on August 1, 2022 (last modified on July 30, 2022) • 12 minute read
Want to know what separates businesses that are doing ‘okay’ from Fortune 500 companies?
If there is something that connects all modern companies, regardless of their industry or size, it’s the grueling data-driven environment and fierce competition.
To stay on top of their data and ahead of competitors, companies use business dashboards.
Dashboards have unlimited benefits – from spotting trends, extracting valuable insights, and measuring company performance to saving time, better forecasting, and improved decision making.
However, dashboards aren’t a one-size-fits-all kind of tool. There are a few different types of dashboards that you can use to monitor performance and achieve business goals.
This article aims to help you better understand the types of business dashboards and how they can contribute to your company’s success.
Additionally, we surveyed 24 businesses to learn which dashboard types they frequently use to monitor performance, which ones they find the most challenging to create, and more.
Let’s get into it.
A strategic dashboard analyzes key success factors to track your company’s long-term strategy.
This dashboard type checks how performance metrics align with organization-wide strategic objectives, which leads to comprehensive time frame performance summaries (month, quarter, year, etc.)
While creating a strategic dashboard is typically a pretty tedious process, it’s a necessary reporting tool for C-level executives.
For starters, it provides them with a full-scale strategy overview, which allows them to spot issues as soon as they occur and stay on the right track to achieving the long-term goal.
If you design and integrate it properly, it also helps you accomplish KPIs a lot quicker, while at the same time minimizing operational expenses.
Even though other departments can utilize the analysis gathered through strategic dashboards, they are most frequently ‘reserved’ for senior management.
These dashboards aren’t specific to any particular business type. Because of their organization-wide impact, companies from all industries tend to incorporate them.
Here are some benefits of using strategic dashboards in your business that our respondents mentioned.
Related: What Is Strategic Reporting? 4 Report Examples to Get Inspiration From
To get the most out of any strategic dashboard, you should create them in a way that highlights the most important metrics of your specific industry.
For instance, SaaS companies could make use of a revenue trends dashboard to figure out exactly which strategies are driving revenue.Aside from this, you’ll also gain an insight into all of your company’s most relevant SaaS metrics in real-time. This includes an MRR overview, recurring revenue, growth overview, and more.
On the other hand, if your focus is financial health, you can use a financial performance dashboard.
The dashboard showcases the total expenses your company had in a specific time frame and allows you to quickly figure out what is having a negative impact on your cash flow and turnover.
Ultimately, this helps you better manage your company’s resources while moving towards accomplishing the strategic objectives.
Establishing proper SEO is another key ingredient to accomplishing your strategic goals, and it’s where a site performance dashboard can be helpful.
This strategic dashboard helps you measure your site’s response time accurately, along with your most important load time metrics that affect SEO and UX, allowing you to uncover potential areas for technical SEO, website speed and UX optimization.
Operational dashboards are used by junior management to monitor various company operational processes and manage them.
In the vast majority of cases, this type of dashboard is focused on operations with a shorter time frame.
More and more companies are starting to realize just how important it is to communicate accurate data between operational teams and departments, which makes the operational dashboard a must-have in every business.
Nowadays, operational managers can even visually present the most important real-time data and make sure that all issues are quickly communicated to other team members.
This dashboard type is probably the most common in modern companies.
One of the main reasons for this is that it’s very flexible – every business department can use it to monitor and analyze company operations and activities.
They provide great insights regarding any type of process, and most importantly, all of the insights are based on real-time data.
Due to their nature, operational dashboard types typically wind up being examined by experts on the specific matter. This results in quicker action and more granular analysis.
Considering this, operational dashboards usually include far more details compared to strategic dashboards. They can also be used for acquiring operational reports that offer a lot more insight into particular data sets.
By integrating these types of dashboards, departments have an easier time staying a few steps ahead of potential issues.
For instance, an electronics company can use it to track shortcomings, complaints, or returns of their products.
This allows it to streamline the analytics process and highlight high-priority issues in real-time.
Just like with strategic dashboards, you’re better off picking specialized operational dashboards that highlight the metrics you’re most interested in.
Let’s say that you want a detailed overview of your marketing performance. In that case, tracking metrics such as average time on page, bounce rate, average session duration, unique visitor number, and goal conversion rate can be helpful to show you whether the efforts of your marketing team are paying of or not.
Or, you can opt for a sales activity dashboard if your primary objective is to monitor the performance of your sales team and identify potential leaks in the funnel.
With this operational dashboard, you can acquire instant snapshots of your TOFU sales goals, sales rep activity, and more.
Lastly, some companies might need operational dashboards for measuring the performance of their customer support team.
A good example here is this customer support overview dashboard.
It captures all relevant customer service-related metrics in one place, which allows your team to streamline their operational processes and manage them more efficiently.
Included metrics are new conversations, open/closed conversations by agent, number of leads, and more.
Not sure which metrics to track or dashboards to build? Have old reports you want to recreate in Databox? Share your dashboard needs with one of Databox’s product experts and we’ll build you a customized dashboard for free.
Here is an example of what your dashboard can look like… (just imagine your data populating here)
And here’s another one…
We get it. You may not have the time to build out the perfect dashboard before your next meeting.
