and Recreation field, dashboarding software can be particularly helpful. However, it also has potential pitfalls. Let's examine those benefits and limitations in greater detail.
Dashboard Software Makes Real-Time Data Assessment Easier
In the Parks and Recreation field, you’ll most likely have to be aware of multiple types of data. For example, you might need to track such data as:
- When routine maintenance was performed on equipment or sections of property.
- When equipment was purchased.
- When unscheduled repairs were done on certain equipment.
- When certain inventory was purchased or needs to be purchased.
- How often certain equipment tends to break down.
- How many hours it takes to maintain equipment or sections of a property.
Those data points and more may already be available to you. However, you might be required to dig through various software programs or reports to view each of them. Use of dashboarding software allows you to display all of your data in one place. Such software also allows you to view and analyze changes in data immediately as those changes occur. When you can view those changes as they happen instead of minutes, hours, or even days after the fact, you can make more efficient adjustments to your maintenance procedures.
Dashboard Software Encourages Better Decisions
Sometimes looking at one or two types of data at a time may lead you down a certain decision making path. However, having more data in front of you might indicate a completely different response is necessary. Looking at the purchase date of a vehicle, for example, does not provide the same level of detail as also looking at its maintenance and repair histories. Using dashboard software to make better decisions about purchases, maintenance procedures, and equipment replacement allows you to save a lot of time and money. You can also use clearly visible data to identify current trends and predict future trends more accurately. Thus, you can develop schedules of when certain procedures need to be performed again or when equipment needs to be replaced.
Dashboard Software is Only as Good as the Data Provided
Most of the limitations of dashboard software can be boiled down to the old computer data concept of “garbage in, garbage out.” In computer data terms, that simply means you have to start with accurate data in order to come to accurate conclusions. Therefore, to maintain the integrity of your Parks and Recreation maintenance practices, you must make sure any computer software you use can easily export data to your dashboard software. You also need the capability to use the dashboard software easily and make adjustments to the data, as needed.
In closing, while you may find gathering the appropriate data challenging, in the long term it can provide you with insight into your agency which might otherwise be very difficult or not even possible without software.