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Make Sure You Know The Difference Between Strategic, Analytical, Operational And Tactical Dashboards

Dashboard types can help a business to quickly analyze data and provide cost-effective results

The secret is out and has been for a while: In order to remain competitive, businesses of all sizes, from startups to enterprises, need business intelligence (BI) and different types of dashboards.

Business intelligence has evolved into smart solutions that provide effective data management – from extracting, monitoring, analyzing, and deriving actionable insights needed to stay competitive on the market, to powerful visualizations created with a dashboard builder which enables business users to interact with data and drill into bits and pieces of information they might need, at any time, any place.

But what do you do with all this business intelligence? You can have the most robust BI infrastructure in place. However, if the underlying information isn’t easy to access, analyze, or understand, it is pointless. This is where the power of business dashboards comes into play. Dashboards often are the best way to gain insight into an organization and its various departments, operations, and performance. Well-built, focused reports easily serve up summaries and reports of the BI that’s most critical to the organization. Moreover, different types of dashboards will enable you to convey an improved message to your audience, organize your data more effectively, and boost business processes across the board.

That being said, in this post, we will explain what is a dashboard in business, the features of strategic, tactical, operational, and analytical dashboards, and expound on examples that these different types of presentational tools can be used. Let’s get started.

What Is A Dashboard In Business?

A dashboard in business is a tool used to manage all the business information from a single point of access. It helps managers and employees to keep track of the business’s KPIs and utilizes business intelligence to help companies make data-driven decisions.

Let’s take an analogy to explain this notion further: A car dashboard instantaneously identifies and provides feedback regarding the status of the automobile: speed, servicing needs, tire pressure, fuel level, etc. Dashboards in business do the same thing, only much more. Through reporting tools, organizations can quickly identify current and historical progress or outcomes. Organizations can also further utilize the data to define metrics and set goals. By integrating these key performance indicators and goals into their reports, companies can proactively identify issues, minimize costs, and strive to exceed expectations. Of course, it is also important to choose the right KPI.

In recent years, dashboard-style reports have been used and implemented by many different industries, from healthcare, HR, marketing, sales, logistics, or IT, all of which have experienced the importance of data reporting implementation as a way to reduce cost and increase the productivity of their respected business. It doesn’t matter which business you’re coming from or how big your business is, you always want effective results and clear actions to be taken after an issue is discovered.

Let’s explain that with a dashboard example:

Operational dashboard example: sales performance showing metrics such as the number of new customers, average sales revenue, and development over time

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The sales performance dashboard above is a one-stop shop for sales insights. The report provides the perfect overview of the progress of the sales department by focusing on various sales KPIs: sales growth, sales targets, average revenue per unit (ARPU), customer acquisition cost (CAC), and customer lifetime value (CLV).

At a glance, sales managers can see whether or not their team is meeting their individual goals. Managers can also see if the team as a whole is reaching its goals. The value this brings to the business is significant. Once companies gain regular insights into their KPIs, they see deeper into their data and generate actionable insight.

This type of analysis is not feasible with traditional paper reports and spreadsheet tools. The traditional types of reporting don’t meet the requirements of today’s data handling nor can they produce efficiency like an interactive dashboard where sets of data are presented in a complementary way. An effective dashboard combines information dynamically to measure activity and drive business strategy. That interactivity is indeed what drives a profitable result by visually depicting important data that can be accessed by different departments. Cloud-based, real-time online data visualization software enables fast, data-driven action by decision-makers.

The digital age needs digital data. Now that you have plenty of information about dashboarding reports, let’s take a closer look at each type, and how to choose the one you need in your daily operations or strategy-based goals.

Dashboard Types For Each Business Need

There is another important factor to a data report’s success, besides avoiding “data puke.” It is as simple as choosing the right type of dashboard.

As mentioned, the purpose of a dashboard is to drive action. In this data-driven world, many dashboard types are changing the way a successful business intelligence strategy is conducted. That means that although you can have a healthy approach to your business development if you don’t communicate the right sets of data to the right people in your organization, long-term success can be jeopardized and costly. This is why choosing the right type of reporting tool can bring lasting and cost-effective results.

But that’s no easy task. With all the amount of data these days, and all the objectives and goals that managers need to achieve in a short timeframe, it’s not uncommon to be confused and overwhelmed by all the dashboards out there. First and foremost, you need to ask yourself the question of all questions:

What Problems Are You Trying To Solve?

To help you on your way to determine what kind of problems you need to solve, you should start with these inquiries: What is the main purpose of a dashboard? And, is your dashboard analytical or operational? Determining which overarching category your data report sits in is the first order of business.

Operational dashboards look at current progress related to your KPIs. They help organizations understand, in real-time, if they are on target. They are often used across various levels of an organization.

Analytical dashboards help organizations establish targets based on insights into historical data. They are often complex: utilizing complex models and what-if statements. Analytic dashboard ownership usually falls on business analysts/experts.

When discussing reporting types, it is easy to get caught up in a game of semantics. Of course, there is overlap between the two genres and dashboard naming conventions are evolving with the field. The important thing is that you identify what questions you are trying to answer before you build a dashboard.

So What Types Of Dashboard Works Best For Your Business?

