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What Are Dashboards And The Types of Dashboards?

Dashboards are business intelligence (BI) reporting tools that aggregate and display high-level metrics operational and key performance indicators (KPIs) on a single screen, enabling users to monitor and examine business performance at a glance.

The four main classifications of data dashboards used for business intelligence include the following:

  • Strategic dashboards

  • Operational dashboards

  • Analytical dashboards

  • Tactical dashboards

In this everchanging data-driven world, dashboard types change how a successful business intelligence strategy steers.

That means that you can have an intelligent approach to your business development. So, choosing the right type of dashboard can come up with lasting and cost-effective results.

Business intelligence has transformed the approach to data management by extracting, monitoring, analyzing, and visualizing business insights.

Its simple dashboard creation approach acquires new users and enables users to interact with the drilled-down data approach anytime and anywhere.

As for front-end interfaces that distill data sets into simple insights using data visualizations, dashboards allow users to interact with the data and take actions.

Yet not all organizations use dashboards, nor are all dashboards able to meet the goals of different businesses and executives completely.

You can learn more about these types of dashboards below.

What Does A Business Dashboard Do?

Business dashboards play an important role in carrying out day-to-day operations. It manages all the business information from a single point of access.

Almost every management level in the organization uses business dashboards to accomplish tasks and take effective measures for the business.

These dashboards have unlimited benefits and many features that enhance business performance and improve sales.

A business dashboard puts the users behind the wheel so they can understand their business performance through data visualizations.

Dashboards connect to files, APIs, and services and organize reports (metrics and dimensional views of data) into different combinations to provide end-users a full understanding of their key metrics and drivers.

It displays metrics and KPIs as a tabular or cross-tabular report, or as one or more data visualizations such as charts, graphs, and maps.

Dashboards can also include user-defined filters, images, and text, or include more than one screen tab of information.

Why Are Dashboards Important?

Dashboards increase data accessibility and transparency across the business. 

They are helpful for both regular business users and advanced data analysts in monitoring operational health and gleaning high-level insights into current performance, before further analysis in advanced tools.

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What Is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence is a tech-driven process that gathers, analyzes, and explains data in an easy-to-understand visual manner.

It offers effective data management– monitoring, extracting, analyzing, and deriving actionable insights to stay competitive in the market.

Identify Key Metrics

What problem are you trying to solve?

When building a dashboard, this should be the #1 question you ask yourself. Your dashboard is dependent on the metrics and KPIs you want to track.

If you start by identifying the metrics that matter, you’ll better understand the result.

The success of digital dashboard projects often depends on the metrics chosen for monitoring.

Key performance indicators, balanced scorecards, and sales performance figures are some of the content appropriate for business dashboards.

Operational Dashboards

Operational dashboards are the most common type of dashboard used in companies. They are used for monitoring operations that last for shorter periods.

They provide low-level users to track, monitor, and communicate important marketing KPIs through data visualizations.

Since these dashboards are used to track operational processes, they are most commonly operated by junior levels of management.

They are based on real-time data, allowing operational managers to visually and interactively point to an issue that must be addressed quickly.

Operational reports need to be built fast; this dashboard can help each campaign manager with real-time, accurate data.

These are the dashboards well-suited to a wall display on a manufacturing plant floor, or a command suite of global operations.

An operational dashboard is designed to provide, at a glance, a comprehensive snapshot of the current performance of the day.

One of its differentiating aspects is that, because it focuses on managing operations, it provides a short to medium-term view of reality and helps CTOs make urgent decisions.

As with analytical dashboards, historical data are also extremely valuable in an operational dashboard.

However, in this case, the temporal comparisons are short-term, usually ranging from a month to a four-month or six-month period.

Much like the dashboard on a car, operational dashboards give the viewer information related to the immediate performance of the organization.

They shouldn’t require drill-downs to be useful because often, the viewer won’t have the option to manipulate the dashboard past the initial view.

The data collected in operational dashboards is more real-time, and reflective of what is occurring in the business at the moment of consumption.

Operational dashboards provide the most precise abilities, so they’re commonly used to monitor and analyze company activities in a given business area.

Analytical Dashboards

Analytical dashboards are very helpful when a company deals with complex and broad information and needs visualization to analyze the generated data.

As the name suggests, an analytical dashboard is a type of scorecard designed to promote analysis and aims at data analysts, data scientists, or middle management.

An analytical dashboard is a reporting tool that can analyze large volumes of data when users are required to investigate trends, predict outcomes, and discover insights.

Its purpose is to help data analysts put data science and data analytics into practice and serve as a support tool for middle management, especially department managers.

