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Data is all around us, and it has changed our lives in many ways: the fast-paced world of business is no exception. Digital data empowers organizations across sectors to improve their processes, initiatives, and innovations using the power of insight. But with so many stats, facts, and figures in today’s hyper-connected age, knowing which information to work with can seem like a minefield.
Enter data dashboards: one of history’s best business intelligence innovations.
To assist you in understanding the business-boosting power of dashboards, we’re going to explore a definitive data dashboard definition, explain the importance of dashboard data, and look at a selection of real-world examples.
To gain a working understanding of the concepts outlined in this guide, we must first start with an official definition:
What Is a Data Dashboard?
A data dashboard is an interactive analysis tool used by businesses to track and monitor the performance of their strategies with quality KPIs. Armed with real-time data, these tools enable companies to extract actionable insights and ensure continuous growth.
They offer users a comprehensive overview of their company’s various internal departments, goals, initiatives, processes, or projects. These are measured through key performance indicators (KPIs), which provide insights that will enable you to foster growth and improvement.
Online dashboards provide immediate navigable access to actionable analysis that has the power to boost your bottom line through continual commercial evolution.
To properly define dashboards, you need to consider the fact that, without the existence of dashboards and dashboard reporting practices, businesses would need to sift through colossal stacks of unstructured information, which is both inefficient and time-consuming. Alternatively, a business would have to "shoot in the dark" concerning its most critical processes, projects, and internal insights, which is far from ideal in today’s world.
To further highlight the pure informational efficiency of modern data dashboards, let’s take a quick glance at the four main types used in today’s business world:
- Operational dashboard: Operational dashboards are designed to monitor trends and pattern changes while helping you work on specific performance benchmarks. These dashboards are responsive, dynamic, and effective for in-the-moment decision-making.
- Analytical dashboard: Analytical dashboards are typically used by senior executives and decision-makers. These types of analytical tools enable users to drill down deep into specific pockets of information and gather a level of intelligence that aids razor-sharp trend discovery from a top-level perspective.
- Strategic dashboard: Strategic dashboards serve up information and visualizations that enable users to discover which initiatives work best and worst. A big data dashboard packed with invaluable metrics, these types of analytical tools help assess KPIs from every angle and, ultimately, formulate business-boosting strategies across departments.
- Informational dashboard: Informational dashboards are usually focused on a very specific process or branch of information and are effective for gaining useful at-a-glance data or short-term strategic decision-making.
Now that you understand a clearly defined dashboard meaning, let’s move on to its primary function: answering critical business questions.
What Is The Purpose Of A Data Dashboard?
As mentioned earlier, a smart data dashboard has the ability to answer a host of business-related questions based on your specific goals, aims, and strategies.
By taking raw data from a number of sources and consolidating it before presenting it in a tailored, customized visual way, data dashboards can enable you to gain a deeper insight into your company’s most valuable information and empower you to find actionable answers to your most burning business questions.
Through linking with specific KPIs that align with your business goals, you can drill down into specific pockets of information, creating benchmarks, and measuring your success on a continual basis.
In doing so, your business will be data-driven, and as a direct result – more successful. To find out more about dashboards and key performance indicators, explore our ever-expanding collection of various business-boosting KPI templates.
Our Top 25 Data Dashboard Examples & Templates
Now it’s time to delve deeper into 25 prime real-world digital dashboards tailored for a host of different sectors and industries.
For a more detailed glance, you can check out 80 or more business dashboard examples suited to an ever wider range of business functions (marketing, sales, finance, management, etc.) and industries (healthcare, retail, logistics, manufacturing, etc.).
For now, let’s explore our personal 25. Prepare to be inspired...
1) Management KPI Dashboard
Our first data dashboard template is a management dashboard. It is a good example of a “higher level” dashboard for a C-level executive. You’ll notice that this example is focused on important management KPIs like:
- Number of new customers compared to targets
- The average revenue per customer
- Customer acquisition cost
- Gross revenue, target revenue, and last year’s revenue
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The example above does a great job of keeping things focused and avoids clutter through the liberal use of white space.
2) Financial KPI Dashboard
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Maintaining your financial health and efficiency is pivotal to the continual growth and evolution of your business. Without keeping your fiscal processes water-tight, your organization will essentially become a leaky tap, draining your budgets dry right under your nose.
As one of our most widely used financial data analytics tools, our financial KPI dashboard will tell you all you need to know about your business’s ongoing fiscal health by offering digestible visualizations of every key financial area of the business.
