Dashboard Definition

Dashboard software, sometimes referred to as digital dashboards or data dashboards, is often analogized to the dashboard in a car. This analogy is a starting point, but it is far from capturing all the ideas embedded in dashboard software. On a high level, dashboard software is a versatile visual app that converts data into useful information.

Continue reading below to learn more about dashboards
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What Are the Benefits of a Dashboard?

Dashboard software's primary benefit comes from its easy-to-understand, easy-to-use nature. When first presented, most likely in a web app, summarized key performance indicators (KPI) are presented in a single page. The visual nature of the interactive charts allows users to effortlessly answer the most important questions.
Some common examples of questions a summary dashboard answers are:

  • How many new customers won?
  • What products are selling the most?
  • Where are marketing leads coming from?
  • Is there any relevant trending in social media?
  • At what rate is the customer service center responding to and resolving customer issues?

After reviewing KPIs, business users can further benefit from dashboard software's interactive analytic ability. In-place analysis, drilldown paths, and team collaboration are visually driven processes that require no special skills to master.

marketing department dashboard example

What is a Dashboard Used For?

Dashboard software is used by executives, managers, analysts and frontline business users for monitoring, reporting, and analysis. Dashboards for different business purposes are commonly created for different target audiences.

What is an Executive Dashboard?

An executive dashboard, also called a management dashboard, provides an overview of the business at a glance. Executive dashboards tend to draw data from finance, sales, marketing and operations data sources to present KPIs in gauges and charts. In-dashboard analysis and drilldown to sub-level dashboards are also important ways to enable executives to gain a full understanding of the drivers underlying the KPIs.
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What is a Performance Dashboard?

A performance dashboard's users are executives and managers. The data scope of a performance dashboard depends on the audience. Built-in performance goals in a performance dashboard distinguish it from other type of dashboards.
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What is a Marketing Dashboard?

In an increasingly cloud-powered marketing environment, marketing dashboards offer the ability to connect, mashup and analyze a diversified data portfolio. With visualization dashboards, marketers can quickly measure campaign performance and identify trends.
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More Dashboard Definitions

What is a Sales Dashboard?

As a business' sales channels become a mixture of online and offline sales, sales dashboards offer managers a holistic view of their channels, teams and product mixtures. For sales team members, flexible online dashboards that mashup CRM and other customer data will allow them to quickly push forward deals in the pipeline.
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What is a Project Dashboard?

A project dashboard is a live dashboard that coordinates timelines and deadlines. As cloud apps proliferate, project dashboards with Gantt charts are no longer sufficient. They must also connect to live data from various other app data such as requests and issue tracking. Essentially, a project dashboard should be display status tracking as well as actionable items.
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What is a Performance Management Dashboard?

A performance management dashboard ensures a business's processes are running smoothly and efficiently. These functions can range from accounts receivable management in Finance to call center management in Customer Service. Performance management dashboards often need to be live dashboards where visual components are continuously updated with fresh data automatically.
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What is an Asset Management Dashboard?

An asset dashboard helps enterprise asset managers track asset statuses as well as associated work. For example, an inventory dashboard is one type of asset management dashboard. As enterprise assets consist of physical assets as well as digital assets, an asset dashboard must be able to tap into widely different data sources.
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What are the Different Types of Dashboards?

The usage scenario of dashboard application dictates its type. Answering these questions can help pinpoint the type:

  • Who are the primary consumers for the dashboard?
  • What data is necessary and how many data sources are connected?
  • How many dashboards will satisfy different audiences?
  • What usage pattern do the different user groups have?

What is a KPI dashboard?

A KPI dashboard focuses on Key Performance Indicators with a high level summary. Because executives and managers depend on multiple KPIs, KPIs should be presented with minimum visual interference. For example, labels should be shown via mouse-overs so that the gauge or chart is easily read. However, interaction and drilldown must be enabled so that the users can easily dig deeper and learn the details.
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What is a Monitoring Dashboard?

A monitoring dashboard is most often a live dashboard. Sometimes, such a live dashboard is displayed on large monitors, sometimes called TV dashboards. Besides live data updates, multiple monitoring dashboards are often shown in a loop when visual real estate is limited. Stakeholders also need to have the ability to access the monitoring dashboards from various devices such as mobile phone and desktops. When issues are indicated, responsible parties need to be able to interact and drilldown to address the anomalies.
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What is an Analytic Dashboard?

An analytic dashboard focuses on rich interactive functions. For example, a time-based comparison such as this year vs previous year is a common and simple analytic function. Furthermore, it is critical for an analytic dashboard to allow access to lower data layers so that ad hoc data analysis is possible.
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What is an Operational Dashboard?

An operational dashboard replaces many traditional reporting functions. It's often utilized by a wide range of frontline business users in their daily operation. Detail level data access is crucial for an operational dashboard. For example, a marketing associate can use an operational dashboard to prioritize daily leads to follow-up with.
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What is the Difference Between Business Intelligence (BI) and Dashboarding?

Business intelligence software encompasses technology that stores, transforms and mashes up raw data into actionable, information for business users. A traditional BI environment roughly consists of data warehouses, ETL (extraction, transformation and loading data) processes, and analytic and reporting tools.
Dashboard software can be classified as dashboard apps and the dashboard platform.

What is a Dashboard App?

A dashboard app serves as the visual layer of BI. When data is small and well organized for reporting, a dashboard app could be sufficient. Otherwise, it relies on other BI tools to do the heavy lifting data work.

What is a Dashboard Platform?

A dashboard platform goes beyond the visual layer. It also compresses data warehouse and ETL functions into a light-weight platform for agile deployment. This compact platform reduces technical skill requirements and empowers business users with rich self-service via visual dashboards.