I asked a group of finance professionals a simple question: "What are you trying to accomplish with your business dashboard?"
The stand-out answer was expected: "We want a better, simpler way to see our information visually."
It makes sense. Everyone wants information immediately. Especially executives. Those overseeing critical areas of the business need complete visibility in order to make the decisions that keep business moving forward. They need business tools that are efficient. Intuitive. Easy-to-use. (The most hopeful among us might even wish for tools that are fun to use.)
That’s where dashboards come in.
Dashboards are powerful business tools that summarize complicated information in an easy to read way. A good dashboard should give an informative overview of the state of the business within a few seconds. However, with endless capabilities and functionalities within them, dashboards can result in information overload.
These three key concepts will guide you to the right way to build your dashboard and keep you from going into overdrive.
- Don’t assume one size fits all. Every man may be created equal when it comes to the constitution but the rule does not directly apply when it comes to dashboards. Depending on who a dashboard is created for, it should contain information important to that person or particular department. For example, a financial performance dashboard is going to look much different than a KPI, executive or sales performance dashboard. Knowing who a dashboard will be for is the first step in preventing overdone analytics and providing unwanted information.
- Identify the essential and eliminate the rest. To build a clean and insightful dashboard you have to know what you want to know. Having business questions you want answers to is absolutely essential. Every answered question should then link back to support your KPIs. If you’re still trying to figure out what those key performance indicators mean for you, I recommend you start with this article on KPIs.
- Continue to keep it simple with customization. Yes, it is undeniably fabulous that we can customize our dashboards like an extravagant wardrobe. But, there is always the possibility of having too much of a good thing. Graphics and colors are great ways to help visualize information and I would encourage anyone building a dashboard to take advantage of them. Just be mindful of what they are intended to represent so that they enhance your information instead of inferring with it.
By implementing these key three concepts you can keep your executive dashboards from showing too much information and not enough insights. Want to take these tips even a bit further? We’ve got you covered.
Continue reading our ebook, How to Drive Your Dashboards Like a Boss to gain an even more in-depth understanding of making a meaningful dashboard.