Table of contents
- What is a Business Dashboard?
- What is the Purpose of Dashboards In Business?
- Importance Of Business Dashboards
- Difference between Business Dashboards and Reports
- Types of Dashboards Used In Businesses
- Examples of Leadership Dashboards By Industry
- Industry-Agnostic Functional Dashboards
- Steps of Data Management for Creating Business Dashboards
- Why OWOX BI is the Optimal Choice for Creating Business Dashboards
The Role of Business Dashboards: Real-life Examples for Practical Use
Ievgen Krasovytskyi, Head of Marketing @ OWOX
Present-day web analytics tools allow you to keep an eye on almost every action visitors take on your website. With that said, wouldn’t you agree that simply sending user actions to Google Analytics is not nearly enough? The burning question you need to answer is: How can you gain actionable insight into your business performances from all the data you’ve collected?
In this article we share several examples of business dashboards that can be updated in real time, helping you make data-driven decisions. Such reports can be useful for marketing specialists, program developers, content managers, and analysts in E-commerce projects.
Note: This post was originally published in November 2016 and was completely updated in January 2024 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
What is a Business Dashboard?
A business performance dashboard is a tool that visually presents key information necessary to meet various objectives. This information is consolidated and organized on a single screen, allowing for quick and easy monitoring. Business dashboards are essential for decision-makers and teams, as they provide a high-level overview of crucial metrics. They are instrumental in tracking progress toward goals and swiftly identifying any emerging issues. This efficient tool aids in maintaining a clear view of a company's performance and supports informed decision-making processes.
Dashboards are versatile and adaptable, making them valuable in various industries and sectors. Their customizability allows them to incorporate diverse types of data over different time periods. This feature helps in analyzing past events, understanding their causes, predicting future trends, and guiding appropriate actions. Dashboards employ visual elements such as charts, graphs, and tables, which makes it easier for those not deeply familiar with the data to grasp the narratives and insights they present quickly and effortlessly.
What is the Purpose of Dashboards In Business?
Dashboards serve as a centralized platform to display a comprehensive view of data gathered from various sources. They are essential for tracking, analyzing, and measuring critical data across key domains. By transforming raw data from multiple origins into a format that is customized to the user's specific requirements, dashboards cater to a wide range of professionals, including business leaders, analysts, sales teams, marketers, and others.
Key areas where dashboards are particularly useful include:
- Tracking customer-related metrics
- Analyzing financial data
- Monitoring sales trends
- Reviewing web analytics
- Managing manufacturing details
- Overseeing human resources information
- Evaluating marketing effectiveness
- Supervising logistics
Their ability to aggregate and visually represent complex data makes dashboards highly adaptable. They are invaluable for professionals who need to analyze intricate data or experts who must communicate data insights to those less familiar with the subject. Dashboards are also effective in presentations to executives and key decision-makers, aiding in highlighting challenges, opportunities, and areas for growth and improvement.
Importance Of Business Dashboards
Business dashboards are crucial tools in the modern business environment for several reasons:
Real-Time Data Access: Dashboards provide real-time access to key business data, allowing decision-makers to respond quickly to market changes and internal performance metrics.
Improved Decision-Making: By consolidating critical data in one place, dashboards facilitate more informed and data-driven decision-making. They help in identifying trends, patterns, and anomalies, which might otherwise go unnoticed.
Enhanced Performance Tracking: Dashboards enable businesses to track performance against key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals. This helps in monitoring progress and identifying areas that need attention or improvement.
Time Efficiency: They save time by aggregating data from various sources into a single interface. This eliminates the need for manual data collection and report generation, which can be time-consuming and prone to errors.
Better Communication and Reporting: Dashboards provide a visual representation of data, making it easier to communicate complex information. This is particularly useful in reporting to stakeholders who may not be familiar with the intricacies of the data.
- Trend Analysis and Forecasting: Dashboards facilitate trend analysis and forecasting by presenting historical data in an easily digestible format. This can be crucial for strategic planning and anticipating future challenges or opportunities.
Cost Reduction: By identifying inefficiencies and areas for improvement, dashboards can help in reducing operational costs. They can highlight underperforming areas or processes that are costing the business money.
Enhanced Customer Insights: For businesses that track customer data and interactions, dashboards can provide valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends, leading to better customer service and targeted marketing strategies.
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Difference between Business Dashboards and Reports
The distinction between dashboards and reports lies primarily in their scope, focus, and purpose in data analysis and presentation.
