What is a BI dashboard?
It is a data visualization and analysis tool which displays KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that are tracked by businesses to measure their performance to generate insights. The dashboard design consolidates graphs, charts, and other visual tools to provide the reader a visually attractive insight into their business based on the data that is captured.
BI dashboards have a lot of features, mainly a customizable interface, interactivity with data, and the ability to pull in data from a variety of sources. It allows the user to visualize complex data, thereby allowing them to process it and get an overview of the business performance over different periods.
Key benefits of a BI dashboard:
1. Better operational efficiency:
Since BI tools unifies multiple data sources, it reduces the amount of time your managers and leadership team take to gather information or reports. You will be able to use a set of data points to find out how that affected your business. It can be done in a matter of seconds if you have used the right set of data. The business will be able to analyze the impact of its decisions in real-time, and they can make any changes based on its performance.
To ensure that you get maximum ROI from BI dashboards, you need accurate data during all stages of the process. By getting access to real-time data, it will provide insights on how the business is performing. All the decisions are based on data since they are coming directly from the business, and there is no guesswork involved.
3. Identify trends:
BI dashboards allow businesses to identify and analyze positive trends based on a variety of business activities. You will also be able to isolate negative trends, thus averting what could have been a grave danger to your business prospects.
4. Better customer satisfaction:
The BI dashboard can help businesses understand customer behaviours and patterns. It will help you reduce the churn rate and increase loyalty when you are taking decisions based on what is happening in real-time.
5. Competitive analysis:
BI dashboards allows you to manage and manipulate a large amount of data, helps you budget, plan and forecast, all of which are incredible ways to stay ahead of the competition. It is well beyond what standard analysis does, and is also much easier to perform with the help of BI dashboards. You can also track the sales and marketing performances of your competitors.
Best practices to keep in mind while designing a BI dashboard
1. Identify requirements:
The main objective behind using a BI dashboard is to arrive at data-driven answers to questions that plague your business. The first step is to identify what are the types of information that you should include on the dashboard.
Here are a few questions that you should ask before you start designing your BI dashboard
a) What is the purpose of creating this dashboard?
b) What problem are you trying to solve?
c) What is the data that you require to make a business decision?
d) What kind of device will your internal team use to access the dashboard?
e) Which are the metrics that you plan to use?
f) What are the reports that you have already generated?
g) What action do you plan to take based on the results?
h) Who are the stakeholders responsible for taking action?
i) Who will assess the success of the exercise?
2. Know your dashboards:
There are different types of dashboards and choosing the right one will allow you to make informed decisions.
Analytical dashboards– This type of dashboard provides detailed data analysis with regards to data trends. It measures data variables with respect to time (week, month, year, etc).
Operational dashboards– This type of dashboard focuses on KPIs, and varies depending on industry and audience. Since they are more focused on real-time data, they contain less complex data.
Strategic dashboards– It identifies opportunities for organizational expansion. While it aggregates key organizational indicators, the reason is to inspire an independent analysis on how to improve the business strategically.
Tactical dashboards– Usually used by the mid-level management, they tend to go deep down into various areas of the company’s internal processes.
3. Concentrate on design; avoid clutter:
Once you are aware of the kind of dashboard that you want to implement, the next step is to create an efficient design for your dashboard. While visually appealing is one thing that you need to keep in mind during the design process, ensure that you do not overburden the viewer with loads of data. Most varieties of data are only going to add to the clutter, and are going to turn away the focus from things that really matter.
4. Choose the right visualizations:
We are more attuned to visual information than textual bytes of information. So when you are working with dashboard data, you want to design it in such a way that it resonates with them on a deep level.
Here are a few questions that you need to ask before deciding on your data visualization graphs:
- What kind of story do you want to tell with your data and what message would you like to convey to your audience?
- Who do you want to tell it to?
- Are there particular trends that you are looking to analyze? (Columns charts/Area charts/Line charts)
- Would you like to showcase the composition of your data? (Stacked charts/Waterfall charts/Pie charts/Map-based graphs)
- Would you like to compare two or more sets of values? (Spider charts/Bubble charts/Bar charts/Scatter plots/Columned visualizations)
- Is the data you are looking for time-sensitive? (Dynamic line charts/Bar graphs)
- How would you like to showcase your KPIs?
5. Provide context to the data:
Data by itself doesn’t make any sense. There needs to be context, and without it, no one will be able to figure out the dashboard, no matter how attractive it is. For example, if your dashboard is monitoring the number of conversions from your mobile app, it will be useless if there is no time frame attached to this number. Did they make 823 sales in a year? Was it a week? Or in a month’s time? Including historical data as well as it adds an easy way to answer these questions. Providing contextual data is usually the difference between an effective dashboard and an ineffective one.
6. Add interactivity:
Interactive dashboards are the best way to present information, especially those that involve a lot of data points. It engages end-users, not only will they be more attentive, but they will also end up understanding the dashboard more clearly. An interactive dashboard allows the end user to explore it for themselves. By changing the data and using a variety of filters, they will be able to come up with deeper insights.
Below are some of the features in a BI dashboard that makes it interactive:
- Chart Zoom
- Show/Hide charts
- Ability to grab real-time metrics
- Variety of filters
- Drill-down for more details
- Widgets for time interval
- Mobile/Web responsiveness
7. Use storytelling:
No matter which industry you are in, storytelling is a powerful way to share the findings from your BI dashboard. Creating a compelling story will not only capture the attention of the audience, but they will also be able to understand the meaning behind the data and what the visuals say. Work on a KPI-driven storytelling effort and you will be able to see the impact immediately.
BI dashboards are easy to create, easy to use and understand. They are designed to help you make business decisions that will impact you positively. It minimizes the potential for human error, isolate negative trends, and even offer predictive insights. When you combine business goals with data, it has the potential to transform your business entirely- that’s what BI dashboards can do.
Get in touch with Zuci’s business intelligence experts who cover the entire gamut of BI solutions like analytics, data management, reporting tool, dashboard, and consulting.