What are enterprise dashboards? Well, dashboards are simple-to-understand, visually-oriented depictions of the current state of the metrics and key performance indicators of most importance to your business. Of course, they borrow from the “cockpit” or “dashboard” metaphors that are so easy to “get”.
Here’s a screenshot of a typical dashboard:
Nice layout, right? Do you want a copy of the HTML for it? It will save your developers weeks of tweaking code. To get a free copy of the html template, just sign up for my newsletter. Use the form to the side of this post. There’s no cost and I’ll send you 2 other cool layouts as well.
Business dashboards have become the universal front-end of business intelligence. From the production line worker on the manufacturing plant floor, to the sales force in the field, and all the way up to the CEO and CFO in the boardroom, everyone gets their metrics served through a dashboard these days. All enterprise reporting software use the dashboard layout as the home page view of the data. The business intelligence dashboard is easy to embrace, popular to develop and here to stay.
A word about business dashboard software and technology:
Don’t get hung up on the technology. Things don’t have to be complicated. Using Microsoft Excel is an excellent way to start business dashboarding. You can certainly use it to prototype and you may find it good enough to stick with for a very long time.
Here are 2 great resources on using Excel Dashboards:
Excel Dashboards: Templates and Ebook on Creating Excel Dashboards
Excel School for Dashboards
Are you new to the world of digital dashboards? Want to learn more about them?
Here’s how to start:
Key White Papers About BI and Dashboards
Gartner Magic Quadrant Report on Business Intelligence Platforms
Microstrategy’s Business Intelligence Platform for zone-based layout for scorecards and dashboards
More Business Intelligence White Papers (excellent way to research the business dashboard landscape)
Key Books on Enterprise Dashboards
I’ve been following the business dashboard space since the beginning. In addition to designing and building some of the first really major dashboard applications, I’ve had the pleasure of being the consolidator of dashboard project artifacts for many teams across many industries. Those with me at the beginning remember me having to swear secrecy in exchange for getting a “secret screenshot” of a hush-hush dashboard project (hence the moniker “Dashboard Spy”!). I’ve watched the development of the growing niche of dashboard books. Here are some of my very favorite:
First off, every once in a while, you should search Amazon for new books on the subject. Here’s a link that will bring up the latest books on enterprise dashboards:
Amazon Page of Dashboard Books (My favorite place to purchase books or anything else)
And here are some recommended books (be sure to browse inside the books with the “Look Inside” function):
Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data by Stephen Few (This is a great book on the principles of information visualization.)
Business Dashboards: A Visual Catalog for Design and Deployment by Nils Rasmussen (Really, really great book of examples)
Project Management Metrics, KPIs, and Dashboards: A Guide to Measuring and Monitoring Project Performance by Harold Kerzner (This is nirvana for project management dashboard geeks. I wrote a section in this book!)
Here are the latest books (both coincidentally on the SAS platform):
Building Business Intelligence Using SAS: Content Development Examples by Tricia Aanderud
SAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics by Robert Allison
Key Blogs to Follow
Here are a couple of launch points to learn more about business dashboards:
Key Dashboard Software Vendors to Check Out