What is a business dashboard?

Business Intelligence Dashboards

Business Dashboards 101

A business dashboard is a visual analytics tool that combines wide-reaching data sources to reveal the health of your business, project, or process. Dashboards can be customized to display metrics and KPIs in whatever way makes the most sense to you, providing insights to propel your decision-making and journey forward.
Data can come from a variety of sources, including text files, databases, web services, and more, all of which can be connected to a dashboard. The dashboard presents this data using tables, graphs, charts, and filters, combining them into an interactive visualization that enables stakeholders to answer diverse questions. The best dashboards are designed with the user in mind and provide clear next steps for taking action.
Business dashboard software includes tools like Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, and QlikSense. Depending on your specific needs, dashboards can be stored on-prem or entirely in the cloud.
Data-driven

Data from across your organization is centralized into one easy-to-use tool.

Informative

Dashboards display the most important facts in an easily digestible, clear format.

Accessible

Dashboards provide a single source of truth, whenever and wherever you need it.

Customizable

Information is displayed using figures, tables, graphs, and charts, all of which can be changed to suit your data and goals.

Current

Information updates in real time, so you never have to worry about seeing last week's data.

Goal-oriented

Whatever your goal, a dashboard can help. Staying on the right path is easy when you have the right information.

Components of a Dashboard No matter where your data comes from, it's displayed on your dashboard using various panels. The content you see on the front of each panel is a result of the questions and parameters configured behind the scenes.

Dashboard charts
Charts

Charts (and graphs and tables) are the graphic representations of data on your dashboard. They can be configured as bar charts, line charts, bubble charts, and more to compare any two characteristics of your data.

Dashboard filters
Filters

Filters enable you to drill down into your data and use questions to examine sub-sections of information. Most importantly, they control what content is displayed elsewhere on your dashboard.

Dashboard KPI's
KPIs

Usually displayed as monetary values or percentages, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are predefined metrics that adjust in real-time, changing color to quickly display performance status. Instead of looking directly at facts and figures, these display the result of a formula or equation.

Dashboard example

Dashboard Structure

Using the types of panels listed above, information can be combined to create a structure for the business dashboard. This structure is always in flux, since it can be changed in response to business needs or additional data types.
Depending on what you want to know from your data, you can adjust the proximity of certain data and its related representation. KPIs can sit near the graphs they're related to, while filters can be placed near the charts they apply to. This can help you understand information quickly and cohesively.

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