Here, you can analyze cash conversion cycle efficiency and vendor payment error trends while examining budget variance trends and breaking down existing assets as well as liabilities.
Through careful monitoring of this insightful dashboard, you will gain the power to spot emerging trends, troubleshoot any financial issues before they harm the business, and enhance your supplier relationships.
When you can access your working capital calculations ‘at a glance,’ monitoring your company’s overall financial health on any given day, week, or month will become a swift, simple process, giving you the time and space to develop initiatives to grow the business.
3) Sales Cycle Length Dashboard
This sales dashboard below is a sales manager’s dream. This dashboard example breaks down how long customers are taking to move through your funnel, on average. It expands on this by showing how different sales managers are performing compared to others.
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Finally, the sales data dashboard gives your information a more nitty-gritty context by breaking down these sales KPIs into how many people are at each stage of the funnel and how long each stage lasts on average.
4) IT Project Management Dashboard
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In many ways, your IT department is the backbone of your business - it’s what keeps your business operational.
Most IT operatives are overstretched and under pressure, but by working with the right visualizations, you can give your department the tools to become smarter, more efficient, and more impactful.
Our IT project management dashboard offers a wealth of at-a-glance insights geared towards reducing project turnaround times while enhancing efficiency in key areas, including total tickets vs. open tickets, projects delivered on budget, and average handling times.
All KPIs complement each other, shedding light on real-time workloads, overdue tasks, budgetary trends, upcoming deadlines, and more. This perfectly balanced mix of metrics will assist everyone within your IT department to balance their personal workloads while gaining the insight required to put strategic enhancements into action and deliver projects with consistent success.
By consolidating every key piece of information in a central place, every member of your IT team can get on the same page, working cohesively to resolve emerging issues with maximum efficiency while helping others to tackle the various stages of every vital IT project with complete confidence.
5) Procurement Data Analytics Dashboard
Procurement is a strategic function that connects the needs of a company with contractors, suppliers, freelancers, or agencies, e.g., serves as a critical component that requires up-to-date information, easy monitoring processes, and advanced automation capabilities that will optimize the procurement department and save countless working hours.
It's imperative to track the supplier management processes in the most efficient way, otherwise, companies risk losing precious information and face difficulties in short-term as well as long-term business operations. That's why a procurement dashboard helps professionals easily understand large volumes of data and extract meaningful insights within minutes.
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This example focuses on supplier delivery management and stats about the performance. At the top, we can see a quick overview of the defect rate, on-time supplies, supplier availability, and lead time in days. The defect rate should be as low as possible, as this is one of the procurement KPIs that measures how many products are not compliant with product specifications but don't meet quality standards. After all, the final quality of the product is an essential indicator of the suppliers' reliability since higher amounts of defects would mean more bottlenecks in the entire process.
The details of each supplier's defect rate and defect type are visualized on the bottom left, where you can see how well the top 6 suppliers have been performing. Supplier number 1 is considered the most reliable since the defect rate is quite low and the type of defect has no impact on the product so there could be issues in delivery processes or payments.
You can also compare the delivery time between different suppliers and take a look if there are additional possibilities to negotiate faster deliveries. In this case, you can see that supplier number 4 has never been late, although it has fewer early deliveries in comparison to supplier numbers 1 and 2.
With the assistance of detailed monitoring processes, each industry professional or manager can build and automate a comprehensive procurement report that will optimize the supplier delivery mechanisms and increase the productivity levels of everyone involved.
6) Web Analysis Dashboard
If you use digital marketing heavily in your business, this marketing dashboard below will soon become your best friend. Focused on web analytics, this example will provide you with substantial visualizations that you can dig deeper into and examine all web-related marketing data.
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This marketing data dashboard template gives you a number of useful marketing KPIs at a glance, giving you the answers to questions like:
- How many people are visiting your website?
- How many pages are they looking at?
- How long are they staying?
- How many people are converting?
This example goes even further by breaking down your top converting channels, campaigns, and pages, and showing how much of your traffic is coming from each channel.
This kind of information makes it really easy to know where you should prioritize your time and energy.
7) Human Resources Talent Dashboard
HR is becoming more data-driven and modern software solutions have entered the human resources realm in order to ensure recruiting and talent management operations are more effective and focused on unbiased quality. Especially today, when attracting and keeping the right talent has become a difficult challenge for companies that are faced with scarce talent, and a high level of competition, particularly in the IT industry. In fact, 43% of human resources professionals say they struggle with the hiring process because of competition from other employers. Even when they hire the right candidate, there is often a scenario where talents leave because of low satisfaction levels or a better offer from the competition.
