Analytics involves tools and methods in which to review, analyse and present data – either for a specific opportunity that is being priced or for a portfolio/business-wide assessment of profitability, for example.

Dashboards may be manual Microsoft Excel spreadsheet evaluations specific to a way that information should be presented (for reasons of simplicity and continuity when reviewing a number of separate items). Alternatively Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) software may be considered in place of Excel; COTS software does involve additional costs as well as upkeep and the need for specialist staff training.

The key to both analytics and dashboards is for them to be fit-for-purpose: being kept simple and useful for their audience so that knowledge can be gained (actionable intelligence) and key decisions can be made on an informed basis. With this in mind, it is not always necessary to spend money on COTS solutions since Microsoft Excel can deliver all that is needed: software that is readily available and known-of in the vast majority of modern offices.