What is a Dashboard? A Simple Definition

A dashboard in simple terms is a summarized visual representation of critical information required to make business decisions. This visual representation is typically presented on a computer screen as collection of charts, tables and other visuals that display trends, statistics, and measures.

We will compare a business dashboard to the dashboard in your car. The gauges in your vehicle show you a real time performance: How fast your going, how much gas you have left, the oil temperature, etc. The collective gauge cluster in your vehicle allows you to quickly asses how your car is performing while you drive. In essence, a business dashboard should serve the same general purpose: presenting the most current performance measures available for your to drive your business.

Why is a Dashboard Valuable?
A dashboard is valuable to any person within an organization who requires summarized information to make business decisions. This value is derived from time savings on multiple fronts:
– The time savings to gather, aggregate, and present all necessary information.
– The time savings for the business person to consume, digest, and make decisions.
There are also several benefits to dashboard solutions offered by software vendors, but they hinge on other aspects related to IT, which we will not dive into for this article.

So in Summary…
– Dashboards server to present a holistic view of one or multiple facets of your business: primarily related to performance.
– Dashboards should enable a business person to quickly assimilate to the information presented to make informed decisions quickly
– Dashboards streamline the process for gathering and manually aggregating data into a coherent presentation.

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