How to Make Your Dashboard Useful

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Tableau and MS PowerBI are two popular tools that companies use to create dashboards and report results. These applications offer many graphic choices and overwhelming ways to cut and dice the data. It is exciting to see all the possibilities. However, a shiny tool doesn’t necessarily offer useful information.

Creating a dashboard is more than filling a screen with eye-catching graphs and charts, but presenting useful information in an easy-to-understand manner.

There are 3 tips I would like to offer:

First, spend time to identify the information that is useful. Ask what data would be helpful in determining how well the business or specific activities are performing? This boils down to determining the performance indicators that are indicative of true performance.

Second, organize the information. Take a look at the metrics you selected and group them into relevant bundles. For example, for revenue growth, you might want to show the sources of growth by product category and by geographic region. The goal is to collate information that would address a chain of questions that follow.

Third, choose the simplest way for display. Which graph type would you use? A line graph is perfect for depicting trends. A stacked bar chart is good for showing relative sizes over time. Avoid dumping too much information into one graph. Anything that takes more than 1 minute to explain is too complicated.

If you follow these 3 tips, you would be able to make the dashboard useful, easy to understand and provide information that is insightful.

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