What Is a Data Dashboard? (Plus Advantages of Using One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 10, 2022 | Published September 15, 2021

Updated October 10, 2022

Published September 15, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Illustration depicting various features in a sales dashboard.

Data is an essential driving factor for many business operations and decisions. While many organizations already gather or have large amounts of data, they may not organize it properly or share it effectively with their employees. However, data dashboards can be an excellent solution for businesses to best interpret, arrange and display their most important data.

In this article, we define what a data dashboard is, provide some advantages of using data dashboards, discuss what metrics to include in a dashboard, explain why data dashboards are important and offer tips for creating one.

What is a data dashboard?

A data dashboard is a tool that organizations may use to track, analyze and display important data, key performance indicators (KPI) and metrics. They're effective in helping organizations monitor their overall health and performance and assist with the decision-making process. Data dashboards combine different sources to provide all users with a unified, easy-to-navigate interface with real-time data. They are often interactive and customizable, allowing you to best support the needs of specific users.

Related: A Complete Guide to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Advantages of using a data dashboard

Using a data dashboard provides your organization with the most current data, context and information to assist with making important decisions. Some advantages of using a data dashboard include:

  • Accessibility: Most organizations provide the same data dashboards to everyone. This empowers everyone with the same information and ability to improve the organization's operations and performance.

  • Agility: Data dashboards often include automation features, insuring information is up to date and accurate. This makes it easier to identify areas of improvement within the organization and may expedite the process of addressing these concerns.

  • Convenience: Data dashboards allow you to combine multiple KPIs or metrics from different sources into one location. This reduces the amount of time you may use completing manual reporting tasks or searching multiple platforms for information.

  • Forecasting: Most organizations track, analyze and use data to improve operations and make better decisions. Data dashboards display current and historical data, allowing you to compare the sets easily and better understand progress and likely trajectories.

  • Performance measurement: Data dashboards are customizable, allowing you to track the most important metrics. This provides you with a real-time understanding of your organization's progress with certain objectives.

  • Transparency: A primary goal of data dashboards is to ensure it's easy for everyone to find and understand data. This promotes transparency within your organization, providing everyone with an understanding of its current performance and needs.

Related: Data Analysis: Purpose and Techniques

What metrics to track in a data dashboard

The specific metrics to track in a data dashboard depend on the industry you're in and what you're trying to accomplish with your dashboard. Consider what business questions the dashboard needs to address, how you will organize the information, who will use the dashboard and if the dashboard will be interactive. It's important that you avoid including too many metrics or KPIs because this may dilute the data and negatively affect the overall accuracy and appearance of the dashboard.

Here are some examples of what dashboards for different industries may include:

Customer support data dashboard

A customer support data dashboard allows customer support professionals to view relevant customer KPIs. However, it also provides management professionals with the ability to track certain performance metrics, such as responsiveness and handling time. Some examples of metrics you may include on a customer support dashboard are:

  • Conversations

  • New conversations

  • New conversation volume

  • New people

  • Open conversations by teammate

  • Tag by tag name

  • Teammate leaderboard

Executive data dashboard

An executive data dashboard, or a strategic dashboard, presents massive amounts of data, often displaying data through a graphical interface. This enables making fact-based decisions easily and in real time. Some examples of KPIs you may add to an executive dashboard include:

  • Annual recurring revenue

  • Conversions by channel

  • Goal conversion rate

  • Marketing profit

  • On-time delivery

  • Revenue

  • Trials started

  • Unique website visitors

  • Year-to-date sales growth

Financial data dashboard

A financial data dashboard displays relevant finance KPIs to improve cash management and tracking detail expenses, profits and sales. This may help financial professionals meet or exceed the financial objectives of their organization or department. Some metrics you may include on your financial dashboard are:

  • Closed lost amount

  • Gross profit margin

  • Income

  • Open invoice amount

  • Open invoices by client

  • Paid invoice amount

  • Pipeline revenue

  • Total expenses

KPI data dashboard

A KPI data dashboard displays the information that's more important to your business. Using a data dashboard makes it easier for you to share information with your colleagues or clients. Some examples of business-related metrics you may include on a KPI dashboard are:

  • Average time on page

  • Average session duration

  • Bounce rate

  • Goal completion

  • Goal conversion rate

  • Pages per session

  • Page views

  • Page vies by page

  • Sessions

  • Sessions by channel

  • Users

Related: Web Analytics: A Comprehensive Guide

Management data dashboard

A management data dashboard displays essential business KPIs in an easy-to-read format. These dashboards allow all levels of professionals, including executives and C-level professionals, to keep up with up-to-date progress of action items, goals, KPIs and metrics. Some common KPIs to add to a management dashboard include:

  • Campaign performance and clicks

  • Customer acquisition cost

  • Monthly profit and loss

  • Quarter-by-quarter comparisons

  • Red-amber-green status indicators

  • Session duration length

  • Target revenue versus actual revenue

  • Time on page length

Marketing data dashboard

A marketing data dashboard often provides insights about the performance of different marketing campaigns. This may include content marketing, email, PPC, social media and web traffic campaigns. It's important to select questions that accurately represent current performance. Some examples of KPIs you may choose include:

  • Average engagement by post

  • Average session duration

  • Average time on page

  • Bounce rate

  • Goal completion

  • Pages by click-through rate

Read more: 18 Key Performance Indicators To Improve Your Marketing

Project data dashboard

A project data dashboard allows you to track tangible goals and specific metrics associated with completing a project. While professionals from different departments may update the same dashboard, they may also have individual dashboards to monitor their own contributions to the project. Examples of some metrics you may include on a project dashboard include:

  • Tasks completed by project

  • Tasks completed in projects

  • Tasks overdue by project

  • Tasks with due dates in projects

  • Tasks without due dates in projects

  • Total incomplete tasks by project

  • Total overdue tasks in projects

Sales data dashboard

A sales data dashboard may display sales-related KPIs and updates about cycle lengths, sales funnels and sales performance. This provides sales professionals with real-time data about their targets and their progress. Some KPIs you may feature on a sales dashboard may include:

  • Deals won

  • Funnel revenue

  • New deals

  • Sales leaderboard

  • Sales performance

  • Time to close a deal

  • Top won deals

Read more: 13 Top Sales Operations KPIs To Track Your Team's Effectiveness

Why are data dashboards important?

Data dashboards are important to best organize and display critical data and information. They allow you to understand the most valuable data easily, providing insight to answer questions about the business's current performance and areas to improve. By displaying crucial metrics and KPIs, data dashboards reflect your organization's progress and how long it may take to achieve a goal and make it simple to continue to monitor progress.

Tips for creating an effective data dashboard

Consider these tips when creating a data dashboard:

  • Establish a goal. Set a clear goal for your data dashboard before you begin creating it. Use this as your guide as you decide what to include on the dashboard and how to organize the information.

  • Limit the KPIs. Be selective about the number of KPIs you feature on the dashboard. Choose the KPIs that are most relevant to your goal to avoid providing too much data and making the dashboard ineffective.

  • Maintain consistency. Create a dashboard that's consistent and easy to navigate. Strive to maintain consistency across your dashboard with the colors, filters, functions and styles that you implement.

  • Organize it logically. Group data together logically. Pair like or associated metrics together to improve user experience and make your data dashboard easier to navigate.

  • Think about your audience. Consider the needs and preferences of the people who will use your dashboard. For example, think about if they would benefit more from visual trends or from exact numbers.

  • Use real-time data. Ensure your data dashboard displays the most up-to-date data. Explore automation tools you can use to share current data accessibly.

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