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The importance of real-time data in business decision making is becoming more important for organizations of all sizes.

Our recent Best Practices in Data Management Guide by Chris O'Hara includes techniques for getting unique, actionable audience insights, however it is intended mainly for large business and Enterprise.

A new startup, Geckoboard, aims to bring real-time data intelligence to the lean business camp.

We interviewed the founder Paul Joyce for more info. 

In one sentence, what is Geckoboard?

Geckoboard is a tool that makes it easy for businesses to visualise key metrics from a variety of sources on one dashboard.

What problem(s) does Geckoboard solve?

Communication. Lots of business want to make better decisions using data but the data is fragmented and dispersed across different applications. In order to see their key metrics business resort to collecting the data by hand and distributing it via email with Excel spreadsheets or Powerpoint presentations.

If anyone reads the updates the data is stale. Geckoboard take the drudgery out of the process by connecting directly to the source of data and displaying it on a dashboard designed for readability at a glance.

These dashboards are often displayed on large screens so that everyone can understand the performance of the company or department quickly and without fuss. One of the biggest benefits of communicating data in this way, particularly if the metrics are chosen wisely, is that it fosters a culture of data throughout the organisation and allows everyone to feel like they're working toward a common goal. It also allows problems and opportunities to be spotted early so maximising the chance of a positive outcome.

What are your immediate goals?

Our priority is making improvements to the product based on customer feedback. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to see your data on Geckoboard no matter where it sits. We're also on a mission to help businesses make the right decisions when it comes to selecting the metrics they want to concentrate on.

The vast majority of business understand the value of being data informed throughout the organisation but most struggle to get started. We see it as part of our role to help in that process so that our customer can become really successful at selecting and communicating data.

What were the biggest challenges involved in building Geckoboard?

The biggest challenge is how to connect and extract data from such a wide variety of source while still making the product easy to use. In September 2012 we released the Geckoboard Widget Editor on the back of demand from other software companies whose customers wanted to see a Geckoboard integration.

This shifted the requirement away from having to develop the integrations in-house and onto 3rd party developers. This has been a huge success and we now have 3x the number of integrations as we did before it was launched and this number id growing weekly.

How will the company make money?

We're a subscription based SaaS company with plans starting at $19/month we have over 1,500 paying customers from around the world.

Who is in your team?

We're 11 in total. In addition to co-founder Rob Hudson (CTO) we have an engineering team, designer, support, marketer and community manager.

Where would you like to be in one, three and five years’ time?

We have several product milestones about to hit in the coming couple of months that I'm really excited about. After that we continue focus on making Geckoboard as useful to customers as possible., Dashboards/information radiators like Geckoboard are becoming an integral part of running a business but the market is still very young.

If we can make it easy for businesses to improve their culture and make better decisions using well chosen data then we see no reason for this young market to blossom into something huge

Other than Geckoboard, what are your favourite websites / apps / tools?

Right now I'm getting a lot of value from both Mixpanel and Optimizely. Being able to test and measure rapidly is proving hugely beneficial to our business.

Ryan Sommer

Published 14 February, 2013 by Ryan Sommer

Ryan Sommer is web veteran and recovering expat who contributes to Econsultancy on startups, content marketing and new media. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, or add him to your circles on Google+

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