In this age of hyper-connectivity, where an abundance of statistics, facts, and figures exist, navigating data through them can be overwhelming. Fortunately, data dashboards have emerged as one of the most outstanding business intelligence innovations in history. These dashboards can help businesses harness the potential of data by presenting essential information in a concise and intuitive format.

To comprehend the transformative impact of dashboards on businesses, we will explore their precise definition, the significance of dashboard data, and examine some real-world examples. By following this guide, we can grasp the fundamental concepts associated with data dashboards.

1.What is Data Dashboard?

What is the definition of data dashboard?Businesses utilize data dashboards as interactive analysis tools to track and monitor the performance of their strategies through quality key performance indicators (KPIs). These tools allow companies to extract actionable insights in real-time and ensure continuous growth. Data dashboards offer a comprehensive overview of a company’s internal departments, goals, initiatives, processes, or projects, measured through KPIs, to foster growth and improvement.

Online data dashboards provide immediate navigable access to actionable analysis that can boost a company’s bottom line through continuous commercial evolution. Without the existence of dashboards and dashboard reporting practices, businesses would have to sift through massive stacks of unstructured information, which is inefficient and time-consuming. Alternatively, a company would have to make uninformed decisions concerning its most critical processes, projects, and internal insights.

To further highlight the informational efficiency of modern data dashboards, four main types used in today’s business world are operational, analytical, strategic, and informational dashboards.

  • Operational dashboards monitor trends and pattern changes, enabling in-the-moment decision-making.
  • Analytical dashboards drill down deep into specific pockets of information, providing intelligence for top-level trend discovery.
  • Strategic dashboards serve up information and visualizations that assess KPIs from every angle and formulate business-boosting strategies across departments.
  • Informational dashboards focus on a specific process or branch of information and are useful for gaining at-a-glance data or short-term strategic decision-making.
Here is the best data dashboard tool
Data Dashboard Tool

2. Why Data Dashboard?

A smart data dashboard has the capability to provide answers to a wide range of business-related questions based on specific goals, aims, and strategies. By consolidating raw data from various sources and presenting it in a customized visual format, data dashboards can offer a deeper understanding of a company’s critical information, empowering users to discover actionable solutions to their pressing business concerns.

Data dashboards link with specific KPIs that correspond to business goals, enabling users to delve into specific information pockets, establish benchmarks, and continuously measure success. Consequently, businesses become data-driven, resulting in increased success. To learn more about dashboards and key performance indicators, check out our constantly growing collection of business-boosting KPI templates.

3. Data Dashboard Benefits

A modern, well-designed dashboard provides businesses with four key advantages.

  • Data dashboards help track and analyze KPIs and metrics. KPIs are strategic targets that teams aim to achieve to make the most impact on the organization. Metrics, on the other hand, measure day-to-day activities that support the KPIs. For example, “new clients per quarter” could be a KPI, while “monthly prospect calls” could be a metric.
  • Data dashboards allow businesses to turn big data into big value. By visualizing data from various sources in charts, graphs, and maps, data dashboards help stakeholders understand and engage with the data, leading to insights that improve business decisions.
  • Well-designed dashboards facilitate faster decision-making. These dashboards provide a quick glance at the data, telling a story about the information it contains. The best data dashboards offer real-time analytics, enabling companies to analyze and respond to real-time information about their products, customers, and applications as it is generated.
  • The top data dashboard tools enable businesses to embed predictive analytics directly into their dashboards. These AI-powered dashboards allow companies to predict future outcomes based on historical and current data, leading to more accurate forecasts, risk mitigation, improved efficiency, and identification of opportunities.

4. Examples of Data Dashboards

Next, I will give you a focus on commonly used data dashboard types, and show some examples.

We developed these templates with FineReport and have made them built in the designer. If you are interested in these data dashboard templates, you can download FineReport for free.

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4.1 Business Data Dashboard

In most cases, nearly any data dashboard tool used by a company falls into this category.

Business Data Dashboard has four features as follows:

  • Abundant indicators and visualizations
  • Configurable and intuitive display
  • Time efficiency and authenticity of the data
  • Integrated system architecture
Business data dashboard example
Business Data Dashboard(made by FineReport)

4.2 Marketing Data Dashboard

A marketing dashboard is a kind of business intelligence for marketing that resembles a brief and detailed pool of all relevant data about the company’s marketing activities. It is designed to offer users instant and continuous access to marketing performance. 

Here are the main features:

  • an in-depth appreciation of marketing performance
  • frequent and timely course corrections
marketing data dashboard
Marketing Dashboard (made by FineReport)

4.3 KPI Data Dashboard

KPIs (Key performance indicators) refer to a set of quantifiable measurements where high-level KPIs may center around the overall performance of businesses, while low-level KPIs pay attention to processes in departments such as HR, marketing, and others. So, KPI Data Dashboard utilizes interactive charts and data visualizations to display all your KPIs for further analysis and sound decisions.

KPI Data Dashboard has two major features:

  • Check your business operation and the goals
  • Explore the data behind the KPIs and uncover actionable insights
KPI dashboard
Financial dashboard (made by FineReport)

4.4 Project Data Dashboard

Project dashboard, namely a project management dashboard, tracks projects and monitors key metrics in real-time like a car dashboard with feedback to the user.

