Unquestionably, a successful business relies on informed decision making. However, the ever expanding amount of data available prove perplexing to the most diligent professionals. A performance dashboard is a quick, easily understood reference to the key data points that drive your business. Accordingly, to enable simplicity, dashboarding software uses simple visual ques, such as graphs and traffic signs, to highlight the status of your key performance indicators (KPI).
Performance dashboards present what is commonly known as an executive summary. They can describe customers, that is, present the KPIs associated with a single customer account, regions, or aggregate data for your entire enterprise. For instance, a financial dashboard will likley contain elements, such as profit, revenue, and contribution margin; however, it may also correlate other valuable non-financial metrics such as customer satisfaction.
Performance dashboards generally track KPI through an array of financial and forecasting formulas. To power these formulas, a comprehensive dashboard is interoperable with a variety of data technologies, such as Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, and Google Analytics. Modern dashboards link seamlessly with distributed and cloud based networks to enable real-time data analysis. Above all, scalability and flexibility of dashboarding software is important.
What sets a performance dashboard apart from other types of data presentation is it’s design. The dashboard should fit on one page or screen and provide transparency for the most important KPIs. Commonly, the dashboard will include basic data presentation such as pie charts and bar graphs. For example, simple line charts effectively present data across time; such as, customer satisfaction month-to-month. However, elegant performance dashboards use common visual tools such as gauges and stoplights. To illustrate, a gauge, presented in a similar format as a fuel gauge, can indicate budget consumption at a glance. Likewise a stoplight is a high level abstraction for your project’s health. That is, green is good and red quickly calls attention to areas that may need to be monitored more closely.
Whereas traditional dashboarding software was relatively static, recent innovations have increased the power of these tools through networking and mobile technologies. Modern integrated performance dashboards allow you to set indicators which trigger an alert email when certain conditions are met. Additionally, cutting edge dashboards will provide a mobile experience for smart phone and tablet devices to enable you to stay connected with your data on the go. Moreover, the ability to comment on dashboards through social networking features is valuable innovation which has been added to some modern performance dashboards.