4 Steps to Creating an Effective Dashboard

DashboardFox - Dashboard and BI Software

If you’re considering using a business dashboard to gain insights, improve processes and take your organization to the next level, you need to know not all dashboards are created equal. An effective dashboard doesn’t just “happen;” it’s carefully designed to meet the unique needs of its end-users and the organization’s overall objectives.

This article will explore the characteristics of an effective dashboard, how to create an effective dashboard, and the benefits a business intelligence dashboard can offer your organization.

What Are the Characteristics of an Effective Dashboard?

An effective dashboard is one that offers a consolidated, visual display of an organization’s most critical data.  By integrating data from multiple sources, a dashboard allows the user to achieve a big-picture understanding of key performance indicators at a glance. It also gives them to power to easily drill down for a more thorough examination of the data.

The most effective dashboards share some of the same characteristics:

  • They are easy for the user to leverage (don’t require IT skills)
  • highly visual
  • offer real-time data
  • integrate data from multiple sources
  • and they are accessible from desktop or mobile.

In the rest of this article, we’re going to detail 4 key steps to make the best dashboard for your business.

4 Steps to Creating an Effective Dashboard

Planning an effective dashboard may seem like an overwhelming task, but it’s easier than you think if you take it step by step. Follow these 4 steps to create a dashboard that helps you leverage one of your organization’s most underutilized assets- your data.

Step 1. Identify the problem/s

What problem/s are you trying to solve, or what are you trying to accomplish by using a dashboard? Answering this question will help you decide what data, metrics and key performance indicators (KPI) your dashboard should track.

You should be highly selective in selecting which metrics your dashboard displays- or you’ll be overwhelmed by information and defeat the purpose of leveraging a dashboard in the first place. When choosing what information to include in the dashboard, ask yourself, “Will including this metric help me solve my problem/accomplish my goal?” and “Is it essential?”

Step 2. Define your end-user

Who will use the dashboard and how will they use it? For example, will the dashboard be primarily used by managers via their mobile device? Or, customer service representatives via desktop? What level of technical skill does the end-user have? Will they be able to create their own reports, or will they require help from IT?

Step 3. Match context to user preference

What makes a dashboard valuable to one member of your organization may not make it valuable to another. For instance, a CFO may need a very detailed dashboard that gives him or her the ability to drill down into data, while a CEO may want a dashboard that offers him or her an easy to understand overview of the company’s KPIs. In short, an effective dashboard presents data that’s relevant and actionable to each specific audience or user. Matching context to user preference can help improve adoption rates.

Step 4. Ask for feedback

The most effective dashboards are elastic. As your end-users leverage the dashboard, they’ll gain insight into its effectiveness. Ask them for feedback, and then make changes as necessary.

Benefits of an Effective Dashboard

Dashboards have gained popularity for good reason. Not only can they help users discover, measure and track critical data, they also enable various departments within an organization to share key information and help ensure they’re in alignment with the organization’s overall goals. Moreover, an effective dashboard gives decision-makers the real-time data they need to make well-informed, evidence-based decisions.

Note: It’s important to remember that even the most well-planned dashboard will fall short if it’s based on flawed data. Before developing a dashboard, it’s critical that you ensure the data you’re leveraging is accurate.

Of course, we would need to learn about your business before we can say DashboardFox or any other dashboard software might be a good fit for your organization, but here are six ways businesses benefit from dashboard software like DashboardFox.

Learn more about the features of DashboardFox’s dashboards, or request a demo of DashboardFox. Our team is standing by to help you find the right BI solution for your business.  Want to learn more about building great dashboards?  Check out Dashboard.Build for more tips and best practices.

What are some of the key steps to creating an effective dashboard in your opinion?  Tell us what you think in the comments below!

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