An employee or a business decision-maker in an organization might have to log into several tools, such as the CRM [Customer Relationship Management], email system, business or web analytics screen, accounting software etc., at the same time. And it makes it a bit insensible to log to all of those individually and shuffle between as and when you need.
That’s where executive dashboards come in, as a saving grace.
The executive dashboards connect to these all these tools and brings them together and projects it in a unified way for an executive.
- Offers great visibility of multiple tools/softwares under a single screen
- Allows to measure and improve on aspects of businesses
- Saves a lot of time
- Employees can view their performance metrics and work on them to improve it
- Compare goals of your business plan with results achieved
However, the purpose of having dashboards go way beyond than just displaying information. So, it calls for careful planning before building a dashboard.
Here are 7 important and must-have elements in your executive dashboard.
1. It should be flexible and iterative right from the start
Designers tend to assume that businesses know everything upfront. Its natural to believe so, however, there are instances even they are unsure of what exactly they wanted. After you have sweated heavily designing the dashboard, pat comes the reply that what they were looking for is missing. The smart way to deal with this kind of scenario is to:
- Adopt a flexible design approach
- Get constant feedbacks from the client
- Refine the design till it is flexible enough to allow the dashboard to evolve
2. Less data is more
When a spectacular looking dashboard is being designed, it is tempting to stuff it with all kinds of data. Stuffing more data is a mistake, as this could make the dashboard look clumsy, confusing and ineffective. Don’t cram data, instead figure out a way to incorporate relevant cognizant data to highlight insights quickly and precisely.
3. Breathe life into it through colors
It has become universal that numbers or blocks highlighted in red generally signifies losses or something that needs attention. Colors play a powerful role in dashboards. As a business, where dashboards play a crucial role is relaying key metrics, ensure that you use right color schemes and combinations to accentuate metrics, KPIs, Targets, Insights etc. By using right colors to relay information makes the lives of both, business decision-makers and users, easy.
Image Source: rstudio.github Image Source: Infocaptor
See how colorful dashboards make all the difference
4.One size doesn’t fit all
Business people in an organization require diverse information, and getting them all under one dashboard is a blessing for them. But to create that kind of dashboard it is important to interact with as many groups as possible while creating it.
- A word of advice for designers: Involve many business groups of an organization to know what details they want to see in their dashboard.
- And a word of advice for business decision-makers: Allow many groups to interact with the designer(s) to build a solid and effective dashboard that fulfils the needs of the diverse groups.
5. Make it interactive
Though the purpose of a dashboard is to provide bird’s-eye-view and a holistic glance at the enterprise functionality, an effective dashboard is the one that also lets users interact and drill down when needed.
For example, if it showcases product or sales metrics, it should also allow users to drill down to view and analyze raw data, product performance detail areas, etc., to compare with the existing data.
By providing drill down option you facilitate users to get high-level insights and open up a possibility to analyze and review further details.
6. It should showcase real-time data
Businesses evolve and fluctuate constantly, so does their performances. A dashboard should not function as a report [which showcases historical data], instead it should function as a powerful real-time data engine.
Make your dashboard a platform that offers precise, lucid, and real-time information about what’s happening in an organization at the moment.
Image Source: Nexuweb
7. Let it provide actionable information
Many assume that dashboards are meant to only display information. Well, that’s just a part of it. Dashboards should go beyond that and provide actionable information. No dashboard is complete if it does not prompt users to take action based on the insights it provides. An effective dashboard is the one that allows business people to monitor, measure and act on the insights. Develop a dashboard that provides you actionable data.