Have hundreds of thousands of numbers put you at a loss? Have you ever been annoyed about messy reports from different departments? Have you ever expected to resort to powerful tools to aid your business operation and management? A monitoring dashboard can be your wonderful aid.

1. What is the Monitoring Dashboard?

The monitoring dashboard enables enterprises to monitor business performance easily and effectively. We can see these examples on many occasions, such as marketing reports, production reports, sales reports, and so on. Monitoring dashboards can help us check whether our operations are developing as expected.

All companies have to do to achieve this function is to combine data into a single, beautiful dashboard. Based on this, the monitoring dashboard tool is essential for user processing, interacting with, and analyzing data.

Dashboard monitoring tool in business(from Google)

2. Benefits of the Monitoring Dashboard

By using dynamic monitoring dashboards based on actual data, you can quickly explain how your strategy affects the bottom line of your customers and easily answer questions that customers may ask. In addition, it can also reduce the temporary queries that everyone will encounter to access the same data.

When applying the appropriate dashboard tools, creating a monitoring dashboard does not require you to be a software developer. You can automatically extract data from digital marketing channels to achieve the same purpose. The tool also allows your marketing or advertising team to showcase the tangible benefits of your business and explain to customers what you are doing and why you are doing it.

3. Monitoring Dashboard Templates

Considering all the above tricks of choosing a dashboard monitoring tool, FineReport could be a wonderful choice. Here, I’d like to introduce several monitoring dashboard examples developed by FineReport. They are the pre-built templates in FineReport, which means you can apply them directly with the FineReport Designer.

If you are interested, please continue reading to learn how these monitoring dashboards are developed and how to directly apply these templates.

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Financial Performance Monitoring Dashboard

an interface of financial performance dashboard made by FineReport
Financial performance dashboard (by FineReport)

This financial performance dashboard template developed by FineReport gives you an overview of how efficiently you spend your capital and the main metrics on your balance sheet. Through monitoring the dashboard, you could measure the financial performance and the dashboard could allow all readers to understand the business status in the shortest time.

Cost Monitoring Dashboard

an interface of dynamic cost dashboard made by FineReport
Dynamic cost dashboard (by FineReport)

Dynamic cost dashboard helps companies quickly understand the distribution and usage of costs. Through the monitoring, users can realize real-time updates of dynamic cost data further by data reporting. In addition, the dashboard monitoring tool can also judge the completion status according to the entered purchase plan, and provide a reference for subsequent cost decisions.

Sales Monitoring Dashboard

 an interface of sales analysis dashboard made by FineReport
Sales analysis dashboard (by FineReport)

A sales analysis dashboard helps to gain business insights through the visualization of data. By monitoring the sales dashboard, companies could conduct horizontal comparisons of various departments and branches to provide support for the company’s strategic decision-making. In addition, through dynamic monitoring of targets and actual performance, companies could adjust their sales strategies.

4. How to Create a Monitoring Dashboard?

In this post, I will show you my practices on how to use data visualization tools to quickly design stylish presentation effects. Also, the monitoring dashboard can adapt to screens of different sizes, and refresh data in real-time.

The dashboard software I used here is FineReport. There is a free version for personal users.

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Step 1. Define the Audience of the Monitoring Dashboard

What does the dashboard monitor? If it is to manage factory operations, you can create a production dashboard to view the performance of the production line. But for the sales department, you need to design another dashboard to track different indicators.

An accurate understanding of business requirements is crucial, it will run through the entire dashboard design. It is also a necessary prerequisite for the beginning of visual design. Solving the user’s problems and accomplishing the goals requires the dashboard developers to have a more accurate understanding of the requirements. The direct and effective method is to “ask if you don’t understand.”

Step 2. Create a New Canvas

After the requirements and data are established, the next step is to create a new canvas.

Click File > New Dashboard, to create a new dashboard, as shown in the following figure: In FineReport, you can directly select an existing template or develop a new template by yourself.

