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A BI dashboard, or business intelligence dashboards, is a visual representation of data to tell a story. BI dashboards present complex data in easy-to-understand ways so that users can discover patterns, trends, and anomalies that are occurring in the business.
Traditional business dashboards are delivered through an analytics platform. More modern BI dashboard samples are being delivered through apps and workflows to meet the user where they are working.
Data dashboard examples are made up of widgets, or single units that represent one data category. For instance, daily sales would be one widget. Another widget can represent data for yearly sales, and another would be warehouse stock and another for store stock. All of these widgets are displayed together on the BI dashboard and show the business’s data story. The end-user can use the business intelligence dashboard to glean insights for decision-making.
The first question that should be asked is who is the audience for this dashboard? The goal is to create BI dashboard examples that support the specific user; the one that will be looking at the dashboard. Once the audience is defined, then the KPIs come next.
KPIs can be represented in widgets on the dashboard. For instance, if the audience is the Chief Financial Officer, then the goal is to display the financial position of the company, and the KPIs will be Net Profit Margin, Profit and Loss, Cost of Goods, etc.
The goal is to achieve the best possible understanding of the data by using the right widget. The widgets most commonly used are pivot tables, indicators, column charts, line charts, pie charts, and bar charts. These are selected for their ability to visually display meaningful business information, not to create pretty pictures (although sometimes it’s a side-effect).
A business intelligence dashboard should contain between 7-10 widgets. These can include charts, graphs, line plots, maps, scatter plots, infographics, pie or bar charts, word clouds — anything that can help visualize the data.
It is recommended to sketch out a dashboard design on paper first, starting with the dashboard title, and continue to layout the widgets in a puzzle-like format. The upper-left corner should contain the most important widget as that is where the eye travels first.
If there is an in-house designer that can help with dashboard visualization, then the fonts, colors, size, and other styling options can be customized to fit the company brand.
There are two items that are generally overlooked although quite important, and those are the title of the dashboard and the labeling of the data points. Make sure these items are clear, and unambiguous, avoiding abbreviations and full/total amounts in order to alleviate any misinterpretation of the data.
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