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A modern HR dashboard, focused on talent management, as we can see above, helps professionals in identifying issues and potential negative impacts on the business by analyzing important metrics focused on talents. For example, the talent turnover rate is an HR KPI that will show you which department has difficulties in retaining top talent. In our example above, you can see that the financial department deals with the highest voluntary turnover so it might make sense to examine why.
The talent satisfaction is expressed through the net promoter score (NPS) and it's evident that the highest satisfaction is achieved after a 5-year employment period, although the first year is also very near result-wise.
The talent rating is expressed by the employment period and category. It's critical to conduct regular feedback and meetings in order to develop communication as well as talent capabilities. If there is a particular lack of skills present in the assessment process, it would be wise to invest in employees and provide additional educational opportunities. That way, the company can profit, too.
You can also take a look at a quick overview of the hiring stats that include the time to fill, training costs, new hires, and cost per hire. The total number of employees and monthly salary, as well as vacancies, will provide you with an at-a-glance overview of the talent management stats within the first quarter of the year.
This dashboard description includes all-important information essential to developing a modern HR report for professionals, managers, and VPs that need to compete to attract the best possible candidates and keep them in the long run.
One of our next database dashboard examples shows processes in the manufacturing industry.
8) Manufacturing Production Dashboard
If your company is in the manufacturing business, a production dashboard will prove invaluable, as seen in this example:
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With manufacturing KPIs for your total production volume, your sales revenue, your units ordered, and your top-performing machines, you have your finger on the pulse of your factory.
Finally, the refunded items by reason graph serve as an “early warning sign” for manufacturing defects.
9) Marketing Performance Dashboard
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A data analytics dashboard packed with insight, this marketing-centric innovation is an effective way of ensuring a consistently healthy return on investment (ROI).
To maximize the value of your promotional campaigns and initiatives, engaging your audience through the right touchpoints, channels, and mediums at exactly the right times is vital. If you fail to do so, you’re merely marketing to the void and throwing your budget into the abyss.
Our digital marketing report example provides a panoramic breakdown of your campaigns’ performance by allowing you to drill down into essential metrics, including click-through rates (CTR), cost per click (CPC), and cost per acquisition (CPA).
By analyzing these insightful KPIs and comparing the performance of various campaigns from a central location, you can pinpoint any inefficiencies while capitalizing on your marketing strengths. This deep level of visual insight will assist you in understanding how your customers engage with your marketing materials while guiding you toward the content and strategies that earn the best results. And when you do that, you will see a significant boost in revenue as well as audience growth.
10) Logistics Transportation Dashboard
This particular dashboard shows how big data and analytics can impact the logistics industry. When it comes to logistics, every moment matters, and you want as many deliveries as possible to be on time.
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This logistics dashboard helps to adjust the fleet performance and overall transportation performance since the delivery status, fleet efficiency, average loading time, and other logistics KPIs will enable you to generate actionable insights, examine various details, and identify trends in your transportation management processes.
11) Cash Management Dashboard
Naturally, your cash flow is integral to the ongoing health of your business. By managing your income, expenditure, liquidity, and financial relationships effectively, you’ll be able to meet your monetary targets, gain greater access to credit, and ensure your business is fortified against any unforeseen circumstances.
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This dynamic financial dashboard features all of the functions and KPIs to keep every element of your finances afloat, helping you to optimize your financial activity for ongoing growth and success. An essential data dashboard-type for organizations across industries.
12) Customer Support KPI Dashboard
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Niche or sector aside, offering your clients or customers an exceptional level of customer support is no longer an added luxury - it’s essential. No exceptions. No compromises. Without providing a valuable personal customer experience, your business will suffer. And harnessing the right data is the most effective way to avoid falling behind your competitors.
Our dynamic customer service dashboard serves up a perfect storm of visual information that helps everyone in a consumer-facing role (from support agents and team leaders to senior managers, VPs, and beyond) perform their role better.
With KPIs including service level, support costs vs. revenue, and customer satisfaction rates all on the menu, this well-rounded data analytics dashboard provides every metric required to reduce service costs, monitor support trends, and tackle any glaring customer-facing issues head-on.
By tracking this KPI dashboard regularly, you will reduce the time your agents take to solve service issues, streamline your departmental processes, and ultimately meet the needs of your customers with confidence and consistency. In turn, you will boost your brand reputation, increase your revenue, and improve customer loyalty - three key ingredients of commercial success.
