In times of information and data overload, how do you make data easy to understand? 

Two words. Data Dashboards.

One of the easiest ways to make data easy to understand for everyone is to transform it into visualizations and keep it organized in one single place called – data dashboard. 

In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive overview of data dashboards, why you need them in your business, and how to make effective data dashboards that drive action. 

So, let’s get into it. 

  • What is a data dashboard? 
  • Why data dashboards are important
  • Why do I need a data dashboard for my business? 
  • Benefits of data dashboards
  • Examples of data dashboards
  • How to create an effective data dashboard for my business?
  • Mistakes to avoid when creating your data dashboards
  • Overcome obstacles in creating data dashboards with Data Factory

What is a data dashboard? 

A data dashboard is a tool businesses use to organize and display important information at a glance.

Data dashboards visually track, analyze, and display information in real-time such as various key performance indicators (KPIs), metrics, and data points/sets to help you gain insights into your business’s overall performance. 

Data dashboards connect to all kinds of metrics, data sources, and API’s allowing you to extract valuable information from many places and display it in a user-friendly way.

Here’s an example of a data dashboard created by Data Factory:

Data dashboards vs reports

Data dashboards and reports are often used interchangeably, but they shouldn’t.

Reports are broader in scope, static documents that contain text, tables, graphs, and charts. They feature historic data which means their data isn’t live. 

Data dashboards are dynamic and are built to visualize and organize data in real-time. This means data is being updated in real-time and visuals can show changes from minute to minute. Data dashboards also allow you to manipulate and interact with your data.

Why data dashboards are important

Imagine your car didn’t have a dashboard. No rev counter, no speedometer, no fuel gauge. You wouldn’t be comfortable driving, wouldn’t you? 

Similarly, data dashboards are necessary to help you drive your business forward. Since they’re dynamic, interactive, and show real-time data, they help you get a clear understanding of what is going on in your business and help you navigate sometimes difficult situations. 

Why do I need a data dashboard for my business? 

Data dashboards can provide you with valuable insights to make informed decisions and help you answer important business questions such as: 

  • When do I optimize my website or landing page?
  • Is my marketing strategy working? 
  • Which of my products drive the most revenue? 
  • Is my inventory decreasing faster than last year? 
  • Where is my website traffic coming from? 
  • How are my email marketing campaigns doing?

Benefits of data dashboards

Data dashboards are used to show a comprehensive visibility of data you need to start making your business better immediately. The following are some of the major benefits of data dashboards: 

Better understanding of data through visualization

The best way to analyze data is through visuals. Data visualizations make it easier to identify patterns, trends, and outliers in large data sets. It’s a way to create and tell a story.

Track performance 

Data dashboards allow you to set specific KPIs and metrics that help you monitor the information you need across multiple areas or within specific departments. You may want to know how your Facebook marketing campaigns are going, whether your sales team is meeting or exceeding their monthly goals, or what your most popular product is. 

Real-time analytics

Since they are built on top of real-time data, data dashboards help you identify changes in your business in real-time. If you notice a change as it happens, positive or negative, you have the opportunity to quickly change your actions if needed. 

Forecasting

Data dashboards can help you analyze historical data to understand trajectory, create sales forecasts, anticipate change within markets, notice business trends, and help departments choose the right path towards meeting their goals.

Save time

Data dashboards allow you to spend less time extracting data and more time analyzing and acting on your data. Gone are the days where you had to manually dive deep into files and connect the dots. The ability to automate saves you from a lot of manual work. 

Examples of data dashboards 

Listed below are several examples of data dashboards you can use in your business and relevant KPIs you should track for each example: 

Sales dashboard

  • Customer lifetime value
  • Sales funnel compared to last year
  • Average length of sales stages

Marketing dashboard

 

  • Customer engagement
  • Cost of customer acquisition 
  • Total spend compared to last quarter

Inventory dashboard

  • Inventory turnover rate
  • Weeks on-hand
  • Rate of return

How to create an effective dashboard for my business?

A great data dashboard requires careful planning and thoughtfulness. From the visuals and design to the KPIs you choose to monitor, your dashboard has to serve a specific purpose. 

Here are important steps to consider when building a dashboard for your business:

Know your audience and goals 

Ask yourself who are you building this dashboard for and for what purpose? What do you want them to understand? Once you start thinking from the perspective of your audience and your mutual goals you will be able to answer these questions by selecting the right data visualizations for your dashboard. 

Stay consistent with your design and keep it simple and logical

To make your dashboards easy to navigate, make sure you stay consistent with your labels, functions, filters, colors, and styles so your data dashboard doesn’t become cluttered and confusing. Also ensure your dashboard flows in a logical manner. 

Use real-time and relevant data

Wit so much data to choose from, ensure you pick data that’s relevant to your audience and their goals. In addition, many data dashboards can be automated allowing you to capture data in real-time. So, pick relevant, real-time data for your dashboard.

Choose the best visualizations

With so many different types of visualizations to choose from, like graphs, charts, tables, and maps, ensure you select the ones that best represent your data. 

Pick the right KPIs

KPIs are an essential part of your data dashboards. Select KPIs that help you answer the main question you’re trying to answer with your data dashboard. 

Mistakes to avoid when creating your data dashboard 

A bad data dashboard can overwhelm users with unnecessary information, make it difficult to draw insights, discourage use, and make them completely ineffective. 

Here’s an example:

If you want your data dashboards to accomplish your objectives and improve your business, make sure you don’t make the following mistakes: 

  • Too much information (text, visuals, KPIs, metrics) 
  • Confusing design and too many colors
  • Representing data in the wrong type of visualization
  • Unclear storytelling
  • Lack of focus and context
  • Overly complex visualizations

Overcome obstacles in creating data dashboards with Data Factory

There’s a lot of knowledge, thought, and strategy that goes into creating effective data dashboards. From choosing the right data visualizations and KPIs to selecting the right dashboard design, it takes a lot of effort to make meaningful data dashboards. 

If it seems like too much work and not enough time, let Data Factory know. We can build an interactive dashboard for you and your business and eliminate coding, design, and data visualization skills needed for creating data dashboards. This way, you are brought straight to data analysis instead of spending countless hours and brainpower creating data dashboards. 

So, contact us today and gain control over your business with data dashboards.

Author Data Factory

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