Overview of the 4 most common used types of dashboards: strategic, operational, tactical and analytical dashboards

Now that we have separated the dashboards into two large categories, let’s dig deeper. There are 4 general subtypes of dashboards:

  1. Strategic - focused on long-term strategies and high-level metrics
  2. Operational - shows shorter time frames and operational processes.
  3. Analytical - contains vast amounts of data created by analysts.
  4. Tactical - used by mid-management to track performance.

Each of these dashboard types comes with different requirements for the level of summary, analytic capabilities, and user interfaces. Below we will dive into each type in detail.

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What Is A Strategic Dashboard?

A strategic dashboard is used for monitoring long-term organizational strategies with the help of critical KPIs. They’re usually complex in their creation, provide an enterprise-wide impact to a business, and are mainly used by senior-level decision-makers.

Strategic dashboards are commonly used in a wide range of business types while aligning a company’s core goals. They track performance metrics against enterprise-wide strategic goals. As a result, these dashboards tend to summarize progress over set time frames: past month, quarter, or year. When properly developed, designed, and implemented, it can effectively reduce the amount of time needed to accomplish a specific business KPI, while reducing operational costs. To know what is a dashboard in strategy planning and why it's important, it's key to keep in mind that they can provide senior teams with a clear picture of strategic issues, and therefore, grant them the opportunity to accomplish a specific course of action.

Although they can provide opportunities for specific departments’ operations and further analysis, strategic reports and dashboards are usually fairly high-level. As mentioned, senior members of a team can identify concerns fairly quickly and provide comprehensive strategic reports with the analyzed data. The importance lies in analyzing top-level processes, using common qualitative and quantitative language, and identifying a specific system, which has to be incorporated into the dashboard so that every decision-maker understands the presented data.

Let’s see this through six strategic dashboard examples.

a) Management strategic KPI dashboard

This management dashboard below is one of the best strategic dashboard templates that could easily be displayed in a board meeting. It isn’t cluttered, but it quickly tells a cohesive data story. The report focuses on revenue in total as well as at the customer level plus the cost of acquiring new customers. The dashboard is set to a specific time frame and it includes significant KPIs: customer acquisition costs, customer lifetime value, and sales target

Strategic Dashboard Example: Revenue and Customer Overview

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This dashboard answers the following: What is my customer base and revenue compared to this time last year? While addressing specific values, incorporating specific KPIs, and using a common qualitative and qualitative language, this reporting template represents the senior executive board’s clear value and specific course of action, while using comparison metrics and analysis.

b) CMO strategic dashboard

Another example comes from the marketing department. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) often don’t have time to check numbers such as traffic or CTR of certain campaigns. But they do need to have a closer look at a more strategy-based level of marketing efforts, even cooperating with sales to reach the best possible marketing results a business can have, and, therefore, generate profit. This marketing dashboard shows these important strategic KPIs in a visual, informative, and straightforward way.

A strategic dashboard example showcasing high-level marketing KPIs such as cost per lead, MQL, SQL, and cost per customer

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The strategic dashboard example above expounds on the cost of acquiring each customer, leads, MQL, and compares them to previous periods, and set targets. A CMO must have a birds-eye view of your core goals so that he/she can react promptly and keep the department’s results under control. An executive can immediately see where his/her targets are, which gives them the ability to drill down further into these marketing KPIs and see what can be improved in the overall marketing funnel.

To build this strategy dashboard, you don’t need to have extensive IT skills or advanced database management knowledge. The important part is that you understand your core goals, and the KPIs you need to achieve them. The rest is done by a simple drag-and-drop interface of a KPI software which enables you to cut the manual tasks of data handling and dig faster into your data by interacting with each metric.

c) SaaS management dashboard 

Our next example is another top-level dashboard focusing on the executive level of a SaaS business.  Here, managers get an overview of the three most important areas for any Software as a Service business: customers, revenue, and costs. Tracking these metrics closely and over time, allows you to get a birds-eye view into relevant metrics from past, present, and future achievements in order to optimize processes and ensure your business stays profitable over time. 

A strategic dashboard example visualizing the number of paying customers, ARPU, CAC, CLTV, and MRR over the course of a month

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Looking into this strategic dashboard more in detail starting with the left side, we see two line charts displaying relevant metrics related to customers. On the top chart, we see the paying customers, the lost ones, and the churn rate. All of them are displayed in a one-year period that enables you to see how each value has developed and if your strategies were successful and your targets were met. A similar situation we have in the bottom chart. This one displays the development of the CAC, ARPU, and CLTV. This way you can understand how much each of your customers is bringing to your business. 

The right section of the report displays important information about the Monthly Recurring Revenue. The MRR is one of the most important metrics to track for a SaaS business as it can give a notion of how much is the business growing. It does this by measuring the predictable revenue the business expects in a given month, and you calculate it by dividing the total MRR by the number of customers (contracts).

d) CFO dashboard for strategic planning

Chief financial officers need to keep a company's strategy on track, monitor the financial progress closely, and react when there are deviations from strategy-based goals and objectives. But not only, as the finances of an organization are affected also by non-direct factors such as employee and customer satisfaction. For example, if employees are not satisfied with their working environment, they can call in sick or leave the company which will cause financial bottlenecks. But let's take a closer look at what kind of dashboards for strategy CFOs need.

