In the digital era that we live, the information in a glance is something we all look for, and that is exactly what a dashboard provides us. First, let us look at what is a dashboard? In simple words, it is an information and data management tool, that helps track, analyze and display key performance indicators or KPI. These indicators can be based on anything, may it be input, output, mechanism, activity, control or time. Basically, it provides us with a summary of the performance status of a project, program, product, etc. A dashboard gives you the real-time changes happening that you can analyze further.
There are many different kinds of ways to set up dashboards but they all fall into three different categories, which are:
1. Operational Dashboards
2. Analytical Dashboards
3. Strategic Dashboards
The operational dashboard is the most simple and common type of dashboard that show real-time changes in data of various operations. This is a reporting tool, that helps track business operations and provide us with its current performance details. These dashboards are good at summarizing large data and are designed in a way such that it can be viewed multiple times a day, say in order to check its progress towards a target set. Such dashboards are usually used by managers to monitor the performance and targets achieved by the employees. These easy to view dashboard can acquire data from single or multiple sources and give it a simple and readable at a single glance view.
The web overview dashboard used by the digital marketing team to track the performance on the web, comes in as an example of this type of dashboard.
Image Source: Operational Dashboards
Recommended reading: Key Elements For An Effective Dashboard Design
These are the types of dashboards that use data from previous records to make further decisions. These dashboards are used to monitor the changes, predict the results and conclude a judgment on the same. Pivot tables and drill downs are some of the features available in analytical dashboards. This dashboard helps in analyzing the primary data and contains more data compared to the other two. Having said that, the data in analytical dashboards may seem complex to a normal person. These dashboards are mainly used by data analysts, who perform the slicing and dicing of data to compare and investigate the outcomes occurring.
Image Source:Analytical Dashboards
These dashboards are used to measure the progress an organisation made in achieving its predefined goals. These dashboards help the managers or the head executives mostly in determining the current state of working of the company. Through this dashboard, the areas with scope of improvement can be detected and ways of further expansion can be determined.
Image Source: Strategic Dashboards
So, why do we need these dashboards?
There are many benefits to using a dashboard. Let us discuss some of its advantages here.
- A dashboard makes it easy to grasp data from various sources and compare them in a single glance.
- It reduces the complexity a company goes through in keeping track of the progress of the company and track the performance of the employees.
- It gives you a clear picture of your own progress and improves decision making. Say, you’re doing a project, with help of a dashboard you can analyze your own progress and management of time. Since they give real-time key indicators, they are a much-needed tool in the marketing and sales field.
- Other than showing you your progress, a dashboard also detects, errors, mistakes and the area where you lack or need improvement. In a company, dashboards are visible throughout all departments, which makes it easier to know, who needs more improvement compared to others.
- Dashboards give you a suitable and comfortable view of data as per your needs. It is customizable and a filter can be used to view as less or as more data you want to view on the screen.
- It gives you access to important information instantly. Dashboards have advanced and can give not just monthly or weekly but daily live data, which you can access from mobile, tablet or laptops readily.
In conclusion, if you cannot track your progress in work if your organization needs improvement but you cannot determine in which area if your records of data are stored in multiple places and you’re finding it difficult to compare or analyze them. Then you should consider opting for a dashboard, which will make data reporting and management easier and life a little simpler.