What is a Data Dashboard? Overview, Tips, Software, & Examples

May 29, 2024  

What is a dashboard?

A data dashboard is a live, self-service, exploratory tool that visualizes data to answer questions and help make decisions. Users of dashboards are interested in understanding the data presented in the dashboard. Because data can be complex, a key purpose of a dashboard is to simplify and guide the user to insights.

What is a dashboard in data analytics?

A dashboard is a key part of data analytics. Much of data engineering and data analytics has to do with moving data, cleaning it, shaping it, and combining it. But the tip of the iceberg is something that everyone can interact with – this is often the dashboard.

Dashboards visualize and simplify data, providing an intuitive exploratory interface.

Why do we need a dashboard to visualize data?

Data is complex, and the human brain is designed to understand visualizations and see patterns visually. Without dashboards or other ways to visualize data, people are left with spreadsheets and trying to navigate databases themselves. These approaches are much less effective, wasting so much time that people often do not even attempt them.

Data drives decisions, shaping the future of businesses every day. However, understanding this influx of information can be daunting, especially for senior business leaders who recognize the goldmine of data but grapple with unlocking its value. 

Advantages of data visualization

Benefits of Dashboard Visualization

User Friendly

Data analytics dashboards are powerful tools that are more than just dashboard software; they're the bridge that transforms raw data into actionable insights. Friendly to the user, reliable in delivery, and brimming with energy, dashboard solutions demystify data, making it both useful and valuable. 

Organize Raw Data

With a good data visualization dashboard, business leaders can see data in a new light, combining information from different sources to identify patterns and trends that were once hidden. It's not just about seeing numbers; it's about understanding what they mean in the broader business context.

Derive Business Insights

Whether you're a startup that's just secured funding or an established company seeking new growth avenues, dashboarding tools allow you to dive deep, exploring your data's true potential. The result? Unprecedented insights that drive passion for your brand and dedication to your customers.

Dashboard Software - The “How” to Data Visualization

What is dashboard software?

Dashboard software makes creating dashboards easier. These are often drag-and-drop tools that cover common visualizations. A user creating a dashboard can choose the metrics, filters, and groupings for the data, and then combine those with common visualizations like line charts or bar charts.

Is data dashboard software the best way to present information?

Sometimes, dashboards get a bad reputation. At its best, a dashboard is a live, self-service way for people to explore data, get insights, answer questions, and make decisions. The visual and exploratory nature of dashboards provides an experience unlike any other.

At their worst, dashboards are stale, confusing, bloated, and unused.

Like any technology, its application determines its usefulness and value.

Which software is best for a data dashboard?

Hundreds of dashboard software vendors exist. Some are very high quality, others have weaker offerings. None can be considered “best” because they all have different niches and strengths. 

The best way to evaluate is to gather as much information as you can, such as the Business Intelligence Product Evaluation Matrix by Datateer. Our matrix (a google sheet) takes all the most popular data analytic softwares and rates their features so that you can sort and see which tool may be most fitting for your business needs.

After, contact the vendors with products that best match your needs. Demos of these products immediately make clear where their strengths are.

How to make a great dashboard

3 Key Tips To Making A Great Dashboard 

1. Clean & Manage Data

The world of data can be a maze of numbers, charts, and graphs. But when harnessed right, these elements can come together to form a story, presenting fresh insights and overlooked opportunities. 

Most data isn’t static. Prior to being ingested by BI dashboards, automated data pipelines are created to clean data, check and remove duplicates, and monitor quality for freshness.

This allows senior leaders to tap into the real-time pulse of their operations, ensuring nothing slips through the cracks. The goal is to simplify the intricate, turning your data dashboard into a clear, dynamic, and valuable asset.

2. Pulling Data From Multiple Sources

Every data point captured is a reflection of a business moment. Over time, these moments paint a picture of growth, challenges, achievements, and aspirations. Yet, the true value of historical data isn't just in its existence, but in its accessibility and interpretation.

Creating a great dashboard involves not only curating this historical data but also integrating it from multiple sources. Your data analytics dashboard should serve as a nexus where past information converges, offering an expansive view of business trajectories. By pooling data from diverse sources, you provide a holistic dashboard data view that charts past performances and pinpoints future opportunities.

So, whether it's revisiting a successful marketing campaign from two years ago or comparing product performances across quarters, your dashboard platform should ensure you're equipped with all the knowledge needed to steer your business forward.

3. Shareability

In today's collaborative business environment, the ability to build and share insights is pivotal. But it's not just about having the data; it's about presenting it in a way that resonates, informs, and empowers. At Datateer, we understand the power of shared knowledge.

The first step is to build a data dashboards tailored to your specific business needs but don't stop there. Recognizing the need for collective decision-making, whichever dashboard solution you select should facilitate easy sharing of these dashboards. This ensures that whether it's a C-level executive or a director of operations, everyone is on the same page, leveraging the same insights.

Data dashboard examples

Examples of Different Types of Data Dashboards

Dashboards are most often created based around the user of the data or metric. For example, there’s rarely one “business” dashboard. But there could be an exclusive dashboard for executives who want to monitor data and metrics across every department. 

That executive dashboard is an amalgamation of the top KPIs for said departments. Each department may have its own dashboard for:

  • Sales
  • Customer service
  • Operations
  • Inventory
  • Marketing data
  • Etc

Conclusion

In today's fast-paced business landscape, the right dashboard tool can make all the difference. Tailored data assets, including dashboards, enable your team to tap into both current trends and historical insights, ensuring decisions are always informed. Every team member, from marketing to operations, can now harness data effectively, pinpointing opportunities and crafting strategies.

Datateer excels in creating and managing data dashboards tailored to each business's unique needs. Whether you're an ambitious startup or a seasoned business, our approach ensures that data is not just accumulated but is made actionable and shareable. With our expertise, everyone from C-level executives to operations directors can make informed decisions, grounded in clear insights. At Datateer, we don't merely offer dashboard software; we're experts in building and managing data assets. 

What Clients Say About Datateer Data Dashboard (Visualization) Services

"We created 100 different metrics very relevant to our customers. We have seen significant growth in our key accounts."

data analytics example

Paul Harty

Chief Strategy Officer @ Motion Recruitment

"Datateer understood our data and consolidated all that information in a way that dramatically improved the speed and quality of client conversations."

Devin Mulhern

Devin Mulhern

Managing Director @ Denver South Economic Development Partnership

Contact Datateer


Adam Roderick

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About the Author

Adam's tech career spans startups to global firms, touching finance, tourism, e-commerce, and consulting. Spotting a way to give small- and medium-sized companies an advantage with data, he founded Datateer to democratize analytics. He values relentless progress, simplifying complexity, and putting people first.

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