Speaking of the dashboard, you may think of the instrument panel of an airplane or a car dashboard, where drivers monitor the major functions at a glance via the instrument cluster. In the field of business intelligence, business dashboards have a similar role. They use data visualizations to show indicators and implementation of key business operations at any time, helping managers make scientific decisions.

This guide will help you clarify the basics of a business dashboard: the definition, features, types, software, and so on. Please feel free to take advantage of this guide!

1. What Is a Business Dashboard?

A business dashboard is a graphical display of various indicators, reflecting the operating status of the enterprise in real time and visualizing the collected data.

Business dashboards dig information from data and present an easily digestible view of business performance to help strategic decision-making. In this process, business dashboards and some business reports could provide executives and stakeholders with key and acute insight into business operations and performance.

Investment Dashboard (by FineReport)

To put it simply, business managers can see all the important data they need to make decisions on the business dashboard. Just like the dashboard of an airplane, it displays the key performance indicators of the company’s operation through various common charts (speedometer, volume column, early warning radar, radar ball, etc.), so that managers can intuitively monitor business operations, and conduct early warning and data mining analysis of abnormal indicators.

Monitoring Dashboard (by FineReport)

2. Features of Business Dashboards

Thus, it can be seen that the business dashboard should have the following features:

  • Comprehensive customization: To tailor your dashboard to your company’s or client’s branding effortlessly, you require advanced global styling options. These options should enable you to modify fonts, colors, texts, charts, and more with a single click.
  • Predefined dashboard themes: By saving the themes you create, you can swiftly switch to another style. Additionally, you can choose from a selection of pre-designed themes in our library that align with the desired look and feel for your data presentation.
  • Extensive library: While you can create your own themes, our software also provides access to a vast library of over 80 dashboard examples. These examples offer specific key performance indicators (KPIs) tailored to various functions and industries.
  • Advanced charting capabilities: To elevate your analytical efforts, having advanced charting options is crucial. This feature allows you to include a secondary axis or combine multiple chart types into a single visualization, enabling you to derive deeper insights from your metrics.
  • Widget linking: Widget links bring together disparate sources of information, enhancing the comprehensiveness of your analytical process. Whether it’s a textbox, chart, or image, these links can connect to related content, such as another dashboard tab, an external website, or a resource.
  • Time interval widget: With a time interval widget, your dashboard becomes less cluttered as there’s no need to include several identical charts with different time axes. This widget allows you to drill down into your data based on various time scales (daily, weekly, or monthly) while maintaining the initial display period.
  • Multiple sharing options: Sharing your dashboard samples is essential for fostering collaboration and promoting a data-driven culture within your team. Our software offers various sharing options, allowing you to determine the level of interactivity when sharing, whether it’s through a public URL for external use or the frequency of automated email reports.
  • Embedded analytics: In cases where multiple sharing options may not suffice, the ability to embed internal company data on your intranet, website, or app can be invaluable. This feature allows you to integrate a dashboard into your personal environment and even customize it to match your brand.
  • 24/7 availability: When your data is constantly live, your dashboards should be as well. Modern BI software should grant you access to your dashboards anytime and anywhere you need them, ensuring availability and real-time data insights.

3. Types of Business Dashboards

So how do we plan the business dashboard?

Generally, the design of dashboard has a specific theme or classification. From a strategic point of view, there are three types of business dashboards from top to bottom: strategic dashboard, analytical dashboard, and operational dashboard.

3.1 Strategic Dashboard

The role of the strategic dashboard is to allow users to quickly grasp the operations of the company, and to make decisions based on this, to summarize the past or to formulate strategic goals for the future. The operations here are mainly those that have happened in the past. Therefore, the strategic dashboard does not require real-time data display, but a simple visual display of mission-critical information. This simple and intuitive information helps managers quickly make decisions and locate and diagnose problems in bad operations.

Smart City Dashboard (by FineReport)

The strategic dashboard can help managers to report results at any time so that departments and companies can work toward the goal in the right direction. It is similar to the cockpit tools of cars and airplanes, which make managers clearly know at any time what steps they are taking in the businesses they drive.

3.2 Analytical Dashboard

Through the analytical dashboard, managers can not only see the surface information but also investigate the causes of surface phenomena. Through data drilling, linkage, filtering, etc., we can start from the phenomenon and find the cause along the data context. For example, why is the sales performance decreasing and what is the reason for the long payment time? Analytical dashboards are more of a service to middle-level managers, who implement strategies to tactical execution. Therefore, the design of the dashboard needs to directly reflect the problems, sort them in order, and correlate the actions to be taken.

The analytical dashboard can be either strategic or operational. The main difference lies in the level of information. It contains a comparison of time-based details between multiple factors and variables.

Financial Dashboards (by FineReport)

3.3 Operational Dashboard

The operational dashboard emphasizes continuous and real-time information reporting, so the timeliness of the data on it is relatively high. It is used to monitor daily progress and output to ensure that the expected plan matches the actual performance achieved, that is, to ensure that the strategic goals are broken down into tasks for each day. Such a dashboard allows us to resolve problems in a timely manner before they turn into thorny big risks and helps to incrementally improve performance.

The design of the operational dashboard needs to start from the business needs, to achieve the reminding, monitoring, and early warning functions of business operations.