Strategic dashboard example showing high-level financial metrics for chief financial officers

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We will start the dashboard analysis with key metrics critical for strategic financial analytics optimization, expressed here both in dollars and percentages while simple gauge charts immediately put the focus on red and green colors. The visual interface will immediately show you that operating expenses are higher than expected, which you can use to dig deeper and identify the causes. On the other hand, we can see that metrics such as revenue, gross profit, EBIT, and net income are kept under control and, in fact, generate positive values. A quick overview of the targets shows exactly how much the gains increased, expressed in dollars.

By having all these numbers in a clear and concise format, each CFO can utilize the visual as a comprehensive financial report template, consolidate data from multiple touchpoints and automate this plan dashboard for future use.

Let's continue with more details on the right of the reporting tool. The costs are visualized through a percentage breakdown depicting sales, general and admin, marketing, and other expenses. Here we can see that sales use up most of the costs, followed by general and admin. Maybe there is space to eliminate some costs but be careful not to cause the opposite effect.

Finally, employee and customer satisfaction levels are financial charts that are not directly related to the general financial performance but they can certainly affect it. Modern times require modern solutions, hence, CFOs need to have a close overview of other elements that can impact the business's finances.

e) Sales KPI dashboard 

Moving on to our next strategy-centric dashboard template comes a powerful sales BI tool. The Sales KPI dashboard focuses on high-level sales metrics that c-level executives and managers need to closely monitor in order to ensure goals are being met.

A strategic dashboard template focused on high-level metrics such as revenue, profits, costs, incremental sales, accumulated revenue, up/cross-sell rates, etc.

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First, we see that the dashboard displays 4 key metrics: the number of sales, revenue, profit, and cost, each of them is compared to a set target as well as the values of the last period, this way you get a quick glance into the performance of the month by just looking quickly at the charts. Next, the dashboard breaks down each of these metrics more in detail to extract conclusions and also analyze if the current strategies need additional adjustments. Getting a view into past data allows managers to understand where the numbers should be, and find efficient solutions to get there. The bottom line of a sales strategy should be to increase revenues and profits for the business, this can all be achieved by leveraging the power of the data in hand.

f) CTO dashboard

A CTO strategic dashboard example showing relevant metrics focused on internal processes, learning, finance and customers, and users.

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This dynamic strategy dashboard serves as a responsive nerve center for stretched CTOs looking to make a real impact.

Armed with a cohesive melting pot of visual KPIs that get to the very heart of tech-based action plans and service initiatives, here you have everything you need to make consistently concrete decisions under pressure.

Working with this strategic IT dashboard will empower you to track critical bugs over specific timeframes with confidence while monitoring specific IT expenses, tracking reopened tickets, exploring attrition rates, and keeping a firm grip on newly developed features. The clean, logistical nature of this interactive reporting tool means that CTOs, as well as key team members, make targeted decisions at the moment while formulating plans that drive efficiency as well as output across the board.

Every visual element works in harmony to paint a vivid panoramic picture that ultimately uncovers trends and patterns that will ensure your IT department consistently meets or even exceeds its core strategy-based goals. No data-driven stone is uncovered and as this most vivid of strategic dashboards presents dynamic real-time as well as highly visual historic or pattern-based data, you can work towards an ecosystem where the IT department becomes the most solid productivity-boosting foundation of your entire organization.

Now that we have illustrated the power of these strategic reports, it is time to take a closer look at our next types of dashboards, continuing with operational.

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What Is An Operational Dashboard?

An operational dashboard is a type of dashboard used by companies to monitor and optimize the performance of their short-time operations. Since they focus on tracking operational processes, they’re usually administered by junior decision-makers.

Their value in today’s digital age lies in the fact that businesses start to realize the importance of fast and correct data between operations teams and departments. While the unprecedented developments in the field of dashboard reporting and analysis have made logistical undertakings quite simplified, operational managers can also greatly profit from using these kinds of dashboards, and visually and interactively point to a real-time data issue that has to be swiftly addressed.

These kinds of dashboards are arguably the most common ones. They are mostly used for monitoring and analyzing a business’s activities in a given business area. These dashboards are usually focused on alerting about business exceptions and are based on real-time data. Operational metrics dashboards usually end up in the hands of the subject matter experts. This often leads to more direct action and further analysis. Because of this, operational dashboards often are more detailed than strategic dashboards. They can also provide operational reports with a more detailed view of specific data sets.

Operations tools help departments stay proactive and ahead of problems. For example, a manufacturing firm may use them to track products manufactured along with the number of defects, complaints, or returns. This helps in the manufacturing analytics processes – with a dashboard, any problematic changes would be highlighted in real-time. We will see this more in detail in one of our examples. 

