One of the first lessons we have learned while figuring out what makes a good business planning application was: the more data you accumulate, the more important it is to have an easy way to display it properly. Therefore, we have decided to create the Dashboard and Reports sections in Farseer. Those sections contain panels where users can add highly customizable widgets to display their business data. Currently, Farseer offers two types of widgets: KPI tables and charts.
In this post, we will review some examples of displaying business data in charts.
For that purpose, we have created a simple model of SaaS company. We will use that model here to demonstrate how visual presentation can contribute to easier business planning and give you more insight into your business data.
Let’s say our company runs a subscription based project management application called Tasked. We offer three different pricing plans to our customers:
– Basic (10$ per month)
– Pro (50$ per month)
– Enterprise (100$ per month)
1. Total number of subscriptions
Let’s start with something simple: showing how much the actual number of new subscriptions for the current year differs from our planned number. To do that, we will simply display the number of planned and actual subscriptions by month for each pricing plan:
Needless to say, values in this chart were derived from the data we have earlier entered into the corresponding Flow manager tables. So, all we needed to do here is select an existing flow/cluster for each chart component (or write an expression if we wanted more complex calculations, as you will see in some of the next examples). Also, if we make any changes in related Flow manager tables, the chart will be automatically updated.
2. Planned vs. actual revenue
The difference between planned and actual revenue can also be shown quite easily. To make the difference visually stand out, we have put the planned revenue in the background as a stacked area, and the actual revenue in the foreground as a stacked bar. The data in this example is displayed by quarters, but you also have the option to show it in monthly, half-yearly and yearly intervals.
Stacked components are made by grouping chart components in the Chart Editor:
3. The relation between marketing and revenue growth
Our next example shows revenue as a stacked area in the background and marketing costs as a line in the foreground.
Visualizations like this can be helpful when we are trying to evaluate how our marketing efforts impact the number of sales, or parts of the year when the demand for our services is highest so that we can enhance our marketing effort and make ourselves more visible to potential customers, etc.
4. Which delay costs us the most?
The Chart Editor lets us use the full power of calculated expressions on any flow or cluster we wish to visualize. For example, this can come in handy if we would like to simulate a delay of our sales goals.
In the next figure, we can see how would a six-month delay impact each of our pricing plans, and which delay costs us the most.
We see that looking at only the first three months, delaying the Enterprise sales seems to accumulate the biggest loss, but in the long run, the delays of Pro sales cost our company the most.
5. Chart export
In case you want to send a chart to someone or include it in your PowerPoint presentation, you can easily export it. Farseer offers the possibility to print any chart (or save it in PDF format) and to export it as a PNG, JPEG and SVG image.
6. Chart interactivity and editing
Moving the mouse over a segment of the chart will activate a popover window showing exact values for that period. To edit chart settings (e.g. if you wish to change the time period), click on the icon in the upper right corner as shown in the animation below.
These simple examples are just a small subset of what you can do with Farseer’s charts. If you are interested in finding out more, request your free trial here.