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Dashboard design July 9, 2020

What is a Dashboard? Top benefits of using it for your business

Computer screen displaying a Plecto dashboard.jpg

There’s this one word that keeps resonating in business environments. You might have heard it before from your boss, your colleagues at work or maybe even read it on your Linkedin feed. 

The point is, this word is now everywhere. Everyone talks about it, either because they have it and they like it, or because they’d like to try it out - or maybe there are even some that hate the idea of having one at work. 

Apparently, they all know what a dashboard is. But, do you?

No problem. You’re about to discover all you need to know, so you can be part of the conversation again. 

This blog post will cover the basics (because first things first) of a dashboard, to then move on with the benefits of using one at your workplace, and also remotely.

Let’s go!

What is a dashboard?

A dashboard is a software designed to visualize data. Just like a car’s dashboard, a business dashboard shows you the metrics, or KPIs, that you decide as the most relevant for you and your business. 

That’s the simplified version. But there is more to that. For instance, the dashboard software works with integrations with different systems in order to take the data and display it on the dashboard. 

Let’s see an example. You want to have a very clear understanding of your sales team’s results and performance. You usually go into Salesforce, the system that you use at your office, and check the closed deals, the meetings booked, and any other metric that you want to know about. 

However, the dashboard is here to simplify that process. For that, you connect it to Salesforce through an API address, and select the data that you are most interested in. 

ipad screen displaying a Plecto dashboard

From that moment, the dashboard software starts importing these pieces of data automatically, and showing it on the dashboard. You no longer need to log into your CRM account every time you want to know how your sales team is doing, because you can just have a glance at your dashboard instead. 

If your sales team is working with more than one system - let’s say a CRM and a telephony one, you can also have data from both of them on your dashboard. The process of importing the data is the same, and then you design the dashboard as you prefer it - with as many data sources (or systems) as you need on it. 

Of course, dashboards are secured and private, which guarantees that nobody has access to your data without your consent. 

What is a dashboard useful for?

We talked about getting an overview of your time, by having their relevant data on a dashboard. 

But that’s not all a dashboard can do for your business. 

Showing data on a dashboard, first of all, makes it more visual and easy to understand than a 30-pages report. This way, you can more easily identify trends in your metrics, spikes of great performance, or arising challenges for your business. 

A dashboard can be the ultimate tool to understand your business. It gives you a clear overview of all the areas of the business that you want to be aware of, in a very clear way. 

But a business dashboard is not only useful for a CEO or a C-level manager, the whole team benefits from visualizing their own data. 

For instance, you create a dashboard for your Support team, with the KPIs that they are focusing on at the moment. And you give them access to it, so that they can check the data themselves. 

You are creating independent employees that can understand their performance and act faster on it. For example, instead of waiting for the weekly meeting with the manager, your Support agent knows what’s working and what’s not, from the first moment. Wouldn’t that allow your team to make better, and faster, decisions?

Macbook Pro laptop screen displaying a Plecto dashboard

Types of dashboards

This leads us to the second part of defining a dashboard, which is defining its purpose. 

A business dashboard can have multiple uses, depending on each user’s preferences and needs. This means that, while you might want to have a dashboard for your developer team, I might need to have an overview of all the departments. 

Therefore, there are many different types of dashboards - although all of them follow the same purpose: to show your data in a visual and easy-to-digest way. 

Let’s mention some of the most common dashboards in a business: 

  • KPI dashboard

As we’ve mentioned, a dashboard can get very KPI-driven. Every department has different KPIs to monitor, so this type of dashboard can be a great solution to offer to your teams. 

A KPI dashboard is very straightforward. It shows the KPIs you’re aiming to achieve, and the current situation towards them. Following your progress on a dashboard helps you understand why the team is not progressing any faster, or that a new initiative they are trying out is giving great results. 

KPI dashboards also have a motivational factor, and is that employees can challenge themselves to perform better at work on an ongoing basis. And showing the progress until it’s reached, certainly creates a data-driven vibe in the workplace. 

  • Project Management dashboard

This type of dashboard, instead, serves the purpose of giving the best overview of an entire project - all in one place. This most likely includes different types of data, data sources, and maybe even different timelines. 

For instance, a usual Project Management dashboard would include metrics like budget, employees responsible for specific tasks, deadlines, progress of certain tasks, and expected revenue from the project. 

This dashboard, above any other benefit, saves Project Managers time. Time that, otherwise, they would have to spend asking the different responsibles, logging in the different data sources, or manually keeping track of the various areas of interest. 

  • Executive dashboard

An Executive dashboard is, often, the one that contains the most sensitive data. The reason is that it’s usually created for the CEO, the investors, or the board members.

Therefore, it contains data that speaks about the health of a business. Common KPIs to display on an Executive dashboard are MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue), Churn Rate, ARPA (Average Revenue Per Account), CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost), or Customer Lifetime. 

This dashboard gives a quick feeling of how the company is doing, compared to data from previous months. This promotes making data-driven decisions for the business, based on the most realistic and accurate results. 

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NATALIA TOBAJAS

Content Manager

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