But let’s take a look at another one of our marketing-based operation dashboard examples. We have illustrated a strategy dashboard of a marketing department in our last example above, and now we will focus on an operations dashboard example, also for marketing purposes.

a) Marketing operational KPI dashboard

Our first example is a top operational dashboard template for the marketing department. It shows the performance of 3 campaigns over the past 12 weeks. It provides important logistical information and key performance indicators for the marketing team on cost per acquisition, the total number of clicks, total acquisitions gained, and the total amount spent in the specific campaign. Any significant changes would immediately alert the marketing team. Why is it useful? Because a fast-paced marketing department or agency can adjust its operations activities based on real-time data and teams don’t have to wait for extensive, traditional reports and analyses presented in a spreadsheet.

Operational Dashboard Example - A Marketing Performance Dashboard

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We can see how each campaign performed and what kind of results were brought in a set timeframe. This is extremely useful when each campaign needs to be optimized to deliver the best possible results, and often it’s done on a daily basis, especially in agencies. Operational reports need to be built fast, and this dashboard can help each campaign manager by having real-time, accurate data.

b) Manufacturing Production dashboard 

As we mentioned before, an operational dashboard can be a perfect tool to track production. To put this into perspective let’s take a look at our manufacturing dashboard example. This visual tool gives a detailed overview of all aspects related to production, from the volume, quantity ordered, and returned items, to machines’ performance. Getting this level of insight can help manufacturers to spot any potential issues or hidden trends that could harm production as well as find improvement opportunities to optimize key processes. 

Operational Dashboard template displaying main manufacturing KPIs to keep the pulse of your factory

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Going a bit more into detail about this operations dashboard, we first see the production volume and the quantity ordered, this enables you to understand what to expect in terms of production and machines usability on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis. Comparing the production volume with the quantity ordered also allows you to monitor if your production is being efficient and that you are not over or underperforming. Hand in hand with these metrics comes the performance of the machines. Machines are the beating heart of any manufacturing organization, by carefully monitoring the performance of each of them you can identify the ones that are most efficient, scheduled maintenance, and be always aware of what assets you have available. 

Last but not least, is one of the most costly issues for a manufacturing company: returned items.  Tracking this metric in detail can tell you how efficient is your business at delivering what it is supposed to be delivered. A lower return rate means your clients are getting their orders right, while a higher rate means you are not providing the best service. A good way to keep this rate as low as possible is to take a deeper look at the reasons for the return and tackle the issues so they won’t keep happening. 

c) Pick and pack operational dashboard for logistics  

Our next example is a logistics dashboard tracking all aspects related to order processing. Better known as pick and pack, it is the process in which a worker finds an item from an order in the warehouse and puts it in a box, or another type of packaging, to be shipped to the customer. Tracking these metrics in detail allows businesses to optimize key processes and save costs while still ensuring a quality service. Let’s look into the dashboard more in detail. 

Operational dashboard example displaying relevant metrics of the picking and packing process

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This reporting tool is divided into four main areas of the picking and packing process: financial, effectiveness, utilization, and quality. Each area is compared to a target of last month’s performance as a benchmark to improve. Paired with this, the dashboard displays the performance of 3 different lines of work on each area that is being covered. Tracking each line separately allows you to implement different strategies on each of them and later test which one was more efficient. It can also help you understand if an employee or team is underperforming and find training opportunities to improve their efficiency. 

d) LinkedIn operations dashboard example

We continue our list of operations dashboard examples with LinkedIn. This social media network is critical for building business relationships, either on a profile level or company. With the number of users steadily growing and reaching more than 610 million members in 2020, LinkedIn should be a higher priority for companies that want to reach decision-makers and business professionals. To effectively manage a company's presence, companies can use an operational data dashboard that will solve multiple social media problems such as automation, customization of reports, and provide advanced data-driven features. Let's take a look at an operational dashboard design example specifically created for LinkedIn.

Operations dashboard example that shows an overview of key LinkedIn metrics and results over time - in this case, weekly basis

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To understand how your company is developing, managing your account in a shorter time frame is a must in the fast-paced social media world. Communicating with followers, and monitoring the engagement rate and recent updates will ensure you stay present and reachable for any social messages that you receive or send. If you compare your results over time, you can identify trends, spot inefficiencies in your operational handling, and create a social media report that will consolidate all LinkedIn-related communication.

In the example above, we can see the number of followers gained and the development on a weekly basis. It's good to have an increment in the number of followers as your posts will have a greater chance to reach more people. The dashboard continues with metrics such as impressions, followers by industry, and engagement rate. It's important to know where your audience is coming from since different industries require different content. The breakdown of the engagement rate through total engagement, likes, shares, and comments will let you know what kind of content works best so that you can reuse it in the future. Examine what happened if you see a certain spike and try to recreate the same strategy again.

The final part shows the CTR and the last 5 company updates. These metrics are critical to track since you will find out how many users actually click on your link and how your most recent updates behave. Modern BI reporting tools will ensure all this data is calculated automatically and delivered on a time frame that you set (for example daily or weekly), without the need to export numerous spreadsheets or work with other potential limitations.

e) Customer service operational metrics dashboard

One of our next operational dashboard examples focuses on customer service. By having all the important customer service KPIs on a single screen, the team can manage its operations much more efficiently. Let’s see this through a visual example.

