Business Intelligence and Data Dashboards

Businesses are becoming increasingly more complicated because of the large amount of data not being properly organized and evaluated. Analyzing that data and making effective decisions can give your business a competitive edge. Business intelligence (BI) dashboards are information management tools that can help a company simplify data analysis. 

BI dashboard advantages include improved data visibility, data sharing, timesaving, understandability and data-driven decision making. 64% of business leaders say self-service business intelligence creates a significant competitive advantage

In this article, you’ll learn examples of BI dashboards, why they are advantageous, how to choose one and the best practices. 

Definition of business intelligence and data dashboard

Business intelligence (BI) converts business data into actionable insights through software. Business intelligence tools offer opportunities to analyze maps, graphs, dashboards, summaries and reports to create a bird’s-eye view of a business. 

Data dashboards allow you to organize, store and display important information. They make spotting meaningful patterns easier when complex relationships between data can be easily misunderstood. 

Merging BI and data dashboards is a no-brainer since it allows you to fulfil the following:

  • Track vital business metrics
  • Keep track of BI initiatives
  • Report progress and data to stakeholders
  • Help with data-based decision-making processes

Interesting facts about intelligence data dashboards

BI data dashboards bring a lot of possibilities t. By understanding the advantages you can figure out how they can be incorporated into your business. The added performance BI dashboards provide outweigh the investment cost. 

Enhanced visibility: BI dashboards typically have plenty of visual aids to interpret data. They must be easy to understand at a glance – especially for those that might not be familiar with the data such as stakeholders. Data should give viewers a birds-eye view of a business in real-time. 

Timesaving: a good user interface should provide the data quickly so users don’t waste time with overwhelming amounts of data. Poorly created systems require added work hours to format reports and give them context. However, BI dashboards automate the process thereby saving resources and time. 

Key performance indicators are easier to understand:  the content provided by DI dashboards creates a story that’s easier to follow than looking at raw data. Therefore, decision-makers don’t have to struggle with comprehending the data. 

Better decision making: context-driven data allows for a straightforward decision-making process. Decision-makers can effectively interpret important data and understand the right changes to steer the business in the right direction.

Business Intelligence dashboard examples

Examples of BI dashboards might give you a few ideas on how you can incorporate such a system in your own business. They might spark your imagination giving ideas on how to create your own BI dashboard. 

Power plant monitoring: you can view the performance of individual facilities, energy consumption and facility availability. Professionals viewing a power plant dashboard can monitor turbine efficiency, plant information and keep track of production ROI. 

Production analysis: metrics are monitored such as production/labor costs, equipment downtime and production. Data is combined so that better productivity can be achieved. 

Online marketing: sales growth can be analyzed using KPI’s. Such systems are useful for managers, marketing executives and professionals that need a lot of data in their daily tasks. 

Hotel revenue analysis: hotel dashboards monitor vital metrics in real-time such as occupancy rates and room status. You can also access long-term data for decision making, which includes marketing costs, customer booking trends, previous year’s performance and customer satisfaction. 

School management: data tracked by school management dashboards include enrollment figures, exam results, graduate rates and attendance figures. Each piece of data can be manipulated to show a story that’s evident at a glance. 

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Website visitor: website dashboards can predict key periods sales are executed so that marketing campaigns can be fine-tuned. Also, KPI’s are used to monitor website performance in real-time. 

Financial management: accounts payable and receivable are monitored to determine financial performance indicators. Primary decision-makers can use metrics such as cash management, profit and gross working capital to make informed decisions. 

Patient health summary: hospitals use patient health dashboards to plan long-term patient health. Patient waiting times, operation success rates and doctor satisfaction rates are just some of the metrics measured. These dashboards provide info on the best way to deal with patient overall health.

How to choose the best Business Intelligence tools for your company

Choosing the right BI tool depends on the individual needs of a business. There is a comprehensive array of BI dashboards that have exceptional features, but you need to figure out if it’s the right choice for your business. Here is a blueprint for choosing the right BI dashboard:

Integration with current systems: replacing current systems to make room for a BI dashboard can cause a lot of disruption and require a big financial investment. Therefore, choose a BI dashboard that can seamlessly integrate with current systems. 

Good user interface: the user interface must be intuitive, clear and allow for fast data interpretation. Also, the interface must be flexible enough to allow users to use the dashboard in a way that preferable. 