The templates I have shown in the article are all built-in, which means they can be used directly.

Dashboard designer interface(FineReport)

Step 3. Select Data Graphics

Different goals and different data are also particular about the choice of chart display. For instance, the proportion of the part to the overall (proportion) is more suitable for the use of pie charts, The graphs that reflect the trend of time change are more suitable for graphs, etc. In short, different data, different dimensions, and the selected charts are different.

FineReport can provide Impressive self-developed HTML5 charts that can be used cross-platform, adaptive to web design, and support instant updates. You can drag these widgets and drop them on your canvas.

Graphics (by FineReport)

Step 4. Connect to Data Sources

Access the data that needs to be displayed. The current visualization software such as FineReport supports extensive data sources.

  • Relational Database: It consists of mainstream relational databases such as Oracle, SqlServer, Mysql, DB2, Sybase, Access, Derby, Postgres, and Informix; and supports SQL data sheets or views, or stored procedures.
  • Text sources: Excel files, TXT files, XML files, etc.
  • Multidimensional databases: Essbase, SAAS, sap, Hadoop, FineCube.
  • NoSQL data source: MongoDB
  • Built-in datasets: Built-in server datasets and built-in report datasets
  • Other sources: Program, JSON, and SAP

Also, it is easy for users to integrate data from enterprise systems(ERP/OA/MES) by FineReport, thereby breaking the information silos in the organizations.

Step 5. Preview and Publish

Visual design is a long way to go as we need step-by-step practice and continuous improvement. To check whether the performance is as expected, we must preview the dashboard template. As you can see, FineReport provides two preview methods, one on desktop and one on mobile. I suggest you debug based on both desktop and mobile previews, considering that mobile reports have become more and more commonly applied.

Monitoring dashboard design and preview
Monitoring dashboard for Insurance (by FineReport)
Monitoring dashboard for Insurance (by FineReport)

5. Tricks to Choose Dashboard Monitoring Tool

5.1 Define the Purpose of the Monitoring Dashboard

The dashboard can be adapted to various fields and different analyses. Therefore, before starting to use the dashboard, you should have a clear understanding of the core purpose of dashboards. You should have answers to some basic questions, such as which dashboards can be used for cost analysis, which dashboards are good for making next-stage sales decisions, and so on. Through different dashboard monitoring, relevant data can be provided to the corresponding departments to help them make decisions. You can also focus on the dashboard to track or filter a set of specific events or maximize data coverage, which helps maximize the use of data.

5.2 Listen to the Opinions of Teams

Employees in various business units are the main users of dashboard monitoring. Therefore, when choosing a dashboard monitoring tool, you need to refer to the opinions of team members. Different work scopes, professional responsibilities, incentive measures, and decision-making frequency determine how each employee processes and analyzes data differently. Therefore, whether you choose open source dashboard software or commercial dashboard software, you need to refer to the opinions of employees in different departments and make comprehensive decisions.

5.3 Data First

Data is the basis for exploratory data analysis, research, and monitoring. When choosing dashboard monitoring software, companies also need to follow the principle of data first, considering the operability of data reporting and modification, and the presentation of data visualization.

5.4 Use the 10-15 Rule

Information-heavy dashboards become useless. You can use the 10-15 principles to choose your dashboard monitoring tool. With the right tool, you can easily browse all important information within 10 to 15 seconds. If you spend more than this ideal length, it means that the selected tool presents too many elements which need to be simplified.

6. A Conclusion of the Monitoring Dashboard

Dashboard monitoring tool helps to monitor and analyze the digital world further to dig into reality. As one of the top tools in the area, FineReport could satisfy all the business needs and represent the future. Trust FineReport to aid your business!

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FineReport provides localized services and technical support across various regions, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, the Middle East, and more. Click the banner above to experience FineReport with a free trial download. For technical assistance, reach out to our support engineers.

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