One of our operational dashboard examples: the customer service team dashboard

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This type of dashboard expounds on the customer service team’s performance over a shorter timeframe, in this case, daily, with an additional monthly overview of the first, second, and third calls, and unresolved ones. We can see that the customer service dashboard is divided into 2 parts: the resolutions and the response time. Each day of the week gives an additional insight which helps teams to reduce the response time metric if they track it on a regular basis. That way a team can know if they need more staff or a better schedule during the days when response time is higher. That’s why it is important to keep the operations on track and keep an eye on the team’s performance on a daily level. For added value, you can check our article on the top call center KPIs and ensure the best possible customer service.

f) Daily OOE dashboard

Operational dashboard example tracking real time manufacturing KPIs

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This interactive operations dashboard focuses solely on a business’s overall operating effectiveness (OOE). Split into logical visual segments, each KPI weaves together seamlessly to tell a story that uncovers a wealth of hidden logistical insights.

In tracking your entire production line, from end to end, you will quickly be able to identify any weak links in the chain while exploiting existing efficiencies to your advantage. Metrics like First Pass Yield (FPY) will help you monitor your overall production quality while your Scrap Rate will give you a firm grip on any failed units. Tracking these operative manufacturing KPIs regularly will allow you to drive efficiency through the production line, improve your means of quality control, and reduce unnecessary wastage.

Another key feature of this operations dashboard template is the ability to measure Throughput with pinpoint accuracy. Tracking this essential manufacturing metric will give you the tools to consistently track your machines to produce products over a specific timeframe. You can view each machine’s Throughput rate and if you notice an increased amount of lag or downtime, take swift measures (introducing automation features or servicing your machinery, for instance) to nip any potential issues in the bud. An essential operations metrics dashboard for any business manufacturing its products in-house.

We have seen our operational dashboard examples focused on marketing and customer service, now we will continue with additional, different types of dashboards concentrated on the analytics processes of a company.

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What Is An Analytical Dashboard?

An analytical dashboard is an analysis tool that contains a vast amount of data created to support a business’s decision-making process. They provide businesses with a comprehensive overview of complex data, with middle management being a crucial part of its usage.

As mentioned earlier, the importance of an analytically-based dashboard lies within its impact on historical data usage, where analysts can identify trends, compare them with multiple variables and create predictions, and targets, which can be implemented in the business intelligence strategy of a company. They are often useful when complex categorized information is massive and broad, and need visualization to perform a clear analysis of generated data.

The analytics dashboard can also be found at the intersection of the strategic and operational dashboards. They consist of different modules that can bring a positive effect on the performance of a business if used correctly.

a) Financial performance dashboard

In the example below, the analysis of the financial dashboard focused on performance can help decision-makers to see how efficiently the company’s capital is being spent and to establish a specific task to structure future decisions better.

Analytical dashboards are a great way to leverage large analysis and overview of business performance

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With the important financial KPIs such as return on assets, return on equity, working capital, and the overview of the balance sheet, a finance department has a clear picture of its capital structure. This analysis dashboard enables the department to, consequently, set specific activities to improve further.

b) Procurement cost dashboard

Another dashboard focused on costs but, in this case, specifically for the procurement department. As we know, procurement is found in most companies as a function that connects a company with its suppliers, contractors, freelancers, agencies, etc. It's not only critical for industries such as manufacturing but service-oriented as well. To see the data analysis perspective of a procurement department, let's take a look at a visual example.

The procurement analytical dashboard tracks KPIs involved in the entire purchasing cycle

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The procurement department handles large volumes of data and by analyzing the costs and purchase of the procurement cycle, analysts can present data that will provide a building block for different units in order to save invaluable time. A procurement dashboard as visualized above can serve as a tool to present data in a visual and straightforward manner.

The dashboard starts with a depiction of cost and savings-related metrics and the trends that occurred in a specific time frame. The trend lines show you that, in fact, most of the indicators increased but the reason could be that the number of orders also increased. The cost reduction in the middle of the dashboard is divided into different product categories and, that way, management can identify if there is space for even more rationalization of procurement costs. The dashboard continues with the ROI, a procurement KPI that is, actually, calculated differently than the regular ROI. In this case, you need to divide the annual cost savings by the internal costs and express it as a ratio. Setting a target will help the management to immediately spot if the cost-related efforts were successful. In this case, the target was set at 10 so you can clearly see how it developed for different categories.

On the right side, we can see details on cost savings and avoidance, which is important to keep an eye on since it can ease the decision-making process for managers that want to avoid future costs by introducing specific measures such as better negotiation processes. Finally, the top 5 suppliers will show you where your costs are allocated in relation to the suppliers which management can use for further optimization.

This kind of analysis is essential since procurement departments usually gather data from multiple sources such as ERP, databases, or CSV files, e.g. In order to optimize cost management and increase the overall positive results, an analytic dashboard such as this one can prove to be beneficial.

c) Healthcare analytical dashboard for patients 

Our next analytics dashboard template is from the healthcare industry and it aims to monitor all aspects related to how satisfied are your patients with your facility and the service it provides. Covering aspects such as staff, treatment, waiting times, and safety, this dashboard will help you to assess your relationship with patients and ensure they are getting everything they need. 

