Business dashboard is a visual representation of the most crucial information required to achieve the objectives and goals of an organization. In dashboard, the information is arranged and consolidated on a screen where it can be monitored at a glance. It is considered as the business strategy and a practice that most businesses are using as an evaluation tool for their performances.
An effective dashboard enables the users to visually exhibit the current and relevant tasks, projects, accounts performance, management costs and any other information that directly affects the business and its objectives.
Benefits of an Effective Business Dashboard
Some of the benefits of having an efficient dashboard for your business are:
- It helps users to discover, track, measure and track critical data.
- Enables information sharing among various departments in an organization.
- Gives decision-makers real-time data that will assist in evidence-based and well-informed decision-making.
Best Practices for Designing Efficient Business Dashboard
1. Problem identification
You need to get aware what problems are you trying to solve? What are you trying to accomplish using the dashboard? Having the right answers to these questions is crucial. It will help one decide what metrics, data, and key performance indicators the dashboard should monitor.
One needs to be highly selective during metric selection for your dashboard presentation. To avoid being overwhelmed by information and losing the agenda for leveraging the dashboard, ask the hard questions:
- Is the metric helpful in solving my problem or accomplishing my goals?
- Is it necessary?
2. Defining the end user
Ask yourself who will use the dashboard and how they intend to use it. Is the dashboard meant for the managers or the customer service representatives? Will they use mobile devices or desktops? Does the end user have the required technical skills to use the chosen device? Does the end user have the capacity to create individual reports? Will they need IT assistance? Answering these questions will contribute to creating an efficient outcome. Failure to address any other issues raised will affect the dashboard drastically.
3. Matching the context to the user preference
What makes a dashboard valuable in one organization and irrelevant to another one? Here is a classic example; the CEO may want a dashboard that offers a clear overview of the company KPIs while the CFO may need a detailed dashboard that enables him or her to analyze the data with ease.
An effective business dashboard should present data that is relevant to the targeted audience. To improve the adoption rates for the dashboard, it is crucial that the context matched to the user preference.
4. Keep it visual
Dashboards should be easy to use. Dashboards represent the case where pictures are worth a thousand words. The human brain processes information as a single number, therefore, a visualization with chunks of information on a single piece may be difficult for the brain to interpret.
The dashboard display should speed up the understanding process of the people. Some of the tips for creating an easy to understand visualization include:
- Use carrying colors, shapes, lines, degree of shading and thickness
- Use any other tools to leverage the visual perception
- 3D graphic treatments
- Uncommon graph types
- Overly cute widgets
Use the familiar tools such as line and bar graphs that most people would quickly follow.
5. Keep it interactive
Once the dashboard is up, different people will have different perspectives. Though the viewers are on the same page, they have different concerns and questions. It is important to ensure that clients can make deductions from the business dashboard at the first glance.
An effective dashboard should allow the viewers to customize it as they gather the information they require. It should enable the audience to perform basic analytical tasks with little effort. Additionally, the audience needs to get the bigger picture from the dashboard and drill the information to small and manageable chunks of information. To achieve this requirement, multiple views or the use of automated software is highly encouraged.
6. Keep it current
The data, metrics, and information presented on the business dashboard should reflect the current business situation and challenges. It should be data from the current timeline.
Presenting old data is worse than offering no data. Why? It gives a false sense of confidence. It no longer represents the current situation. However, it does not mean that you offer up-to-the-minute information. Even last month’s data may not be applicable. Use the information that is relevant at the time of the presentation.
Besides having the current data, the ability to change and update the metrics represented on the dashboard is equally important.
7. Easy access and use
It is important to ensure that your business dashboard is easily accessible. Dashboards shared on the internet should adhere to the security standards, online privacy and IT protocols. Consider other alternatives such as website posting in case you cannot publish to the web in a manner that is easy to update and maintain.
Have a realistic plan for the creation and the distribution scheme. Conduct a pilot study to test the success rates before rolling out the final plan.
8. Maintain a Feedback system
Elasticity is one aspect that one must not overlook when designing the business dashboard. Ask for feedback from the end users and make the necessary changes. End users are at a better position to identify any flaws in the dashboard design. Make sure the system is interactive and end users can submit their feedback successfully.
Business dashboards are powerful tools if designed and used in the right way. It is the most effective way that businesses can utilize the present information of businesses for easier performance management and effective analytics.
Using paint on a canvas does not necessarily mean that the painting will be beautiful. In the same way, using a business dashboard does not necessarily mean that the outcome will be good for your business. Not to worry; the above eight practices will ensure that your business dashboard is effective. Implement them into your dashboard’s design and rest assured they will work for you.
Most importantly, keep your eyes open for changes in industry trends affecting business dashboards and take your business to success.