What Is a Data Dashboard? (With Uses and Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Data can help empower organizations across multiple sectors to improve their initiatives, processes, and innovations by using powerful insight. Every day, various organizations assess the effectiveness of their efforts by gathering several types of data to help them evaluate how they're progressing. If you're working in a role that tracks business performance, understanding the importance of a dashboard can help you utilize its benefits. In this article, we discuss what a data dashboard is, explore its purpose, review how organizations use it, share its benefits, and list the different types.

What is a data dashboard?

Many organizations use a data dashboard to help consolidate all relevant business data to help them extract, analyze, monitor, and measure various data sets. After gathering this data, a dashboard displays the information in an interactive, visual, and intuitive way. Dashboards provide users with extensive details about an organization and its departments, goals, indicators, initiatives, projects, and processes. These dashboards use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure data and help the company grow. They can also help users identify trends and predict possible challenges in an organization's data.

Related: How to Create a Dashboard in Excel (With Excel Tips)

What is the purpose of a dashboard?

A dashboard aims to answer questions about an organization's specific strategies and goals. It can help a user understand an organization's valuable data by taking raw data from multiple sources and gathering it before presenting it. By linking a dashboard with specific KPIs related to an organization's goals, the user can search through particular batches of information, create benchmarks, and measure success regularly. This can help an organization become data-driven and successful.

How do organizations use dashboards?

An organization uses dashboards to analyze, share, and act on data to increase performance. The company's leadership can use these details to make informed decisions that can benefit the entire business. The other ways an organization can use a dashboard include:

  • Ad-hoc analysis: A company can use a dashboard to respond to individual challenges when required, such as analyzing sudden decreases in sales. In real-time, the user can track multiple key metrics, such as sales revenue, and then create custom reports to solve these issues.

  • Strategic planning: Creating a strategic plan can establish the organization's priorities that can result in long-term improvements. This helps to find where the company can focus its time and resources to achieve the results they desire by providing a hub to assess performance.

  • Data-driven decision making: A dashboard monitors vital KPIs and other business metrics that can inform the leadership team to help make better strategic decisions. It condenses a significant amount of data into a straightforward overview, which creates a single source of information to help management identify crucial patterns and trends.

  • Information sharing: It can be challenging for an organization to share information, especially when communicating essential insights to executives who might not have the same expertise as other professionals in the company. A dashboard can make sharing vital insights with stakeholders easier by using succinct graphs and charts.

Related: What Is Strategic Planning? (With Benefits)

What are the benefits of using a dashboard?

The benefits of using a data dashboard allow users to monitor a company's performance, create reports, and establish estimates and targets. For instance, a supply chain manager can receive an overview of a supply chain's operations, or a human resources manager can monitor specific KPIs that relate to the entire employee life cycle. Specifically, the benefits of a dashboard include:

They are customizable

The significant advantage dashboards have over traditional data management methods, such as spreadsheets, is that they're customizable. This is an advantage because various people within an organization can use the same data in different ways. For instance, recording all sales data from the previous quarter in a spreadsheet causes a user to look at all the data at once. The user can search through all the details, but they still read every piece of information.

Using a dashboard to create a sales report can place all information regarding a specific sales representative in an easy-to-read document. The sales report can show information such as the representative's average order size, deal closing rates, and lifetime value (LTV) of each of their customers. A sales manager can see these data sets for each sales person, while a C-level executive can see the averages of order sizes, LTV, and overall closing rates.

Related: How to Create a Sales Dashboard (With Definition and Tips)

They are interactive

A dashboard can allow a user to locate specific data. For instance, a sales executive can locate data related to a new employee. A dashboard can help the executive find the information quickly by pressing a few buttons. If a sales manager, or sales representative, is looking to understand how their work fits with an organization, they can get an overview of these details.

When communicating insights and presenting data, it's crucial to develop a dialogue. Dashboards can help an audience become a part of the presentation because it has interactive features that can help communicate any message. A presenter can use real-time data and manipulate it to encourage the audience to ask questions. The audience can also perform their own research, explore the data by themselves, and engage more in a discussion. A dashboard's interactivity can be exciting with a diverse audience. It can help onboard newcomers, and experts can perform a comprehensive search through the data.

They allow real-time monitoring

Dashboarding allows an organization to run analytical reports without sending them to an IT department and waiting for a result. This helps the organization become more agile because the team members don't wait days or weeks to get any data. For instance, a user can see the results of a phone outreach campaign for a product launch because of real-time monitoring. If there are no results after a week, the company can change the campaign.

They put the data in one place

Using a dashboard creates a central location where a user can access all of an organization's data. This means that its marketing campaigns, customers, and income statements are in the same place. Additionally, if a user is making a presentation, they can do so by using their devices, such as a laptop or tablet.

Related: Decision-Making Models to Help You Make Good Decisions

They help stakeholders focus

A significant benefit of using a dashboard is that it helps the company's stakeholders focus. Using too many visual details on a screen can disorganize the information the presenter wants to communicate. This can cause a user or audience to wonder what's important to the organization. It's essential then to include essential data in your dashboards and not overwhelm them with many KPIs.

Dashboards can make it simple for stakeholders to make adjustments when they see a KPI that's not performing as expected. If a company uses a dashboard correctly, the user and audience know the KPIs on the screen are the most important. The company can also make more important KPIs bigger on the screen to reinforce their status.

They help users multitask

Multitasking can be beneficial to an organization, but it's also helpful not to convey too much data or perform too many tasks simultaneously. This can help avoid making mistakes when working on multiple vital projects. A dashboard can gather all insights from numerous sources and present the information using data visualization. Viewing multiple data in an organized space can help a user monitor several pieces of data simultaneously. This can help empower team members to complete their projects efficiently with a high level of accuracy and success.

Related: Essential Multitasking Skills and How to Improve Them

What are the different types of dashboards?

An organization can use different types of dashboards depending on the business intelligence platform a company decides to use. This can affect how the dashboard looks and feels to the user. A dashboard's application also depends on the user's skill set or role in an organization. The common types of dashboards include:

  • Operational dashboards: These dashboards monitor and track an organization's progress toward a specific goal. It also works as a reporting tool to help the organization see its processes and activity changes by monitoring the performance of KPIs.

  • Analytical dashboards: Many business and data analysts use these dashboards to gain a broad perspective of an organization's strategy. They use this dashboard as a tool to explore trends and opportunities and predict results.

  • Strategic dashboards: Executives and directors use a strategic dashboard to understand what's working and where they can focus their efforts. It provides a clear understanding of what's improving by gathering information from various sources.

  • Informational dashboards: This dashboard provides users with crucial information regarding a specific area of a business. It can also inform clients about the status of a company's goal monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

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