Patient satisfaction analytical dashboard example for efficient patient management

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The healthcare dashboard starts by displaying a patient satisfaction score based on the answer to two questions related to how the hospital staff provides information to patients who need it. This is a valuable insight as communication is one of the key aspects of a good relationship with patients. If you make sure they are always clear about relevant information, you will enjoy a healthy satisfaction rate. Next, you get details on the waiting times of different activities such as lab test turnaround, time to see a doctor, to get treatment, and arrival to bed. All these metrics are displayed in a gauge chart with colors that easily indicate if the score is bad, medium, or good. A good way to optimize this is to set target times and implement different measures to reach those targets, that way you will avoid infinite queues for your patients and more efficient care. 

d) Analytical retail KPI dashboard

Another analytical dashboard example comes from the retail industry. It creates a data-driven parallel between management and customer satisfaction since the supply chain can directly affect it. This comprehensive dashboard shows us an overview of important aspects of a retail business that enable analysts to identify trends and give management the support needed in business processes. Retail analytics is made simple.

Analytical dashboard example: retail KPI dashboard

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As we can see on the retail KPI dashboard above, some of the crucial metrics such as the rate of return (also depicted by category), the total volume of sales, customer retention rate, and the number of new and returning customers through a set timeframe, can give us a bigger picture on the state of the retail business. These retail KPIs can show how good you are at keeping your customers and developing brand loyalty, the management can clearly see which aspects of the business need to be improved. If you keep your backorder rate as low as possible, customers won’t get frustrated and your overall numbers will perform well. It’s simple, keeping a customer happy will enable you to grow.

e) KPI Analytical dashboard for FMCG industry

Supply chain management is not an easy task, especially when the products at stake are from the fast-moving goods category. To help optimize several processes and ensure complete success is that this analytics dashboard was created.  

Analytical dashboard template: FMCG KPI dashboard

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Armed with metrics related to deliveries, products sold, inventory, and stock, the FMCG dashboard gives an overview of all important aspects for the correct functioning of a fast-moving consumer goods business. By tracking the out-of-stock rate closely you get a picture of the status of your inventory and avoid stockouts that can affect sales. On the other hand, the products sold within freshness day and the average time to sell can tell you if there is a certain product that takes more time to sell so you might need to lower your stock and avoid throwing away products that are no longer fresh. By monitoring all these metrics on a regular basis you can stay one step ahead of any problems that might arise in your FMCG business. 

f) Diversity dashboard

Analytical dashboard tracking diversity metrics for the HR department

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This vital analytic HR dashboard drills down deep into your organization’s mix of diversity across the board. In our progressive modern age, it's no longer acceptable to see diversity as some organizational bolt-on—now, it must be a pivotal part of your organizational culture—the way it should have always been. 

Tracking as well as managing your diversity practices while making sure that your talent acquisition activities are balanced, fair, and inclusive is essential. This powerful analytical dashboard will help you do just that.

This vibrant as well as easy-to-navigate reporting tool is packed with visual insights that will give you a comprehensive snapshot of your workforce based on ethnicity and gender demographics.

Here you can get a true appraisal of just how balanced your recruitment efforts are while understanding your organization's diversity profile as a whole. If you feel your business is falling short in terms of diversity and inclusion, either in the context of hiring or retaining talent, you will be able to find out why and make vital improvements that make a real difference.  

Our next type of dashboard is focused on pure analytics that supports strategic initiatives: a tactical dashboard. Every modern organization should use them and in doing so, you will ensure your business thrives.

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What Is A Tactical Dashboard?

A tactical dashboard is utilized in the analysis and monitoring of processes conducted by mid-level management, emphasizing the analysis. Then an organization effectively tracks the performance of a company’s goal and delivers analytic recommendations for future strategies.

Tactical dashboards are often the most analytical dashboards. They are great for monitoring the processes that support the organization’s strategic initiatives. They guide users through the decision process. They capitalize on the interactive nature of dashboards by providing users with the ability to explore the data.

The detail level of a tactical dashboard falls between the strategic and operational dashboards. A tactical sales dashboard can track your sales target (actual revenue vs. forecasted revenue). It allows for various filters and segmentation, including region, sales manager, and product. An operational dashboard would alternately track sales of these specific products against their competitors at different times throughout the year. As they are a bit higher level, tactical dashboards also tend to include more data visualization than operations dashboards. Let’s see this through an example in project management.

a) IT project management dashboard

The example below shows a detailed overview of a project with specific timelines and the efficiency of the parties involved. You can define specific risks, see the overall progress, and average times of conducting specific tasks. After the project is finished, you can create a comprehensive IT report, evaluate the results, and make future projects more successful.

A tactical dashboard can leverage data from different sources of project implementation and evaluation

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The goal of every IT management is to increase efficiency, reduce the number of tickets, and deliver a successful project. By having the right tool in the form of an IT operations dashboard, a single screen can provide a project manager with all the data he/she needs to analyze all the important aspects of the project. While there are various types of project dashboards, this particular visual above is set to monitor project management efforts and alarm leaders if there are any anomalies within the process.

b) Energy Management tactical dashboard 

A power plant provides energy to several sectors and industries, this leads to massive amounts of data being produced every day with hidden trends and improvement opportunities waiting to be untapped. This energy dashboard aims to do just that, by providing you with an overview of every relevant aspect for the correct management of your energy business:  from the total sales to the consumption by sector to the production costs per source type, you get the big picture of the different plants’ performance.

