2008 Best Excel Dashboard

Excel Dashboard Update:

New tutorial walks you through the design, architecture and construction of this Microsoft Excel dashboard:

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Click here to see the Excel Dashboard Tutorial details.

Excel dashboards submitted as candidates for the best 2008 Excel dashboard design contest run by BonaVista Systems have been evaluated.

Wade Stokes is the winner of the best excel dashboard with his entry of this International Bank Dashboard. Click on the dashboard screenshot to enlarge the image and you’ll see a dashboard that make efficient use of screen real estate through incorporation of the popular sparkline graphic:

Winner of Best 2008 Excel Dashboard Competition

Click on the “read more” link to read some commentary by the dashboard designer:

What do  you think of this dashboard? Is this the best Excel Dashboard of 2008?

I’ll feature some other Excel dashboards that were beat by this entry and we’ll discuss in a future post, but feel free to give your thoughts and comments here.

Meanwhile, here is a quote from Wade:

When I took over a CFO position a couple of years ago, I found a company ruled by PowerPoint.  The company controller was spending inordinate amounts of time preparing for the country board 25-page PowerPoint presentations on the monthly results, and we spent hours arguing over numbers rather than discussing the business. 

At the time, I had just read Lou Gerstner’s autobiography, in which he described how he resuscitated IBM.  In one key scene early in the book, just after taking the CEO position, Lou Gerstner leaned over at the beginning of one presentation from a division head, turned off the projector machine, and asked something like, “Why don’t we just talk about your business?”

In my position, I felt just the same.  I wanted to talk about the business, not argue on numbers rolling off an endless procession of slides.  So, we needed to get all the main monthly numbers for our bank on one A3 or A4 piece of paper so that we could talk about our business, not argue on the details.  On the dashboard I did not include the banking specific KPIs on asset-liability management or treasury issues since they were covered in a different regular meeting – my focus was on the country boards, which was comprised of the business unit heads and the heads of support groups.

Now, I have been a fan of information visualization since my sister gave me Edward Tufte’s first book in 1989, and I had found MicroCharts from reading Stephen Few’s blog where he described the winning entry in a contest from a few years ago.  So, needing a quick start, I started playing with this tool.  In the dashboard, I incorporated a number of graphs I think I got from Charles Kyd’s e-book on dashboards (http://www.exceluser.com/), but I also used a basic layout from Timothy Dearden of Morgan Stanley that I saw at a budgeting conference in Amsterdam. The result came together in a couple of weeks between other projects.

I do have to admit that it didn’t stem the PowerPoint tide dramatically – our operations still live and breathe slides.  However, though I have taken a new job, I think the report is still “live”, and I do think that a number of the themes and tools (sparklines, small multiples, high data-ink ratios) have started to catch hold and are infiltrating throughout the group’s reporting.

Wade Stokes has been working as the Head of the Change Management Office, Baltic Banking, in the Swedbank Group, for the past year.  Prior to this he worked as the CFO of one of the Baltic banks within Swedbank.   A U.S. citizen, during the past fifteen years, Wade has worked as CFO for a number of mobile telecommunications companies in the Baltics, Russia, and Denmark.

Use Excel to create zero cost dashboards

More info on the other entries coming soon. As BonaVista explains:

Hi Dash,

After much deliberation and debate, we are pleased to announce the winners of the
2008 Excel Dashboard Competition.


We were impressed by many of the entries, and thanks to all of you who entered. It’s
good to see MicroCharts being put to effective use, and adding value in such a
variety of business scenarios and sectors. We had entrants from a broad range of
industries including Banking, Insurance, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas and

The winners are:

1)      Wade Stokes –  Bank Dashboard

2)      Jim Uden – Outpatient Surgery Center Dashboard

3)      Hitesh Patel  – Pharmaceutical Sales Dashboard

Congratulations to all 3 of our winners. Have a look at our
competition page for screenshots and some background on the winning entries.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be analyzing the entries in more depth at

We’ll overview each, cover some of the techniques used, and hopefully suggest some
further improvements.

Kind Regards,
Andreas Lipphardt

Here is the second place dashboard – Outpatient Surgery Center Dashboard

Update: Visit Volume 2 of Dashboards by Example for more Excel Dashboards. See this post on Excel Dashboard Tutorials: Excel Dashboards

8 thoughts on “2008 Best Excel Dashboard

  1. Congratulations Wade – this is a nice accomplishment!

    The individual graphs in this dashboard are clear & concise, and the layout looks pretty good!

    One potential improvement — I think this might be “too much information” for a single page (I can’t even fit the whole thing on my 1280×1024 screen!)

    I would suggest breaking it down into 2 or 3 smaller dashboards, and if there is a need to tie it all together, then maybe do an “overall/summary” dashboard, which lets you drilldown to the more detailed ones.

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  6. How can I submit my HIV AIDS dashboard for competition? and what is the benefit to compit?

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