KPI monitoring: The monitoring of key performance indicators can ensure that we control the overall operation. Operational dashboards show core indicators in the areas of business, risk, and performance in front of monitors through graphics, tables, etc.

Threshold warning: Another factor that is accompanied by KPI monitoring is necessarily the early warning factor. Alarms can be issued by background highlighting with eye-catching colors (like red, green, blue), tachometers, etc.

Real-time data monitoring: The dashboard of some industries requires real-time monitoring of key indicators, such as exchange volume monitoring, flight monitoring, and subway line operation monitoring.

Intelligent Transportation Monitoring System (by FineReport)

4. Business Dashboard Templates 

There are different templates of business dashboards for different industries and roles. The key information that managers at different levels focus on is different. Sales executives focus on the sales dashboard, and finance executives focus on the capital operations dashboard. From the perspective of industries, the design of dashboards for manufacturing, retail, transportation, government organizations, telecommunications, and catering industries is also different.

FineReport Demo provides a variety of common analysis ideas and templates. It can instantly access enterprise data according to different industries, different roles, and different scenarios. You can learn from the best data analysis practices in the industry, and quickly build a business dashboard.

Financial Dashboard Template

Financial performance is a vital aspect to measure your business performance. In the financial dashboard, key financial metrics are included in the dashboard through visualization. The interface is beautiful and intuitive. Therefore, the financial sector can view key indicators and measure financial performance in a short time and efficiently.

Financial dashboard for business performance
Financial Performance Dashboard (by FineReport)

DuPont analysis is an important way to analyze the financial status of a company. Based on the return on investment as an analysis method, DuPont analysis consists of three parts: profit rate, asset turnover rate, and equity multiplier. The interface uses a pyramid shape to display metrics and data, which is simple and intuitive.

Dupont analysis is very useful in Financial analytics
DuPont analysis

Sales Dashboard Template

sales business dashboard
Sales Dashboard

When looking for a good way to track individual sales performance and motivate the team to achieve goals, sales leaderboards are a good choice. By viewing and comparing multiple sales indicators and KPIs, you can clearly determine the best performers in your team. This will help the company’s future talent training and development. Moreover, a sales leaderboard will encourage healthy competition in your company.

common business dashboard
Sales Leadership Dashboard (by FineReport)

Marketing Dashboard Template

Marketing dashboard contains all useful information on a single dashboard, changing the decentralized model of the company’s manual compilation of information in the past. 

Education Dashboard Template

The following dashboard is designed for schools to manage the return of students to school during COVID-19.

>>> Click here to view more interactive dashboard demo!

5. Benefits of business dashboard

With well-designed business intelligence dashboards, you will gain lots of benefits to operate your business. Several main benefits are as follows:

Make key metrics clear

Metrics are an important criterion for judging the operation of various departments of an enterprise. The business dashboard highlights various business metrics. Users can find corresponding business dashboards according to their needs, clearly seeing business metrics and further assisting their work.

Stick to visibility

One of the vital reasons people resort to business dashboards is the visualization of data. The business dashboard combines numbers and charts to transform a large amount of text and data into dynamic line graphs, fan graphs, and other forms of visualization.


Time is of the essence. In the business world, saving time can bring more efficiency and benefits to enterprises. Business dashboards can present key insights in a more automated and real-time manner, saving employees time in collecting and reporting data. In general, business dashboard design follows the 7-11 rule, which means it only takes readers 7- 11 seconds for them to grab important information.

product sales dashboard is often used in business
Product Sales Dashboard (by FineReport)

Make work less tedious

Boring work is difficult to improve the efficiency of employees. Business dashboards can help employees filter too much tedious information. Moreover, use the directness of visualization to keep employees’ attention. The use of interactive business dashboards can keep employees interested and motivated, thereby maintaining better work performance.

Improve working efficiency

Business dashboards can improve work efficiency. On the one hand, a business dashboard saves working time. On the other hand, the idea that key data is readily available in the dashboard means that employees in different departments can access information when they need it, without interrupting other people’s work to obtain the information.

6. Business dashboard software

There are a large number of software that provide business dashboards on the market. FineReport stands out in the market by virtue of its comprehensive functions and superior services.

With wonderful products and services, FineReport helps its customers solve enterprise weak points and gain acute business insights. Companies that have used the software to achieve further success include Nike China, BBK Group, Dräger Medical, and so on.

business dashboard software
Workshop application of FineReport

FineReport is highly praised by customers.

“In our information construction, FineReport highlights its fast and convenient features. Especially in terms of original data and card-type data display, printing certificates, and conversion file formats, the development cycle has been greatly reduced.”

— Peking University Computing Center

Peking University Computing Center comments FineReport

“With the professional flexibility of FineReport, we have obtained more intuitive and clear decision support in business scenarios such as route planning, sales forecasting, financial reconciliation, and VIP services.”

— Qingdao Airline

Qingdao Airline comments FineReport

At Last

If you want to learn to make a business dashboard, this guide to the design of data visualization dashboards is a good reference. And you’d better use an easy-to-use dashboard reporting tool like FineReport. Its personal version is completely free. Feel free to download and utilize all these business dashboard templates!

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 transform data into value.

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