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Connect with someone on our team, share the metrics or areas that you need to track, and we’ll build your dashboards for you in just 24 hours.
Learn more about our free dashboard setup here, reach out for assistance via email or chat, or book a call.
Analytical dashboards are reporting tools in which analysts create a large number of data sets and use them to help executives better understand specific company areas.
These types of dashboards are most frequently used by middle management.
One of the most important aspects of analytical dashboards is historical data analysis. This is what helps analysts spot certain trends and patterns, make variable comparisons, and set objectives.
All of this is crucial for enhancing your company’s business intelligence strategy.
What’s more, this dashboard type is extremely useful when it comes to simplifying complex data because you can use the visualizations to prepare the ground for analysis.
Depending on which data you want to acquire, companies use different analytical dashboards.
For instance, those who want to analyze vital parts of closed won deals and get a complete overview of sales analytics should turn to sales analytics overview dashboards.
For example, this analytics dashboard includes useful sales metrics such as average time to close deal, customers, new deals amount, etc.
Those who want deeper insights into the factors that affect their website’s overall success will most likely turn to a website analytics dashboard similar to this one.
This analytical dashboard offers a granular analysis of networks, channels, and pages that are generating website traffic and conversions.
Some of the key metrics included are top channels by session, sessions by social network, sessions by the referrer, average session duration, and more.
On the other hand, online store owners can make use of this ecommerce overview dashboard that helps them acquire the most relevant analytic data related to their online business and efficiently measure its performance.
With useful and actionable data at their fingertips, analysts can check out the store’s transactions, revenue, conversion rates, and much more.
Tactical dashboards are the most analytical types of dashboards, and they are used for analyzing the performance of mid-level management.
By monitoring their activities, companies can track how close they are to reaching their goals and create future strategies based on the analytic insights.
Not only do tactical dashboards help with strategic initiatives, but they also make the decision-making process easier for the users.
Due to their great visual interactivity, users can explore data a lot more granularly and extract valuable insights much quicker.
When it comes to details, tactical dashboards provide more than strategic dashboards but less than operational dashboards.
For instance, when tracking a sales target, you can apply a variety of filters to categorize the data (e.g. region and product).
On the other hand, an operational dashboard would be used to compare specific product sales with your competitor’s products.
Because they are so focused on analytics, tactical dashboards typically come with much more data visualizations compared to operational dashboards.
Since tactical dashboards are considered the most analytical, you should pay close attention to which type you use.
For example, companies that heavily rely on Facebook ads can benefit the most from Facebook ads dashboards.
You will be able to keep close track of how your ad campaigns are performing and monitor analytical metrics like cost-per-click, click-through rates, impressions, and amount spent.
This helps determine which ads are generating the most traffic and conversions and check which campaigns have the highest ROI.
On another note, some may find a sales manager KPI dashboard more useful if their primary goal is to monitor sales team’s outcomes and measure the success of sales tactics.
This dashboard tracks analytical metrics such as average deal size, the number of deals won, new deals created, amount closed, and more.
While this example could also be a good fit as an operational dashboard, it’s much more convenient to use it as a tactical one. This is because its main focus is on the sales team outcome, not the output.
For most of the companies we talked to, operational dashboards are the easiest to make, while strategic dashboards take the most effort. However, even though they are most challenging to make, our respondents mostly mentioned a strategic type of dashboard to be crucial for their business success.
When it comes to the actual creation process, most companies surveyed don’t use specialized dashboard software to build their dashboard. Only 6 out of 24 respondents use specialized dashboard software, while 18 surveyed companies lean on several different data sources to build dashboards (like Google Analytics, HubSpot, Semrush, etc.)
Knowing the difference between the types of dashboards is important, but it’s equally important to apply that knowledge when choosing a dashboard for your own business.
When choosing, there are two main questions you need to ask yourself:
Based on your answers to these questions, here is a table that might help you pick out the right dashboard (created based on this starter guide to dashboards).
Imagine this scenario – you’re getting ready for a conference hall meeting and you have to prepare a presentation related to a specific business situation.
In this case, you’re better off choosing a strategic dashboard that will provide the executives with a wealthy amount of high-level data.
However, this doesn’t mean that other types of dashboards won’t be helpful. The dashboard type you choose will always depend on the specific situation, your goals, and what you’re trying to show to others.
When we asked companies to take a look at their total dashboard collection, we found out some interesting things:
Tactical, operational, strategic… no matter which type of dashboard you want to create, you can bet on one thing – it won’t be easy. That is if you do it manually.
Pulling out data from spreadsheets and different documents, categorizing it, analyzing it, and visualizing it – all of this takes an insufferable amount of time (and nerves).
Why go through all of this trouble when you can use advanced dashboard software like Databox?
With Databox, you can build any type of dashboard in a matter of minutes and go on about the rest of your work day.
You can connect a data source, choose the most relevant metrics to include, and then visualize them with just a few clicks of a button.
That’s literally the entire process.
No matter if you build a dashboard from scratch or customize an example from our library, the process takes only a few minutes either way.
And that’s not even the best thing. If you don’t have time to build or customize a dashboard on your own, our customer success team will happily do it for you. To get started, all you need is a free account.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a free today and experience the magic first-hand.
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