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Types of Dashboards: Strategic, Operational, Analytical

Kate Williams

Last Updated:  

8 April 2024

7 min read

Have you ever wondered how companies make sense of heaps of data? Well, there are numerous ways to measure and interpret it. But, among them, dashboards have emerged as a crucial tool. But what are the different types of dashboards, and how can they transform how organizations operate?

Basics first.

What is a Dashboard?

A dashboard is a visual tool that brings together essential information. How? By presenting it in a way that’s easy to understand. Think of it as your data’s home base, where you can quickly grasp what’s happening and make informed decisions.

It is where raw data transforms into meaningful insights, providing a real-time overview of key performance indicators (KPIs) and operational metrics.

Whether you’re tracking performance, monitoring tasks, or analyzing trends, a dashboard simplifies the complex world of data into actionable insights.

Importance of Visualizing Data

Turning data into visuals is a game-changer. Moreover, humans process visuals faster than text.

Let me tell you why it’s more than just eye candy:

  • Easy to Understand: Pictures make data simple. They help us get what the numbers are saying without getting lost in them.
  • See Trends and Patterns: Pictures show us trends and patterns in data. It’s like a magnifying glass for important stuff that might hide in many numbers.
  • Decide Faster and Better: Decisions become quicker and more competent when we see the whole picture. It’s like having a superpower for making choices.
  • Share Information Easily: Pictures speak a universal language. They help everyone understand the story behind the data, no matter what language they speak.
  • Remember Better: We remember things better when we see them. Visuals make data stick in our minds so we can use it later.

Read More: Iot Data Collection and Visualization: How to Use it to Understand Big Data

Types of Dashboards: Strategic, Operational, Analytical

When it comes to dashboards, it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. There are three main types of dashboards, each serving a distinct purpose. Whether strategic, operational, or analytical, they all aim to provide a clear, visual representation of data for better decision-making.

Type of DashboardMain UsePrimary Users
Strategic Dashboards
  • Aligning a company’s core goals
  • Tracking performance metrics
  • Executives, CEOs
  • Senior Managers
Operational DashboardsDisplaying:

  • Historical trends
  • Actionable data
  • Real-time information for day-to-day operations
  • Operational Managers
  • Team Leads
  • Frontline Staff
Analytical Dashboards
  • Monitoring
  • Measuring
  • Analyzing data from different sources
  • Data Analysts
  • Business Analysts
  • Decision-makers

1. Strategic Dashboards

A strategic or executive dashboard is the command center for organizational oversight. This dashboard type is tailored for high-level strategic planning. It offers a comprehensive snapshot of the organization’s overall health and performance.

It’s like a unique control panel that gives these top-level decision-makers a clear and up-to-the-minute view of how the company is doing overall.

These dashboards are designed for important stuff – not the nitty-gritty details but the high-level plans and big goals. They show significant numbers and trends that help you make decisions that steer the company in the right direction.

For example, they keep an eye on goals, watch how money flows in the company, and even act like a superhero, alerting them about potential problems.

Key Features:

  1. KPI Tracking: It monitors the significant numbers that help make decisions. Moreover, these dashboards act as an immediate compass for executives.
  2. Trend Analysis: Visualizes long-term trends in business performance. This offers insights into the trajectory of the organization.
  3. Goal Tracking: It’s all about seeing how close the company is to hitting its big goals.
  4. Financial Metrics: An executive dashboard offers insights into financial health and performance. This serves as a vital indicator for fiscal decision-making.
  5. Market Analysis: Includes data about market trends and competitive landscapes. This is so that executives understand the external business environment.
  6. Risk Management Tools: Identifies and monitors potential risks, providing a proactive approach to risk mitigation.
  7. Performance Benchmarks: Compares organizational performance against industry standards, facilitating a comprehensive performance evaluation.
  8. Forecasting Tools: Predicts future trends based on historical data. It is more like guessing what might happen based on what happened before.
  9. Data Aggregation: It’s more like connecting the dots. They integrate data from various sources for a holistic view. This ensures that decision-makers comprehensively understand the organizational landscape.
  10. Customizable Views: The dashboard can be tailored to specific executive needs. The information presented aligns with individual preferences and priorities.

Where It’s Mostly Used?

Strategic dashboards serve as the nerve center for high-level strategic planning and decision-making, offering executives the tools to steer the organization effectively.

Who Uses It the Most?

Executives, CEOs, and senior managers harness the power of strategic dashboards to inform their critical decision-making processes.

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Operational Dashboard

An operational dashboard is like the control center for daily business operations. It’s a specialized tool that gives managers and teams real-time updates on what’s happening in the business at any moment.

It is designed for the practical aspects of daily work and helps track tasks, manage resources efficiently, and ensure that everything runs smoothly. The dashboard is essential for managers and teams, offering detailed insights to make informed decisions and maintain operational efficiency.

The operational dashboard is a crucial asset with instant data updates, process monitoring, task management tools, and more.