13) Retail Data Dashboard Example
What dashboards in the retail industry provide is, in short, an indispensable means of reporting and centralizing massive volumes of information. No matter the size of a company, a retail dashboard specifically designed for online retailers, has immense importance in optimizing online processes and providing a centralized point of access for all retail-related data.
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Achieving success in online retail highly depends on data collection, management, monitoring, and optimizing processes in order to increase productivity and, consequently, revenue. Moreover, customers are more informed and demanding than ever before, and that's why having all the information in a central place is critical. That will enable you to act swiftly and ensure high levels of customer satisfaction.
The sample starts with the return reasons, one of the most important retail KPIs that are closely connected with the rate of return and affect the quality assessment. The perfect order rate and the number of total orders dig deeper into the stats over a longer period of time. That way, you can adjust your retail analytics strategies more carefully and increase your efficiency.
Top sellers by orders will tell you if you need to adjust your offers or invest more into marketing the best-performing pieces in your inventory.
14) Salesforce Data Dashboard
In today's competitive environment, Salesforce is one of the tools critical for managing and optimizing customer relationship processes. With the assistance of a professional Salesforce dashboard, monitoring and optimizing the sales lifecycle, connecting with other sources, and automating the reporting processes are done quicker than ever before.
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Cold calling is still an effective strategy to gain new customers, and the outbound calls dashboard helps to determine whether the team is doing a great job or it needs additional help or develops a more productive sales environment. The dashboard shows an overview of the number of outbound calls, demos, contracts closed as well as the contract value. On the right side, you can see an outline of 5 agents and their performance in the last month which can help you in creating detailed salesforce reports and optimize further.
At the bottom, you can see the calls and contact rate per weekday and notice how the mid-week contact rate rises. That way, you can adjust your future planning and cold-calling operations more effectively.
15) Hospital KPI Dashboard
Hospitals are the beating heart of the health sector – without them, where would we be? With so much activity to analyze and so many resources to consider, implementing healthcare analytics software that includes data dashboard technology in hospitals is essential in this day and age.
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Covering treatment costs, financial efficiency, and various critical aspects of patient care, this hospital dashboard plays a pivotal part in ironing out any operational efficiencies on a daily basis. Moreover, with the insights gained from this dashboard, hospitals stand to increase mortality rates, invest more wisely, and ensure cohesive communication throughout the institution.
16) Employee Performance Dashboard
It doesn't matter what you sell or offer – if your employees aren’t happy, motivated, and performing to the best of their abilities, your entire organization will suffer. That's why we're bringing you another HR-focused example created with professional HR analytics software.
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A comprehensive staff-centric innovation, the employee performance dashboard drills down into every major aspect of personnel management, from absenteeism rates and overtime hours to productivity levels and training costs. The information here helps offer support and motivation where needed, boosting staff engagement, and improving your management strategies.
17) Energy Management Dashboard
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Many businesses overlook the financial impact of powering their everyday operations. But the average business uses between 100 and 150 kWh every year. And for organizations with multiple sites or branches, this figure is likely to at least quadruple.
Driving down your energy consumption will not only save you a significant level of annual costs, but it will also turn your business greener and more sustainable.
An invaluable dashboard for any scaling business, our energy management platform offers a clearcut visualization of your energy sources and consumption while allowing you to compare your usage to other sectors.
Our energy dashboard also displays visual data and trends based on any power cuts you’ve experienced over a certain period. This insightful dashboard will give you a greater understanding of how your business consumes energy while giving you the insight you need to nip any inefficiencies in the bud. You will save money and keep your operations flowing in the process.
This is an essential data analysis dashboard for cementing sustainable financial growth while consistently eliminating unnecessary wastage.
18) IT Data Analytics Dashboard
In IT, a dashboard means extreme value and it's one of the tools needed to ensure projects are delivered on time, tickets are managed successfully, and costs are under control. Especially for chief technology officers, who need to have an overview of strategic management and lead the technological resources in alignment with business goals and needs.
That said, an IT dashboard that centralizes multiple touchpoints has immense value for leaders and professionals in the IT advancements of a company. Let's take a closer look at how to read our example focused on IT leadership.
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The visual is organized into 4 main sections that modern CTOs need to monitor and evaluate in order to gain and keep positive business development: learning, internal, finance/customers, and users. Let's take a quick look at each.
The learning section is divided into IT KPIs critical for managing tickets and bugs as well as the team's attrition rate. You can immediately spot where issues are concentrated, in this case, the restore success rate has slightly worsened this month in comparison to the last. We can see that the development of other metrics such as reopened tickets is better but also look at critical bugs over a longer timeframe.
