Ask The Expert: Article

Q: What are executive dashboards and how can I use them to improve my business?
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Dashboards can be a powerful tool for executives.  Transparency into the organization via timely and easily digestible data can have far reaching impact, including better decision making, increased accountability, and increased efficiency.

Quality of data inputs, dashboard design and management practices related to dashboards all impact their effectiveness within an organization.  This brief article outlines the design factors that contribute to the successful implementation of executive dashboards. Figure 1 lays out ten best practices for executive dashboard design. These best practices include strategic considerations as well as tactical guidelines.

Even if your company has invested in an automated dashboard or data visualization tool, it’s still critical to understand these underlying design principles. Dashboard design is in fact tool-agnostic.  Whichever system you choose for your dashboard, implementing it with optimal design techniques will take some forethought and work to ensure your return on investment.

Of course, the other two implementation factors – quality of data inputs and management practices – must also be taken into consideration as dashboards are designed.  Data accuracy, timeliness and completeness is critical to ensuring a dashboard is a reliable and valued source of insights. Management practices such as consistent usage of dashboard information by executives and managers and user testing and optimization by dashboard owners also contribute to the successful adoption of a well-designed dashboard.


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