The beginners guide to dashboards

I love dashboards! Cognos, Click View, Power BI, Tableau or the pure Excel and Powerpoint version — I think it’s amazing.

Before even considering what to include in a dashboard, think about the purpose and the strategy of your company. Where are you going and how are you going to compete?

Check out 5 reasons why strategy execution fails if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

In my fairly simple example, say your corporate strategy is to grow and your business strategy is to differentiate through amazing customer support.

Growth — tracking performance vs target eksempel på termometer

Tracking your performance is pretty easy. Have your financial target and your actuals in the same graph. Power BI has a thermometer add-in which is pretty neat for this type of tracking and it doesn’t take up much of your valuable dashboard space.

eksempel på gauge

Alternatively you can use a Gauge chart. This is also a convenient visual when you are tracking performance vs target.

ytd sales 2016 - 2019Tracking sales year by year in a line chart will easily illustrate your growth while the thermometer and the Gauge chart is more relevant for current year (one time period).

Tracking customer support

Tracking customer support can be done through information from you call center.

  1. Number of weekly calls, split into solved and backlog.
  2. Average customer rating (between 1 and 5)

As these metrics all belong in the same category, I want to include them in the same graph — stacked columns for your weekly calls (y-axis) and datapoints for average customer rating (second y-axis).

eksempel customer support

Elegance – house rules

Before you set up your dashboard, consider your house rule for colour pallets, size, legends and so on. Spend some time on this and be consistent. You want all your information to appear elegant and spending some time deciding on proper house rules for your visuals will pay off.

Have fun and experiment with colours and different chart types. Play around with your tiles until you get it right.

dashbord example

In conclusion

A dashboard is pretty simple to set up. But there is substantial ground work to be done before you can show off your awesome dashboard.

It is important that your dashboard not only looks good, but also conveys the right information, to the right people, in right portions — only business analytics people wants to see the whole package.

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