The internal part has a bit more issues in metrics such as the mean time to repair, availability, and accuracy of estimates. For the latter, that means that the team didn't estimate their workload correctly, but it would be prudent to examine why and what exactly happened. The other 2 metrics, the mean time between failures and the downtime due to security have shown positive development in comparison to last month. This shows you which parts of your strategy you need to focus on more in order to bring success in every aspect of the technological development and management of a company.
On the bottom part, you can see the financial and customer aspects as well as the development of users through a 12-month period. These aspects are essential in IT analytics in order to reach sustainable development since costs are oftentimes an issue in IT projects as well as support expenses.
To learn more about project management, you can explore our guide on project management dashboards.
19) Content Quality Control Dashboard
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In an increasingly digital world, consumers expect a great deal of value from brands and businesses. To earn consumer loyalty and trust, creating content that not only solves your audience’s pain points but also inspires and engages will push you ahead of the pack.
An informational innovation, our content quality control dashboard offers a detailed breakdown of your article and content creation processes. Here, you can analyze your best-performing content, explore how long each phase of your story creation process takes, and gain an understanding of how easy your content is to read.
By working with every informational aspect of this content-centric dashboard, you will know exactly what types of content engage your audience and earn the best results. As a result, you can tweak and enhance your content marketing strategy and article creation processes for ongoing brand awareness, commercial growth, and customer retention growth.
Content is one of the most vital components of any business strategy. Without knowing what works and what doesn’t, you’re unlikely to ever reach your full potential. In terms of content creation, this dashboard created with a professional media analytics software will help you get where you need to be and beyond.
20) FMCG KPI Dashboard
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Managing your fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) processes with pinpoint accuracy will make your supply chain stronger, smoother, and more efficient than ever before. Conversely, if you allow your FMCG initiatives to dwindle, your supply chain will fall apart, and you will lose money.
Our FMCG dashboard will help you get a firm grip on every fast-moving part of your supply chain, which you probably know is a real challenge.
By using these interactive visualizations to your advantage, you will gain a working insight into how swiftly you’re selling your goods within their freshness date, check FMCG stock levels in real-time, examine your inventory turnover over specific timeframes, and analyze your average time to sell specific categories of items.
With access to every essential FMCG insight in one central location, you will be able to weed out any glaring fast-moving supply chain inefficiencies while managing your stock and fulfillment strategies in a way that consistently saves time and money.
Fast-moving goods need to be handled with care at every stage of the supply chain while being delivered to the right parties at the right time. This highly intuitive tool will help you steer clear of any brand-damaging fulfillment calamities while keeping your supply chain fluent from end to end. In turn, you will see a boost to your business’s bottom line.
21. HR Diversity Dashboard
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As the digital age continues to evolve, data dashboarding opens up a rising number of progressive avenues for businesses looking to propel themselves forward. Our HR analytics dashboard is a testament to that notion.
Diversity in the workplace is no longer an optional add-on or “nice to have”—now, it’s essential. This vibrant dashboard drills into the diversity of your workforce, breaking highly visual pockets of information down into gender, ethnicity, and persons with disabilities.
Here, you can see recruitment and turnover rates over specific timeframes and, ultimately, get an accurate representation of how diverse your company really is. Also, this invaluable data will help you understand how satisfied your employees are in their roles. This is a dashboard that will give you the tools to transform your business for the better, making it a happier, more fulfilling and more equal place to work.
22. Manufacturing OOE Dashboard
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This dynamic informational tool is a piece of data dashboard software that offers a deep dive into your company’s overall operational effectiveness.
Broken down into specific machines, this manufacturing dashboard allows you to gain a panoramic view of your first pass yield, scrap rates, and throughout in one central location. By monitoring this powerful melting pot of metrics regularly, you can track your overall production quality, the capacity of your machinery, and your machine failures with pinpoint accuracy.
By doing so, you’ll be able to make more responsive and accurate decisions that will save you money while boosting output and ensuring your production processes remain at an exceptionally high standard.
23. Pick and Pack Scorecard
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This pick and pack scorecard is logical, easy to navigate, and will give you the power to level up your logistics strategy indefinitely.
This dashboard is split into four definitive segments (financial, effectiveness, utilization, and quality) for a well-rounded overview of your pick and pack activities. Working with each KPI, you can omit any costly or time-consuming processes from your daily strategy while boosting overall productivity.
