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July 2021: 4 Questions You Need to Ask Before Building a Data Dashboard

Publication date: 20 July 2021

To call data “invaluable” is for business growth and success, companies must increasingly focus on data collection, analysis, and interpretation. While some businesses still use PDF and Excel reports (which isn’t a dysfunctional process, by any means), others have found that data dashboards are a far more efficient solution.

The greatest benefit of using a data dashboard is that it can be fully specialized and customized to provide information about the entire company and information specific to each department. In addition, data dashboards are much easier to read and interpret since all the data is presented graphically, in a logical manner that is pleasing to the eye.

Even though BI dashboards are far more advantageous than traditional reports, building the perfect dashboard with a multitude of available possibilities can be challenging.

Keep reading to find out the questions you need to answer to build the perfect dashboard for your company’s needs.

The Data-Dashboard Pre-Check

1. What is the main goal of the dashboard?

Before building a data dashboard, it is necessary to decide what the dashboard is meant to do. Is it designed to aid executives in comprehending a well-established procedure and prescribing outcomes, or is it supposed to encourage them to try something new?

For prescriptive decisions, it is recommended to use clear KPIs and easy-to-understand visualizations. It is recommended to give the end-user more freedom and provide a broad set of data and filters for exploratory decisions.

2. What is the main focus of the dashboard?

After deciding on the goal of the dashboard, the next step is to determine if the dashboard is created to showcase the results of a specific task or to measure organizational performance.

If the focus of the dashboard is specific, the best course of action is to keep the dashboard simple. It is recommended to use only a few visualizations and standard KPIs or metrics. If the focus of the dashboard is broad, then it should include more widgets, filters, and drills.

3. Is the data historical or real-time?

Once the goal and focus of the dashboard are chosen, it’s time to focus on the data. Dashboards can either be based on historical data or used to present real-time outcomes.

When it comes to historical periods, it is necessary to figure out how far back the data should go in order to get a good picture of the process in question. This type of dashboard should show long-term patterns, as well as comparisons between time periods. 

For dashboards that present real-time data, it is recommended to add thresholds and indicate outliers. Dashboards of this type are frequently used to monitor decision-making.

4. How savvy is the end user?

The main aim of a data dashboard is to present data in a logical and easy-to-understand manner. In order for that to happen, it is necessary to take the end-user into account. Is the user familiar with the data and business domain, or are they new to the data?

For familiar users, data can be presented as is. For new users, it is recommended to give the visualizations and fields intuitive titles. This type of dashboard can include textual explanations of the data it presents and color-marked values for easily identifiable key metrics e.g. highs and lows.

Thus, it should tell a story visually and spark comprehension among all end users.

Are you tired of traditional data reports that often don’t make too much sense? It’s time to step up your reporting game. TRUECHART fundamentally changes data collaboration and how data is accessed, managed, modeled, and analyzed – powered by IBCS®.

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