Energy management report as an example of a tactical dashboard

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There are several insights that can be extracted from this analytical dashboard. With this powerful management tool, business executives can understand in which sectors their energy is being consumed the most and plan their production and delivery accordingly, see what percentage of their clients is interested in renewable energy, and invest in sustainable sources of power,  as well as manage production costs, and monitor the number of power cuts to ensure the best quality of service while keeping costs at a minimum. 

c) Human Resources talent management dashboard 

For a long time now, one of the biggest challenges for HR departments no matter the business size has been to manage talents efficiently, and therefore, keep them for longer periods. Our talent management dashboard allows for advanced HR analytics by monitoring metrics such as costs, hiring stats, turnover, and satisfaction rates, among others. By getting a detailed look at these values HR teams can achieve successful talent management and ensure a long talent lifecycle. 

The talent management dashboard is a perfect tool to ensure employees are satisfied with your company by optimizing key HR processes

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The analytical dashboard example starts with a quick overview of the total number of employees in the company, an average monthly salary, and vacancies for the first quarter of the year. Paired to this, we get other stats related to hiring such as the time to fill, the new hires, net training costs, and the costs per hire.

Next, the dashboard displays the talent turnover rate by department, and the percentage of laid-off employees by periods of labor in the company (6 months, 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years). Monitoring these metrics closely can help you find the reasons for certain trends and adjust your HR strategies accordingly.

Next, we get a really important metric, talent satisfaction, that aims to measure how happy your employees are with the company. In this case, the satisfaction levels are measured through the net promoter score of each group of employees based on the time they’ve been working at your organization. Here we can see that the most loyal employees are the ones that have been working for more than 5 years in the company. Finally, we get a graph that measures the trends by category where you can see how well employees develop their skills, knowledge, effectiveness, communication, and delivery. The important thing here is to focus on retaining the right talent and keeping the workforce satisfied to avoid high turnover rates and, subsequently, costs.

d) Social media dashboard

Since there are different types of business intelligence dashboards that cover various purposes and we have expounded on LinkedIn as a separate channel that needs to be monitored daily to keep companies in touch with their follower base and expand their reach, but now, in a tactical sense, a KPI scorecard can provide multiple benefits for managing social accounts and, consequently, ensure users have enough data to generate recommendations for future. To put this into perspective, we will show a business process dashboard focused on 4 main social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

A tactical type of dashboard showing social media campaigns and the relation with set targets

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The dashboard starts with Facebook as the biggest social media network in the world, currently, more than 2.5 billion monthly users. In our example, we can see that the number of followers did not reach the set target but it did increase in comparison to the previous period. In this case, social media managers can dig deeper to understand why and if this Facebook KPI needs particular attention.

Other metrics and channels have the same structure and tactical approach: the analysis of targets with additional comparisons, which enable managers to dig deeper into the data and derive recommendations for the future.

e) Supply chain management dashboard

When you create a tactical dashboard strategy, it is important to focus on the analytical and monitoring part of the process that gives a backbone for effective, data-driven decisions. Our next dashboard concentrates on the supply chain of a logistics company.

One of our tactical dashboard examples for the supply chain management

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The supply chain metrics depicted in our example above show us how a data-driven supply chain should be monitored to ensure a healthy process for the company. Additional focus on inventory management will enable the company to have a clear overview of the logistics KPIs needed to stay competitive and avoid out-of-stock merchandise.

And not just that; you can monitor your inventory accuracy and act when you see this ratio drop. Discrepancies are normal but should be kept to a minimum. Other metrics such as the inventory-to-sales ratio and the inventory turnover show the financial stability of a company – you need to know the ratio between your sold items and items in stock. The turnover will then measure how many times per year your company sells its entire inventory, adding up the efficiency of your organization: you can then analyze it on an operational level (remember our operations dashboard examples?) and see how you answer the demand of your products, what kind of operational practices you have and how your shipment management works, for example.

By fully utilizing logistics analytics, you stand to reap great rewards in your logistics business, and, ultimately, manage to retain customers.

f) Customer service quality dashboard

Tactical dashboard example tracking customer service performance metrics for different channels

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In many ways, customer service is the heart and soul of any modern organization. Today’s consumers value an attentive, personable service from brands across channels - and if you succeed, you will see your consumer base, as well as your loyalty rates, soar.

This vivid and practical tactical dashboard will help you gain a firm grip on your key customer service metrics while empowering you to make tactically-based decisions that increase output as well as quality across your most engaged consumer-facing channels.

Here you can gain access to a detailed breakdown of your service tickets as well as ticket resolution rates across all key channels while drilling down service abandonment rates, average resolution time, and those all-important resolution costs.

The visual and dynamic features of this reporting tool - which we regard to be one of our best strategy dashboards - mean that you can formulate long-term tactically-based initiatives while reacting with confidence at the moment.

This melting pot of metrics will help you reduce unnecessary service costs while developing targeted initiatives that drill down resolution times. Working with these visuals frequently will also ensure your customer service personnel and resources are distributed as effectively as possible - transforming your entire operation into a well-oiled consumer-facing machine. A vital data reporting tool for today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected digital age.