Data filtering: you may need to drill down and find relevant data by filtering out what you don’t need. BI tools should come with search functionality, slicers, drop-down menus and filters so users can access the right data.  

Security: Data security is important to prevent corporate espionage. Cloud-based companies, in particular, are prone to security hacks, but nowadays it’s a notable consideration for all businesses. Look for strong encryption mechanisms and backup systems. 

Mobile friendly: the people who need the data most might not have the time to sit in front of a desktop to use the BI dashboard. Therefore, it should come with an app that allows for the same level of functionality. 

Business Intelligence and data dashboards best practices

BI dashboard best practices are a must for businesses looking to get the most out of their dashboards. They contribute to consistent goal success, business growth and better daily productivity. 

Reporting requirements

Identify the target audience the data needs to be reported to. It needs to meet their expectations and technical skills to allow for a straightforward interpretation. You also need to figure out why the report is required so you can include the relevant data. Focus on the data that matters most so that you create an optimal BI dashboard. 

Dashboard types

To choose the right type of BI dashboard you need to understand the 4 types available:

  1. Tactical: these types of dashboards are deeply analytical with data that drills down deep into the inner workings of a company. They offer the insight required to formulate mid to long term strategies. 
  2. Operational: operational dashboards keep track of KPI’s, which depend on the industry you’re operating in. They monitor real-time metrics so decisions can be made that will affect the company directly today. These types of systems are usually less complex since there is a limited amount of data.  
  3. Analytical: here the dashboard provides a lot of data trends to answer questions behind why data takes a certain shape. There is an emphasis on data to be measured against time to see how different aspects of a company evolve. It allows for non-data savvy users to look at different variables to get a sense of company health. Analytical dashboards can be complicated so it might be too much to chew on for users. 
  4. Strategic: here strategic data is offered so that mid to upper management can make strategic decisions for organizational expansion. Data here indicates company health so that it can be analyzed to make decisions on how to steer the company into the future. The data here is not complicated compared to other types of dashboards. 
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Data context: Data ROI and utility is limited if there is no context to data that’s presented in the BI dashboard. Data should be provided over a meaningful time frame and it must cover modern trends. For example, it’s more important to provide info on the top-selling products of a season as opposed to ones that aren’t selling well. There is no point in analyzing data that doesn’t get to the root of what’s meaningful today – not 6 months ago. 

Data should also be up to date so that the best decisions can be made. Old data is not reliable and doesn’t reflect what’s going on currently. Real-time data is not a necessity for most businesses, but data should be a meaningful reflection of current events. 

Online based system: Real-time updates are the preferences of most using a BI dashboard and that’s only possible with an online-based system. Web-based systems have the potential to reach a wider audience and allows data sharing. There is more flexibility with an online BI dashboard that seamlessly brings together data and users from various departments. 

Sharing data online improves visibility, which means users that previously would struggle to monitor data can do so now regularly. It’s important to test the data storage methodology that works best for your business. 

Visually appealing: Simplifying complicated data is one of the pillars upon which BI dashboards are built. Therefore, at a glance, the dashboard should look accessible to the intended user. The target user might not be used to reading data points so extra emphasis should be placed on simplicity and readability. 

Visualizations should paint a story for the data you’re conveying. Providing visual content removes ambiguities that lead to confusion. The human mind interprets information visually faster and more effectively. The decision-making process is simpler when data is presented in the right format. 

Refine the dashboard: The BI dashboard shouldn’t remain static since you can always make improvements. Technological advancements can shape future dashboards that deliver better visualization options and improved sharing functionality. 

Furthermore, your business goals can change and the BI dashboard should also change to reflect. The best dashboard setup is one that’s up to date. Constantly ask users for feedback to see what changes can be made to make it easier for them. 


Are BI dashboards for you? Will they help your company grow? Hopefully, you’ve answered these questions whilst reading this article. To summarize they are a valuable tool for modern businesses to improve data-driven decisions.  If you’re looking for more hands-on help with your business dashboards, Auden Digital provides custom dashboard setup and analysis.

The BI market is projected to grow from $15.64 billion in 2016 to $29.48 billion by 2022. Therefore, BI tools and infrastructure will only improve in the years to come.

You can also assume that your competitors will be getting in on the action. It’s a no-brainer to invest in the best BI dashboard out there to avoid losing out to the competitio