In addition to boosting efficiency and productivity, this most informative of data analytics dashboard examples will help you monitor if you have enough equipment to reach your goals while providing deep-dive metrics that will improve the accuracy of your picking and packing efforts. This is an essential tool for any scaling business working with large amounts of stock or inventory.
24. Facebook Page Dashboard
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Despite the colossal rise of new social media platforms in recent years, Facebook remains one of the most popular and engaged of them all.
Niche or industry aside, to expand your commercial reach, showcase your brand authority, and connect with new consumers, having a solid social media strategy is essential. That’s where our Facebook dashboard comes in.
This excellent example of a dashboard allows you to optimize every aspect of your company’s Facebook page and profile, gaining the best possible return on investment (ROI) for your social media efforts in the process.
Here, you can understand your follower demographics, track page follows, examine on-page interactions, and discover page view sources from one cohesive nerve center. By working with this perfect storm of metrics, you will understand what kind of content will resonate with your audience the most and reach prospects at the times when they're most likely to engage.
25. YouTube View Performance Dashboard
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Last but certainly not least in our examples rundown, we have our YouTube dashboard for video performance.
Without a doubt, video is today’s consumers’ most engaged form of content. Maximizing the reach and performance of your YouTube content will help you reach droves of highly engaged new fans or customers.
With KPIs based around video views, watch time, engagement, and viewer retention, you have all of the core metrics you need to understand exactly what your video or YouTube viewers want to see. In turn, you will quickly gain an understanding of the tones, themes, and subject matter that will result in the best engagement, boosting your ROI in the process.
The Top 10 Benefits Of Data Dashboards
Now that you have at least a basic understanding of what is a data dashboard and how it can benefit your company, let’s dig deeper into some of its uses.
1. They Are Customizable
One of the biggest advantages data dashboards have over more traditional spreadsheets is that they are almost infinitely customizable and flexible. This makes sense operationally, as the same data is used in very different ways by different people in your company.
For example, let’s say you have all of your sales information from the past quarter in a spreadsheet. While you can dig through the spreadsheet for details, you have to look at all the information at once. This can affect your ability to focus. But using an effective sales report created with a dashboard, you could easily have one layout optimized for a specific sales representative, showing their:
- Deal closing rates
- Average order size
- Lifetime value (LTV) of customers closed
A sales manager might see each of these data sets for each of their sales reps, and a C-level executive won’t see any of this. They’ll see averages of LTV, order sizes, and overall closing rates, along with other “bigger picture data.”
2. They Are Interactive
Let’s say our sales executive wanted to dig deeper into the data around a promising new hire. If she was using dashboard software, she could simply tap a few buttons on her dashboard and get to a view similar to that of the sales manager. Conversely, if the sales manager (or even the rep) wanted to understand how their job role fits into the company as a whole, they could “zoom-out” as needed. This kind of “focus adjustment” just isn’t possible with spreadsheets.
When presenting data and communicating metrics, it is important to create a dialogue – no one likes being preached throughout a whole presentation. Letting your audience be part of it thanks to interactive dashboard features will convey your message more efficiently. By using real-time data and manipulating it live, encouraging your listeners to ask questions and drill down the information by themselves, explore on their own, they will be much more engaged in the discussion. The interactivity is especially interesting in dashboarding with a diverse audience: newcomers are onboarded easily while experts can dig deeper into the data for more intel.
3. They Allow For Real-Time Monitoring
The business world changes quickly.
If you’re still running analytical reports by sending them to your IT department and then waiting to get them back, your company is missing out on situations where agility wins. If you have to wait days or weeks to get data on a situation, it might be too late to make necessary changes.
For example, with real-time monitoring, you can see how a phone outreach campaign is going for a big product launch you have coming up. If a week into the campaign, you notice that you’re not getting any results via your dashboard, you can do a quick intervention and switch to digital ads, direct mail, or some other strategy.
You’re saving yourself a big opportunity cost here.
4. All Of Your Data Is In One Place
When you use dashboards, you have one centralized location where all of your users can access your data.
This is in contrast to a myriad of spreadsheets, software, and databases that represent the legacy approach. While all of your PPC data is on Facebook, all of your customer data is in your CRM software, and your income/loss statements are in your mainframe (which is running on the 1980s software and requires an IT staff member to operate). Not pretty.
Instead, with 24/7/365 dashboard solutions like datapine, if someone wants to make a data-driven decision or presentation at the next staff meeting, all they have to do is pull out their tablet.
5. They Are Intuitive
Let’s be honest – most human beings find it easier to understand a graph than a long, tedious Excel spreadsheet full of numbers. Dashboards allow you to “tease out” patterns in your data that you might not see in a purely numerical format.