One of the big distinguishing features of this type of dashboard is that, unlike other more specific scorecards — such as operational or analytical dashboards — it should not encourage deep data explorations (drill-down approach), but rather the opposite.

Analytical dashboards are useful for manually analyzing changes, though insight discovery is dependent on the user’s skill level.

Analytical dashboards contain a vast amount of data, and their sole purpose is to supply an organization with a comprehensive overview of data.

They also support advanced analytical capabilities, such as automated business monitoring and augmented analytics.

If the dashboard is well done, senior management should understand the information without exploring the data sets and the data source.

Due to the professional profile at which it is aimed, it is necessary to have a certain level of expertise in data analytics and business intelligence to work with an analytical dashboard.

Analytical Dashboard Example

The Healthcare analytics dashboard helps deliver quality care treatment to the patient, reducing wait time, and improving profitability.

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Strategic Dashboards

We spend a lot of time talking about KPIs because the evidence is clear that setting goals and aiming toward them is the surest path to success.

If you’ve defined key performance indicators and are tracking performance concerning those KPIs, you’ve got yourself a strategic dashboard.

These dashboards are often used to align departmental performance with overall corporate strategy.

Strategic dashboards are reporting tools used to monitor the long-term company strategy with the help of critical success factors.

These dashboards are usually very complex as they provide an enterprise-wide insight into a business.

A strategic dashboard can effectively reduce the time needed to accomplish a business KPI while lowering operational costs when properly developed.

They track performance metrics against enterprise-wide strategic goals. As a result, these dashboards tend to summarize performance over set time frames: past month, quarter, or year.

Strategic dashboards often share metrics important to the whole organization, so consider having them available to the whole organization.

Strategic Dashboard Example

There are several strategic dashboards, including:

  • Total marketing expenses

  • Average cost per lead

  • Revenue per customer

  • Conversion rate

  • Customer acquisition cost

Analytical Dashboard vs. Operational Dashboard

An operational dashboard is a type of scorecard that serves as a support tool to control and track the execution of ongoing business operations.

This type of dashboard primarily includes operational data and performance indicators and typically reflects the most relevant metrics related to the current operations of a particular area of the business.

Analytical dashboards are very helpful when a company deals with complex and broad information and needs visualization to analyze the generated data.

They contain huge amounts of data created and used by analysts to support business executives.

Unlike operational dashboards that focus on real-time, analytical dashboards rely on historical data to identify trends, compare them with several variables and create predictions that will.

Its mission is to encompass all the information necessary for data analysts to do their job: make predictions, compare variables, aggregate and disaggregate dimensions, identify trends, etc.

You can find these dashboards at the intersection of the strategic and operational dashboards.

Tactical Dashboards

Their main purpose is to guide users through the decision-making process.

This type of dashboard is great for monitoring the business processes that support the organization’s strategic initiatives.

The detail level of a tactical dashboard falls between the strategic and operational dashboards.

This dashboard is used to analyze and monitor processes conducted by mid-level management, focusing on the analysis.

When creating a tactical dashboard strategy, it is important to focus on the analytical and monitoring part of the process, which gives a backbone for effective, data-driven decisions.

In addition, these dashboards make the most out of their interactive nature, as they tend to include more data visualization than operational dashboards.

With the tactical dashboard, companies can effectively track their performance and goals and delivers analytic recommendations for long-term strategies.

Tactical dashboards seem the best for measuring the progression of the most important projects.

Sales KPI Dashboard

The sales KPI dashboard is a measurable value that indicates the performance of various sales processes.

The sales KPI dashboard primarily focuses on top-level management and manager, who need to carefully visualize the dashboard to take their business to the next level.

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What Is A Balanced Scoreboard?

A balanced scorecard (BSC) is a type of dashboard representing business activity.

In other words, this type of dashboard should provide a complete picture of a company’s overall performance.

Executive Dashboard

Unlike the balanced scorecard, an executive dashboard does not necessarily have to represent the entire business activity. 

It can focus on one of the business areas or a specific strategy or activity.

The big wigs use this one to check in on key performance indicators (KPIs) that the executive team finds important from a strategy perspective.

Which Dashboard Is Right For Your Business?

Regardless of their size, all businesses need to make the most out of the business intelligence (BI) sitting in their dashboards to remain competitive.

Even if your company has the most robust BI infrastructure, it falls short if you cannot easily access, analyze, or understand the data. And that is where BI dashboards come into play.

The Bottom Line

We have discussed the difference between dashboard types and how to choose the right dashboard for your organization.

Now you can present the right information with the right data visualization.

Most importantly, you can now identify dashboard types and make the best decisions for building your strategy.

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