Here you may grasp two major features:

  • Track the process with real-time data
  • Monitor your team with key metrics 
Project management dashnoard template
Project Management Dashboard (made by FineReport)

5. Guidance of Creating Your Own Data Dashboard

Action speaks louder than words. Considering so many benefits data visualization has brought, you may wonder: how can we operate a good data dashboard tool? No need to worry. I will show you step by step. (The dashboard tool I use here is FineReport.)

The good news is that its personal version of FineReport is totally free without any function or time limits.

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5.1 Sketch the layout of your data dashboards

Before the operation, a demonstration of a design sketch is indispensable since you would thus be equipped with a sharp mind and clear thinking. We may command a fine view of our “miniature” plan. 

It is recommended to refer to the following methods for design and layout

  • Primary information. The core business indicators are ranked in the middle, occupying a large area, and most of them are maps with rich dynamic effects
  • Secondary information. Displays various charts of secondary indicators, located on both sides of the screen.
  • Auxiliary information. The content of auxiliary analysis can be displayed through drill-down linkage and carousel
how to create data dashboard
Design and typeset

5.2 Prepare a data dashboard software

As I mentioned before, the dashboard tool I use here is FineReport. To specialists, its interface resembles Excel so that beginners may get started easily. 

Here are three key features of FineReport distinguished it from other tools:

  • displayed on the dashboard or any other large screens smoothly. 
  • operability to import the data from Excel into FineReport in batches. 
  • real-time visualization

5.3 Create a data dashboard template

After downloading FineReport, open the Designer interface.

Here are the procedures you may follow:

  • Set up the body of the data dashboard

Click File > New Dashboard to create a new dashboard template.

create a new data dashboard
Create a new template (FineReport)

Then click the body and set the Layout type as Adaptive layout and Component Scale as Bidirectional adaptive.

  • Drag and arrange components

As to drag and drop interface, it’s convenient to drag components on a canvas interface to create dashboards without scripting codes. Low learning cost even for non-technical users. By the way, with an adaptive layout, the size and position of each component will automatically change corresponding to other components.

Drag & arrange components (FineReport)
  • Prepare data

Datasets, the 2D data sheets in FineReport, meet the need of storing the data retrieved from databases via Data Connection. You may find a Template Dataset window listing all the available datasets in the bottom left panel. Click the button + to add a new dataset, and then we can write the SQL statement. It is worth noting that FineReport also supports importing data from outside databases.

  • Edit components

You could choose dozens of visual features such as forms, more than 60 charts, graphs, and maps. Personalized features such as map thermal display, dynamic flow display, flash animation, custom fill, etc., bring more fun to data visualization.

Here are major categories:

Line chart — trend

Line charts demonstrate the relationship between two sets of values– horizontal axis and vertical axis, as well as the trends behind data. Double-click the line chart to begin editing.

Pie chart — proportion

Take a look at the Scatter Chart with Line Connections(by FineReport): We are naturally curious why the sales of beer and ice cream increase as the temperature rises? And how to deal with this growth trend next summer?
Line Chart ( FineReport)

Frankly, pie charts can represent data visually as a fractional part of a whole and therefore effectively illustrate numerical proportions.

Multilayer pie chart (FineReport)

Column chart — comparison

To some extent, column charts are the best of all visualizations, as they tap into our instinctive ability to sense heights.

Column chart
Column Area Chart (FineReport)

Button — title

Input the dashboard title. Set the background as transparent and some buttons and edit the font if necessary.

Parameter and button setting(FineReport)

  • Preview and interact with charts

Click Preview to see the effects. With the preview and testing, you can adjust the size of the components again to further beautify the data dashboard.

Preview and interact with charts (FineReport)

6. Common Mistakes Of Data Dashboarding

To ensure your data dashboard is a success, it’s important to avoid certain mistakes during the creation process. Here are five key things to keep in mind:

  • Limit the number of visuals to only the essential ones. Including too many visuals can create a cluttered and confusing design that makes it difficult to extract important information.
  • Avoid using complex language or technical jargon that may be difficult for everyone in your organization to understand. Instead, use plain language and explain data concepts in the simplest, most concise way possible.
  • Follow best design practices to create a practical and purposeful dashboard. This includes providing context, telling a story with your data, being consistent with labeling, using interactive features, rounding off numbers, being simple and straightforward, and ensuring cohesive and consistent colors.
  • Work with KPIs and visuals that uncover a balanced mix of historic, present, and predictive data to get a comprehensive understanding of the bigger picture. Focusing solely on current performance reveals only a small fraction of the informational pie.
  • Use dynamic elements like interactive filters and drill-down functionality to make your dashboard more interactive and insightful. This continual access to intelligence will make your business more cohesive, collaborative, creative, forward-thinking, and internally efficient, resulting in a thriving company.

7. Give It a Shot?

Through trials, users regard FineReport as an ideal data dashboard tool, with a free personal version and a well-rounded training path. It could exert a dramatic influence on the performance of your business. Download and use FineReport now!

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Feel free to make an appointment for a live demo with our product experts. We will be more clear about your needs and see how FineReport can help you and your organization to transform data into value.

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