Dashboards are the money making, time saving hero for a lot of businesses. However, it should be known that your business can’t just implement any dashboard. There are multiple different kinds of dashboards that can solve your problems. Once you know what your problems are you’ll know what kind of dashboard you need.
The two main types of dashboards
There are two main types of dashboards: analytical and operational.
Analytical Dashboards: This kind of dashboard is meant to cumulate information over time. The culling of this data over time will give you the information you need. With an analytical dashboard you’re not trying to understand what is going on a day-to-day basis. Rather you are monitoring this data over the past month or the past quarter. Once that period of time is over you are asking yourself, what happened and why? Your analytical dashboard is there with all the answers and to help you with what changes should be made moving forward.
More often than not, these dashboards are being used by business analysts and experts who are in charge of creating reports for the other general people to learn. Basically, these dashboards are useful in helping businesses set targets based on the insights gathered from past data.
Operational Dashboards: Now this is more of a day-to-day basis kind of dashboard. Daily, operational dashboards are managing the everyday processes of a business and frequently changing the current performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). Operational dashboards are used most often in environments where it’s important to act on opportunities and issues as they happen in real time. These dashboards can be used organizationally wide, as they require less training than an analytical dashboard and take away the need for report distribution.
In short, operational dashboards are designed to inform a business what is going on with their metrics in real time. With this data, a business can know whether their performance is on or off target and by how much, in real time.
Questions you can ask to solve your problems
There are many questions you can ask yourself when determining what kind of dashboard your company would benefit from the most.
A few examples includes the following:
What business problems are we trying to solve?
The trends or the deeper insights? (analytical) Or time sensitive KPI awareness? (operational)
Who will be your dashboard users?
Executives or analysts? (analytical) Or your general workforce / LOB managers? (operational)
What kind of goals are you setting for your business?
Strategic or analytical goals? (analytical) Or are your employees aware of the goals and tracking against them? (operational)
How many data sources are you using? Where does your data reside?
Multiple data sources within a single dashboard or set of visualizations? (analytical) Or do you have one data source and you’re looking to improve the visibility of individual systems and applications? (operational)
The right dashboard goes a long way
There are many more questions that could be asked when trying to decide what dashboard you should get. In essence, don’t get an operational dashboard if your are trying answer strategical or analytical business questions. And don’t get an analytical dashboard if you’re trying to track the day-to-day metrics and performance of your business.
Having the right dashboard means streamlining your business and solving your problems more effectively. With more effective answers the more you can grow and better your business.