4 Advantages to Dashboards

by Jeremy on March 3, 2009

Creative Commons License photo credit: xmatt

In a recent article (What is a Digital/Executive Dashboard) I discussed the concept of dashboards.  By implementing dashboards you can find an overall view of your business.  Four major benefits stood out: customization, drill-down to details, visibility of trends, and data freshness.

1. Customizable to different management levels

Many times reports contain either too much or too little information for different roles to complete their tasks.  Dashboards can built in a way that will allow them to be custom focused and the individual user.  The executive user may see a high level graph of department productivity, while the department manager could see the specifics by employee, and the department employee would see their specific details for the month.   This allows each person to see the level of detail that they need in order to get their job done and meet their goals.  They are not overloaded by too much detail and they are not limited by a lack of information.

Even though the dashboards are custom they also allow the information to be drilled into…

2. Ability to drill into details

It is important to consider the ability to drill into information when building dashboards.  If the executive sees a high level diagram of the amount of recurring business that the company is generating they should then be able to drill down and see which clients are generating that business.  This gives them the ability to see the details behind the summary information if they wish to but keeps that detail from the standard view unless it is deemed necessary.

In addition to seeing the details the business will have a significant opportunity to see trends occurring.

3. Trending visibility

When the summary information is displayed the user will be able to see the trending of data over a period of time.  This allows people to make decisions and react to issues before they become problems.  For instance, if a call center manager sees that the wait period for incoming calls is rising each week or month, they can begin to explore the issue to find out why before an angry customer is created.

Trending becomes an invaluable tool for watching the data in a real-time system with constant data flow.

4. Constant data flow

Because dashboards are driven off of current data in a real-time or near real-time structure the dashboards should be an accurate reflection of the current data.  People don’t have to wait for the weekly or monthly reports in order to see what’s going on.  They should be able to see at any given time what the business is doing and what the trends are looking like.

With the advantage of constant flow of real time data you also can setup systems that let you know when something happens.  To learn more about alerting systems that can and should be part of your dashboard: 5 Keys to an Intelligent Alert System.

All In All

The dashboard method of reviewing details and viewing the status of operations provides a significant opportunity to make your business more efficient and quick to respond to issues and opportunities.  This will allow your business to operate more effectively and service your clients better.  Through the use of business intelligence you can provide a leg up to your business and resources.

We can help you build a dashboard that will make your business more efficient and profitable. Leave us a note!

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  • http://robertstanke.com Robert Stanke

    Just curious… do you think there are any downsides to dashboards? I mean obviously if they are not designed an implemented correctly, they could appear to skew the delivery of information…


  • Jeremy Lattimore


    I think that the main downside to dashboards is getting them defined correctly. Since dashboards are truly business intelligence it is very important that the methodologies and knowledge are relayed to the developer correctly so the dashboards display the correct information.

    Also, they can be time consuming to create. They require analysis of business and the base of knowledge to outline what the specifics of the dashboards.

    Good question.

  • http://www.bryaneye.com Bryan Eye

    It was motivating to read your two posts about executive dashboards. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the internal app I was developing for a client was just that… a decision-making dashboard of sorts. I am certainly eager to explore how this approach can serve more of my clients as I show them the advantages of data control, Ajax and basic business intelligence these tools can provide when implemented in a meaningful and accurate way. Nice post, Jeremy. – Bryan

  • Jeremy Lattimore

    Brian, thank you for stopping by Refocusing Technology and for the kind words. I am glad that you enjoyed the post. I would be very interested to hear more about what you have created for your dashboard application. Thanks.

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