The Do’s & Don'ts For A Successful Business Dashboard Implementation

So, you are now sold on the power of dashboards. Before you run off to the printing presses, we mean data visualization software, let’s talk about using the right ways to build and use dashboards. It is always best to start off with the right plan and implement dashboard design principles that will take into account the most relevant data of your company. A successful dashboard implementation will:

  1. Save time across an organization: IT, analysts, managers, C-suite, etc.
  2. Save companies money by highlighting unnecessary operational costs
  3. Provide insight into customer behavior
  4. Effectively align strategy with tactics
  5. Ensure a goal-driven and performance-based data culture
  6. Encourages interactivity and analysis

An ineffective dashboard implementation doesn’t maximize these dashboard benefits and can quickly derail any data-driven culture. Have no fear! Read on to see how you can easily avoid dashboard fatigue at your organization.

To guide you toward data-driven success, let’s look at the key dos and don’ts of creating successful reporting tools.

The do’s

First of all, let’s look at the dos of creating types of dashboards for consistent business growth and success.

  • Define clear goals

Whether you're looking to develop an operations dashboard or any other kind of key reporting tool, it’s important to define your core organizational goals from the very start. Without taking the time to collaboratively establish what you want to achieve from your reports, your efforts will be completely redundant from the get-go.

Are you looking to drive interdepartmental communication? Do you want to get a firmer grip on your daily production and manufacturing activities? Is earning a consistently higher ROI for your paid marketing activities high on your agenda? Or, do you want to improve your service resolution rates via phone as well as live chat?

Your goals will be specific to your business. But, the takeaway point here is that by establishing detailed goals with confidence, you will ensure your reports serve up the exact insights you need at the exact times you need them.

  • Consider your audience

Whether you’re working with an operational dashboard or otherwise, considering your audience is vital. There really is no compromise here.

The dashboard types you choose as well as how you present them should be dictated by your audience on two levels:

  1. The users
  2. Your external audience

First of all, you must think about who will be using your dashboards and what they will need in terms of tools as well as insights to interpret the data effectively and perform to the best of their abilities.

Also, in terms of external audience, it’s important to consider either who you will be presenting your data to (external partners, investors or stakeholders, for instance) or which relationships you’re looking to improve (customers and suppliers, for instance). Taking your audience into consideration will ensure your dashboards are as valuable and as powerful as possible.

  • Define your KPIs

Another definite ‘do’ when developing tools like this is to set your KPIs based on your organizational goals and audience insights.

The best digital tools in today’s world offer an extensive library of interactive KPIs designed to offer insights into every department, process, or business function imaginable.

By taking care and due consideration when choosing your KPIs, you will squeeze every last drop of value from your data, ensuring consistent commercial growth and success in the process. In summary, don’t be hasty—but do be thoughtful and thorough.

The don’ts

  • Don’t “data puke”

Avinash Kaushik, Co-Founder of Market Motive and Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google, has great insight into some of the ways that dashboards fail. He has also come up with some rules for creating powerful dashboards. Kaushik’s biggest, and most entertaining, rule is “don’t data puke.” 

Kaushik drives his rules home by stating “This will be controversial, but let me say it anyway. The primary purpose of a dashboard is not to inform, and it is not to educate. The primary purpose is to drive action!”

  • Don’t forget to add context

It is important to remember that dashboards are not just reports. Make sure your dashboards include insights, recommendations for actions, and business impact. 

They also need to deliver clear-cut context. You don’t want executives and whoever else ends up with your dashboard making their own interpretations of the data. A tool like this should tell a clear enough data story where interpretation is unnecessary. Also remember, when it comes to KPIs, segments and your recommendations, make sure to cover the end-to-end acquisition, behavior, and outcomes.

  • Don’t forget to choose the right type of dashboard

Last but certainly not least in our rundown of data-driven don’ts, we’re going to consider dashboard types.

As you will no doubt understand by now, an operational dashboard, for example, won’t work for every kind of organizational scenario. To ensure you gain the precise level of insight you need, you should mull back over the different types of dashboards and examples discussed in this guide. Consider the functional value you need from your most relevant insights and you will make an informed decision about the type of tool you need for the job.

If you overlook this key step, it’s likely that your dashboards will misguide, mislead or fail to deliver the contextual insights you need to consistently meet or exceed your goals.

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Now You Can Get To Dashboard Building!

We’ve looked at the key differences as well as attributes of operational dashboard examples as well as strategy-centric, tactically-based, and analytic reporting types. Now you have the knowledge to work with the tools that will deliver the best results, time after time.

By knowing the difference between the dashboard types, you can ensure you are presenting the right information to the right people, at the right time and using great graphs and chart types. While still stressing that you should always know what you are building, sometimes your strategic dashboards may seem a bit tactical, and the tactical dashboard a bit operational. Don’t worry about it. Self-service analytics give you the opportunity to best fit dashboards to your needs and create a dashboard strategy that will establish and develop a data-driven business environment.

To summarize the detailed dashboard types presented in this article, here are the most important ones you should consider when building your strategy.

A table comparing the different types of dashboards

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