Key Features

  1. Real-Time Data: It offers an immediate snapshot of the current business landscape. You get a dynamic display of up-to-the-minute information,
  2. Process Monitoring: Tracks and evaluates the efficiency of operational processes, ensuring that workflows align with organizational goals and standards.
  3. Task Management Tools: It has robust tools for managing daily tasks and assignments. This streamlines the task allocation process and ensures that things are done on time.
  4. Alerts and Notifications: A sophisticated alert system delivers instant notifications for critical issues. You get prompt and effective responses to potential challenges.
  5. Workflow Visualization: Visual insights into operational workflows enhance comprehension. This facilitates strategic decision-making regarding process optimization.
  6. Employee Performance Data: It functions as a comprehensive performance tracker. This is your dashboard if you want individual or team performance data to support effective management and coaching.
  7. Inventory Tracking: Monitors inventory levels and oversees the status of the supply chain. If there is any fluctuation in demand, it ensures accurate and timely responses.
  8. Customer Service Metrics: Imagine a feedback machine that tracks customer interactions and satisfaction. Similarly, the dashboard tracks and analyzes customer interactions and satisfaction metrics.
  9. Compliance Monitoring: No shortcuts! It ensures operations stick to regulatory standards and industry compliance. You need someone to safeguard against potential legal or operational risks. Right? 

Where It’s Mostly Used?

Operational managers, team leads, and the everyday heroes on the frontline rely on these dashboards to keep things running smoothly.

Who Uses It the Most?

The real MVPs here are the operational managers and team leads – the folks in the trenches making sure everything clicks.

Analytical Dashboard

An analytical dashboard is like the intelligent brain of your business operations. It’s a tool that takes all the complex data your business generates and turns it into clear insights, like having a data expert at your fingertips.

Unlike dashboards for daily tasks, the analytical one steps back to give you a big-picture view of your business. It’s all about digging deep into data to find trends, patterns, and intelligent strategies.

This type of dashboard is a must-have for decision-makers. It gives them powerful tools to analyze and visualize data, helping turn numbers into intelligent business moves.

Key Features

  1. Data Exploration Tools: These are like treasure maps for data explorers. They help you navigate through tons of information.
  2. Advanced Analytics: Think of this as having a superhero data scientist. It goes beyond the basics, using advanced methods to uncover hidden patterns and insights in your data.
  3. Interactive Reports: It lets you click, explore, and get the details you need, making data a hands-on experience.
  4. Data Correlation Tools: It helps you find connections between different pieces of data – revealing relationships that might not be obvious at first glance.
  5. Customizable Filters: Customizable filters let you narrow your focus. They show only the information that matters most to you – making data less overwhelming.
  6. Graphs and Charts: Graphs and charts turn boring numbers into visual masterpieces. You get to see trends and patterns at a glance.
  7. Drill-Down Capability: Drill-down capability lets you go from the big picture to the tiny details. It’s like zooming into a map.
  8. Data Export Options: Imagine having a data passport. Data export options let you take your findings wherever you need them – whether for a presentation or to share insights with your team.
  9. Performance Indicators: These are like the scorecards for your business game. Performance indicators give you a quick overview of how healthy things are going, helping you stay on top of your business’s performance.

Where It’s Mostly Used?

All these tools come together for one big mission – diving deep into data, unraveling its secrets, and turning it into valuable insights for making smart business decisions.

Who Uses It the Most?

The data analysts, business analysts, and decision-makers are steering the ship and using these tools to navigate the vast sea of data.

How to Choose the Right Type of Dashboard for Your Organization

While analyzing the different types of dashboards, being confused is quite normal. It’s tricky, I know.

But picking the correct type of dashboard for your business is like choosing the perfect tool for a job. It is that important! Here’s a simple guide to help you nail it:

1. Know Your Needs

Get clear on what you want your dashboard to do. Whether it’s keeping tabs on daily tasks or diving deep into data, knowing your needs is like having a roadmap for your journey.

2. Consider User-Friendliness

Imagine your dashboard is a helpful friend, not a confusing puzzle. Pick one your team can easily understand and use without feeling like they need a tech degree.

3. Think about Customization

It’s like having a dashboard that suits you perfectly. Look for one that lets you tweak it to match your business’s unique needs and style.

4. Check Compatibility

Your dashboard should work smoothly with other tools, like a buddy who fits right in. Make sure it plays nicely with your existing systems to avoid tech headaches.

5. Look for Instant Updates

Like having a live news feed for your business, a good dashboard gives you the latest scoop, so you’re always in the loop.

6. Consider Costs

You must make an effort, just like budgeting for a new tool. Choose a dashboard that fits your budget without sacrificing the features you need. No need to break the bank for a slick dashboard.

7. Get User Feedback

Imagine test-driving a car before buying it. Ask your team for their thoughts – it’s like ensuring a smooth ride for everyone on board.

8. Check for Training and Support

Ensure the dashboard has solid training and support to back you up whenever needed.

9. Think Long-Term

Choosing a dashboard is like planting a tree. Think about the future and go for one that can grow with your business, adapting to its changing needs.

10. Trial Period

It’s like trying on shoes before buying them. Go for dashboards that offer a trial period. This allows you to see if it’s the perfect fit for your business.

Wrap Up!

Understanding the types of dashboards is pivotal for any organization striving for data-driven success. Whether you’re a leader making plans for your team or someone studying complicated trends, the right dashboard gives you helpful information.

Why not give SurveySparrow a spin before you go? Change your data into decisions – sign up now!

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Kate Williams

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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