Additionally, people have different levels of “tech-savvy.” Some users may find even an Excel document to be quite difficult to work with. Dashboards make everything accessible.
6. They Get Everyone On The Same Page
In order to have a dashboard culture, everyone on your team needs to be on board. That can’t happen if some employees don’t have the same access to data that other employees do, whether due to technical comfort levels or simply due to data being spread out.
When everyone on your team is looking at the same set of numbers, they can understand the team’s mission in a much more tangible way. You can point to sales numbers and really connect them with future goals and projections.
This kind of connection is priceless.
7. They Force You To Focus
Perhaps the biggest reason to use dashboards for understanding your data is that they force you to focus.
One of the key points to remember when creating a stunning dashboard is that you shouldn’t overwhelm it with too many KPIs. From a visual and aesthetic perspective, things get cluttered if you put too much on the screen. From an effectiveness standpoint, your mind starts to wonder what’s important.
Therefore, if you’re using dashboards the right way, your brain always knows what KPIs are important – the ones on the screen. You can even make more important KPIs bigger, further reinforcing their status in your mind.
As Tony Robbins says, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” In other words, you take action on what you focus on. Dashboards facilitate focusing on what’s truly important.
8. They Help You To Multitask
Multitasking is a useful skill, but in business, trying to absorb too much information or tackle too many tasks at once can prove to be detrimental, with projects becoming convoluted and mistakes being made.
However, when it comes to data analytics, a modern dashboard consolidates all critical information from various data sources through data connectors and presents them in a dynamic visual format. By being able to view a multitude of organized, visually digestible information in one central space, you can quickly extract several pieces of information at once, empowering you to complete projects swiftly with a greater level of success and accuracy.
9. They Are Predictive
Dashboards aren’t psychic, but that can help you predict the direction your business is going based on current trends, metrics, and intelligence. If you don’t like the way particular elements of your business are going, digital dashboards will give you the intelligence you’ll need to consider enhancements that will help cement your future success.
By working with a mix of past insights, real-time data, and detailed patterns, dashboards provide a panoramic overview of specific areas of your business. If you feel something is going to cost you unnecessary investment in the future, you’ll be able to improve your financial strategy; if you see something worth capitalizing on, you can create a campaign or initiative around it.
Moreover, as modern data dashboards securely store everything on the cloud, access to predictive insights is literally 247 - 365 days a year. All you need is a web connection and you can start formulating strategies wherever you are in the world, at any time.
10. They Help You To Tell Stories With Your Data
When it comes to sharing your data with others, prompting any form of progressive action requires others to understand the message you’re trying to convey.
To help other departments within your organization, or external partners, get on board with your data-driven insights, you need to tell a story with your data. An interactive digital dashboard will help you do just that.
Through seamless data visualization, a dashboard can help you create a narrative with the information delivered through your KPIs. In gaining the ability to do so effectively, you’ll be able to work more cohesively towards your goals and accelerate the success of your business exponentially.
5 Common Mistakes Of Data Dashboarding
Now that we’ve looked at a selection of inspiring templates and a list of benefits, let’s look at what you should avoid during the dashboard generation process to ensure a successful analysis process.
1. Using too many visuals
When it comes to effective dashboarding, being as focused as possible on your information is the name of the game–your visuals are no exception.
Using too many visuals will result in crowded and difficult-to-navigate dashboard designs. As a result, extracting important information will become difficult and confusing.
To ensure your dashboard is optimized for the best possible user experience and delivers the best results, you should only include visuals that are completely essential to your specific needs or goals. As a general rule of thumb, around six visuals are the maximum you should use per dashboard to keep it balanced.
2. Using complex language
Another common data dashboard mistake that can derail your analytical efforts is using jargon or complex technical language.
One of the key benefits of a data dashboard is the fact that they create a level of accessibility when it comes to getting maximum value from your data. As such, everyone in your organization should be able to use these powerful business tools to their advantage.
That said, when building or customizing your dashboards, you should use plain language and explain data concepts in the simplest, most succinct way possible. When looking at your language, considering the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) model will help guide your efforts.
3. Not following design best practices
To ensure your dashboard is completely practical and fit for purpose, following best design practices is essential. If you don’t, it’s likely that your creations will be clunky, abrasive to the eye, and waste more time than they save.
To help you stay on track, here are some basic design principles you should follow:
- Always provide context
- Tell a story with your data
- Be consistent with your labeling
- Use interactive features
- Round off your numbers
- Be simple and straightforward
- Ensure your colors are cohesive and consistent
For a more detailed rundown of these design principles and more, read our full guide to dashboard design best practices.
