Want to make smarter decisions in business? Whether you say data (day-tuh) or data (da-tuh), the relevant difference here is the impact it has on decision-making. This post discusses how a business intelligence dashboard can assist you in making data and profit-driven decisions. Brought to you by the award winning UX Design Agency, WANDR studio.
We live in an age of data abundance. How do you navigate this copious supply of information? In this post, we will share with you how to gain important insights from an ample amount of data using a business intelligence dashboard.
A business intelligence dashboard is often used as a visualization tool to showcase important metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). It allows you to make informed decisions quickly without getting lost in the data.
Here is a closer look at why business intelligence is so important and how to set up a dashboard to gather and display relevant data.
What Is a Business Intelligence Dashboard?
A business intelligence (BI) dashboard is a software interface that manages and tracks information from multiple key data points relevant to an enterprise, department, or particular process. In addition to using the same format found in other application dashboards, it also compiles data into a visual interface.
Furthermore, business intelligence dashboards are designed to update the information on the screen in real time. Typically, it will connect to other software being used on your network to pull relevant data from. The BI dashboard will then compile this information and display it using various charts, graphs, and visual elements.
What Are the Benefits of BI Dashboards?
A business intelligence dashboard is a powerful tool for making critical decisions. As it integrates data from across the organization, using this software can have a wide range of benefits:
- Promotes data-driven decision making
- Saves time and energy
- Provides flexible analytics
- Enhances shared insights
Firstly, BI dashboards help businesses make smarter decisions. Organizing significant metrics into a single dashboard provides users with a clear overview. This facilitates a more cohesive and inclusive conversation needed for effective decision-making. Further, not only does the summary of key information make the data easier to digest, it also helps the enterprise identify how each factor influences business activities.
Additionally, using a business intelligence dashboard saves time– our most valuable resource. By collecting data from multiple sources, the BI dashboard reduces the time needed to review important KPIs. Thus, instead of gathering and organizing data themselves, decision-makers can allocate more time to analyze the data compiled into the BI dashboard.
Moreover, BI dashboards provide flexibility, such as allowing users to customize the dashboard to best suit their needs. For instance, the dashboard may allow the user the option of setting certain metrics and KPIs to track. In addition to the variety of other customization features, the BI dashboard may also offer the ability to use the dashboard across all devices.
Lastly, BI dashboards stimulate inclusivity, as all areas of the organization are able to interpret the overview of metrics presented. In other words, use of a business intelligence dashboard promotes greater shared insights. Departments gain access to data from other departments, making it easier for teams to understand the impact of their strategies. For example, an IT department can evaluate metrics from other departments in order to determine the success of a new software implementation.
What Are the Different Types of BI Dashboards?
What features should the dashboard include? Although this question is essential, the more valuable question to ask is which type of dashboard best fits the needs of the organization. One way to do this is to look at the features of the dashboard. Does it have the ability to gather real-time data from multiple sources? Does it have options to customize certain elements? These questions depend on type of dashboard.
Now, what are the different types of business intelligence dashboards? There are three primary categories:
Selecting the right type of dashboard happens when you know the problem you need to solve. Each dashboard type offers valuable insight for specific purposes. Let’s take a closer look.
A strategic business intelligence dashboard often has a wide scope, analyzing the performance of the entire organization over a long period of time. Strategic dashboards are typically designed for high-level executives and provide an overview of the company’s key performance indicators (KPIs).
In addition, strategic dashboards help executives plan effective strategies. The dashboard also offers a clear view of the bigger picture, which allows executives and stakeholders to understand the health of the company.
An operational business intelligence dashboard does what its name implies– it tracks daily operational activities. Businesses use operational dashboards to monitor specific processes for different departments. For instance, an enterprise may use one operational dashboard for the sales department and another, separate dashboard for the finance department or HR team.
The main advantage of using an operational dashboard is the ability to monitor the progress of operations in real-time. Furthermore, managers or supervisors can utilize these dashboards to ensure employees are completing tasks efficiently. Employees are also able to respond to setbacks quickly, since the data is updated in real-time.
Last, but not least, the analytical dashboard reveals trends and patterns in day-to-day activities. Although this sounds similar to operational dashboards, there is a distinction between the two. For example, an operational dashboard may focus on the general metrics that impact day-to-day activities, whereas an analytical dashboard goes deeper into some of those activities, providing thorough insights.
Additionally, analytical dashboards are useful in comparing current metrics against historic ones. Thus, insight provided by an analytical dashboard may assist with developing effective strategies.
One limitation to using an analytical business intelligence dashboard is that, unlike the strategic dashboard, it does not focus on the overall success of the company. Alternatively, it focuses on specific metrics and their influence on certain business processes or KPIs.
Business Dashboard Design Tips and Best Practices
Hopefully, by now, you understand why business intelligence dashboards are vital to the growth and success of a company. The next step is to select a vendor and decide which BI dashboard software is the best fit for your enterprise.
When comparing options, pay close attention to the design. Similar to every software out there, you want your business intelligence dashboards to deliver an optimal user experience to ensure the data is understood across all departments of your business.
Alternatively, if you are considering designing a business intelligence solution from scratch, keep in mind the following design tips and best practices for building an optimal dashboard:
- Obtain input from end users
- Define the purpose of the dashboard
- Tailor the experience to the needs of the user
- Add filters to give users more control
- Assess the accuracy of the data sources
- Avoid adding too much clutter
All businesses have individual goals, strategies, and processes in place. In order to analyze the overall performance of a company, they must have a dashboard that works for them. Whether the dashboard being designed is for stakeholders or a specific department, it is imperative for the designers to work with the users throughout the planning and development stage. Asking for feedback better guarantees you are developing the right type of business intelligence dashboard for the company you are working with.
Next, when working closely with the user, make sure to define the objectives of the dashboard. What does your user want to learn from the dashboard? For example, if the user wants to analyze marketing campaigns, you may consider creating a strategic dashboard with marketing KPIs. Conversely, if the user is looking to monitor the daily performance of different departments, you may develop several operational dashboards.
Once the dashboard enters the development stage, customize features to meet the needs of the user. For example, some users may require simple interfaces with minimal data sets, while others may prefer a highly technical dashboard with a variety of metrics and KPIs.
Another valuable component to consider is adding filters that give users more control over the data. Allowing users to choose different dates, sources, or departments are a few custom filter suggestions.
Furthermore, accuracy is crucial when developing a business intelligence dashboard. Inaccurate information leads to misguided decision-making. Before including data from a new source, verify the accuracy of the data. This may sound like common sense, but we all reminders like this every once in a while. ;)
Lastly, the dashboards should include a variety of elements for displaying the data. You can choose from various types of charts, graphs, histograms, heat maps, and other visual elements to best represent information. It is best to avoid including too many elements or a wide variety of different types of data visualizations.
When designing a business intelligence dashboard, you may need to frequently come back to its’ overall purpose, which is to provide easily digestible information for a company. Ultimately, the goal is to save the company time and energy on analyzing an overwhelming amount of data; thus, you want to direct them to the most significant information.
Last Thoughts on Business Intelligence Dashboards
In summary, a business intelligence dashboard offers quick access to important metrics and KPIs. It streamlines the decision-making process, saves time, and provides valuable insight into business processes and strategies.
Dashboards give businesses the power to make more informed choices. However, the benefits of a business intelligence dashboard heavily relies on the quality of the software.
Like anything else, following the best practices for business intelligence dashboard design is critical. Not only does it help ensure readable and relevant data, but also helps to fit the needs of the user.
Lastly, don’t forget: A dashboard with data that is easily understood is not a quality software without a clean user interface!