What is a data dashboard?

Kigu.me loves its data dashboard. Australia’s largest importer of cozy animal adult onesies experienced an influx of sales after a few celebrities were seen wearing Kigu’s product. With this increase, Kigu needed a way to immediately keep track of sales and harness the data. “Six or seven months into the growth and we would sit there just refreshing the orders page,” says Kigu.me CEO Aidan Lister. “It was like, there has to be a better way to do this.”

There is.

Data dashboards in action

Have you seen a data dashboard in action? Not only do data dashboards look cool, they keep everyone in the company on the same page. A data dashboard publicly displays all of your important data in real time, so every department has access to the information it needs to better collaborate.

KPI data dashboard in an office

A data dashboard utilises data visualisation to display a combination of company metrics, and by using an API you can integrate accounting software, sales spreadsheets, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, email, website analytics and other systems into your dashboard display.

“A data dashboard allows you to move in an agile way as a young company when you’re experimenting with a lot of different things,” says J. Scott Zimmerman, founder and CEO at Xola, a company that provides booking and marketing systems for tours and activity companies. “We set goals and have real-time feedback.”

Data dashboards are fluid to assist in the management of information. Through data visualisation, you can view sales, downloads, reviews and rankings. The dashboard also allows you to monitor customer feedback, staff goals and control servers from multiple providers to get real-time alerts. Studies show that when employees know their performance is being watched publicly, they improve their work.

“Being able to have graphs and other data updating live on screens around the office is invaluable in spotting changes in trends and picking up on issues before they become a problem,” says Adrian Sevitz, CTO at Vzaar, which provides video hosting platforms.

Data Dashboards, Big Data and The Cloud

Data dashboards are particularly popular with companies that implement cloud technology to promote virtual work environments. Need last quarter’s sales figures? Just look at the data dashboard! According to Andy Chandarana, who has been building data dashboards for over ten years, as of 2013, the interest in big data has increased seven-fold in just two years. “Future generations of dashboards will tap into multiple, disparate data streams with the computing power to handle the volume of truly big data and the artificial intelligence to make sense of it all,” predicts Chandarana.


Different types dashboards for your data

The metrics you display will depend on the type of data that is vital to your company’s goals. Each department may need its own set of metrics, or may prioritise data differently. For example, the metrics your sales force needs may differ from what the design staff needs, while production and marketing may also have their own set of needs. Data dashboards are flexible that way. The dashboards can be accessible at individual work spaces or displayed on a large screen in a central space.

Data dashboards examples

There are many different types of dashboard you can have to display the KPI metrics that are important to your business, with different types of business dashboard you can create. We’ve listed four to give you some ideas.

Marketing Dashboard

A marketing dashboard brings all of your KPIs and critical metrics into an artfully designed and intuitive display with information streams updated in real-time. Marketing dashboards can coalesce critical information from several tools at once so you can monitor all of your most important data in one place and track your progress, whether you’re focusing on the performance of your mailing list, ad campaigns or content marketing efforts. See an example Marketing dashboard here.


Operations Dashboard

An operations dashboard will help ensure everything’s running smoothly by monitoring CPU usage, uptime, memory across hosts, project completion rates, bugs and more. When displayed prominently in the workspace, it can be a vital tool to help teams react quickly when things go wrong, and provide peace of mind when systems are functioning. See an example Operations dashboard here.


Sales Dashboard

A sales dashboard will help your sales team crush their targets by giving them an instant overview of their KPIs. Focus, motivation and accountability comes when teams can see where everyone stands in just a glance - deals closed, performance of team members, performance by region and more. See an example Sales dashboard here.


Support Dashboard

Keep your customers smiling by keeping track of what’s happening in your support team through the use of a support dashboard. React quickly to issues or bottlenecks and track overall satisfaction with KPIs like open tickets, reply time, ticket satisfaction, top tickets solvers and more. See an example Support dashboard here.


A data dashboard integrates multiple systems and applications, so compatibility might be an issue when you start to build your dashboard. Don’t be alarmed if you have to make adjustments or have to view the data differently. Be flexible. After everything is integrated, easy access to your data will save time, energy and countless headaches.

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