4. Focusing only on current performance
If your dashboards only focus on current performance, they will only reveal a small slither of the overall informational pie.
To get the most from your data dashboards, you should work with KPIs and visuals that will uncover a balanced mix of historic, present, and predictive data. By doing so, you can connect with trends and patterns that are usually hard to spot, formulating strategies that will boost your business success or prevent potential issues from causing you company-wide problems in the process. The key takeaway here is: always work with data that will show you the bigger picture.
5. Making them static
When it comes to data dashboarding, static Excel spreadsheets are a thing of the past. With modern dashboarding tools, you have the power to interact with your data and drill down deep to extract process insights.
So, when working with data-style dashboards, you should always ensure that you include dynamic elements like interactive filters and drill-down functionality.
Ensuring your dashboard is dynamic rather than static will give you continual access to a level of intelligence that will make your business as cohesive, collaborative, creative, forward-thinking, and internally efficient as possible. And when that happens, your company will thrive.
We’ll now discuss the primary features or benefits of BI-powered dashboards and take a glimpse at legacy solutions.
How Data Dashboards Are Used In BI
Now that we’ve asked the question, ‘what is a dashboard?’ and looked at the primary functions of these powerful tools, let’s examine them in a business intelligence context.
When it comes to business intelligence, data dashboards play a pivotal role.
Business intelligence (BI) is a term that relates to the applications, infrastructure, practices, and tools that empower businesses to access a broad range of analytical data for improvement, campaign optimization, and enhanced decision-making that maximizes performance.
A data dashboard is the vessel – or tool – that materializes BI practices, converting, visualizing, and communicating complex business data into meaningful, actionable insights.
BI dashboard tools bestow business users with the ability to drill down even deeper into analytical data to capitalize on strengths, spot weaknesses, and make changes that will benefit the future of their organization.
Digital dashboards have essentially quashed the necessity to sift through multiple reporting tools; instead, they access dynamic insights – often in real-time. With such dashboards, users can also customize settings, functionality, and KPIs to optimize their dashboards to suit their specific needs.
To summarize, in the context of BI, data dashboards are used for:
- Deep-level insight: Drilling down deeper into key aspects of your business’s daily, weekly, and monthly operations to create initiatives for increased efficiency.
- Information sharing: To facilitate the online data visualization of your most valuable data so that you can share key insights with other stakeholders both internally and outside the organization.
- Performance measurement: By working with interactive KPI dashboards, you can set specific business tasks, measuring your performance while working towards clearly defined milestones for enhanced business success.
- Forecasting: As dashboards are equipped with predictive analytics, it’s possible to spot trends and patterns that will help you develop initiatives and make preparations for future business success.
A data dashboard assists in 3 key business elements: strategy, planning, and analytics. As we have expounded on the data dashboard definition, showed you real-life scenarios, now we will focus on legacy data solutions.
Legacy Data Solutions
Before dashboards, it was much harder to get an intuitive grasp of your company’s performance through data-driven intelligence.
Because a huge amount of data existed in a company’s mainframe computer (particularly data related to profits, costs, revenue, etc.), you would often need IT professionals to prepare data reports for you.
Why? Well, many of these mainframe computers are still running legacy software designed in the 1970s or 1980s. These innovations offer no swipe-able screens or easy-to-use interfaces.
These are more “command line” types of machines, and other issues include:
- The time delay associated with requesting reports
- Data is spread out amongst many databases
- Lack of different data visualization types
Due to all of these problems, dashboards were developed. They help businesses answer the question “How can we use all the data we have about our company and our customers in order to make better informed, data-driven decisions that lead to more revenue and profits?”
Behind the scenes, with the help of a dashboard builder, you can integrate all of the information you need from all of the different data sources your company has. However, what you (the end-user) see are simple tables, charts, and graphs – all in real-time.
Ready To Get Started With Data?
We’ve asked the question, ‘What is a data dashboard?’ by looking at an official dashboard definition and delved deep into the dynamics of data dashboard software, and one thing’s for sure: if you work with your business’s insights the right way, you will propel your business to new heights.
Now that you understand the unrivaled power of data dashboards, we’re sure you’re keen to get started. The good news is, harassing the power of data dashboards is a few clicks away. datapine’s innovative dashboards are intuitive, interactive, and completely customizable, displaying all of your most critical data in real-time in one easy-access location.
To find out more about what dashboards can do for you, sign up for a 14-day trial, completely free!