Dashboards are designed to provide a high-level overview of a wide range of data. They are typically dynamic, offering real-time or regularly updated insights. Dashboards are geared towards answering specific, often broad, questions like:
- How was our site performance last month?
- "How many units did we sell?
They excel in tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and are instrumental in monitoring overall trends or efficiency, making them ideal for quick decision-making and strategic overview.
Reports, in contrast, offer a more detailed and focused analysis. They are generally static and delve deeply into a specific data set, concentrating on a single item or event. Reports are comprehensive, providing an in-depth view that is often historical or analytical in nature. They are used for detailed examinations of particular aspects of business operations, such as a thorough analysis of a specific marketing campaign or a detailed financial audit.
While both dashboards and reports are crucial for data analysis in business, dashboards are best suited for broad, real-time overviews and quick decision-making, whereas reports are more appropriate for detailed, specific, and often historical data analysis.
Types of Dashboards Used In Businesses
Dashboards for businesses are increasingly popular in modern business environments, not just for their ease of use but for their customizable nature, tailored to specific operational needs and objectives. They can be broadly categorized into three types:
- Analytical Dashboards: These are focused on deriving insights from historical data, helping businesses understand their current state by analyzing past performance. They assist in identifying trends and opportunities, setting strategic goals, and evaluating factors like profit changes, regional productivity, and marketing campaign effectiveness.
- Operational Dashboards: These are crucial for real-time tracking of business operations, enabling quick responses to immediate issues in areas like sales, marketing, customer service, and supply chain management. They differ from analytical dashboards in their emphasis on forecasting and immediate action based on critical information.
- Strategic Dashboards: Primarily used by high-level executives, these dashboards provide a comprehensive view of an organization's long-term strategies and goals. They feature complex, high-level KPIs, helping decision-makers understand overall progress and identify areas for strategic improvement.
Each type of dashboard can be customized to address specific challenges and align with an organization's unique goals, strengths, and limitations. This customization allows for targeted decision-making and strategic planning.
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Examples of Leadership Dashboards By Industry
In industry-specific leadership dashboards, it's crucial to tailor metrics to each sector's unique needs. Here are some business dashboard examples by industry and their key metrics
When creating a dashboard for an e-commerce company, it's essential to choose metrics that effectively view the business's overall performance. The following are key indicators to focus on:
- Total Online Sales Revenue (Time Series): Display as a line graph showing monthly or quarterly sales. This is a fundamental indicator of your business's financial health and growth trends.
- Conversion Rate: The percentage of visitors to your website who make a purchase. This metric is essential for evaluating the effectiveness of your website and marketing efforts.
- Average Order Value (AOV): The average amount spent per transaction. This metric helps in understanding customer spending habits and the effectiveness of your pricing and upselling strategies.
- Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate: The percentage of shoppers who add items to their cart but do not complete the purchase. This metric is crucial for identifying issues in the checkout process or user experience.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) (Time Series): The cost associated with acquiring a new customer, is displayed over time. It's critical for evaluating the efficiency and ROI of your marketing campaigns.
- Return Rate (Time Series): The percentage of products returned by customers over time. This metric provides insights into customer satisfaction and potential issues with product descriptions, quality, or fulfillment.
These business metrics dashboards provide a well-rounded view of your e-commerce business, encompassing financial performance, customer behavior, operational efficiency, and marketing effectiveness in the reports. The time series data will enable you to observe trends and seasonality, helping in making informed business decisions.
For a SaaS (Software as a Service) company, selecting the right metrics for your dashboard is key to understanding and monitoring the health and growth of your business. Here are six crucial metrics that you should consider tracking:
- Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) (Time Series): This is a vital metric for SaaS businesses, showing the predictable revenue generated each month. A time series graph can illustrate trends and growth over time.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): This measures the cost associated with acquiring new customers. It's crucial to understand the efficiency of your marketing and sales efforts.
- Churn Rate: This metric tracks the rate at which you lose customers. A low churn rate is critical for long-term success in the SaaS industry.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): CLV helps you understand the total value a customer brings over their relationship with your company. This is key for determining how much you should invest in customer retention and acquisition.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS measures customer satisfaction and loyalty. It's an indicator of your product's market fit and customer service quality.
- Product Engagement Score: This metric assesses how actively customers are using your product. It can include measures like daily or monthly active users, feature usage, and session duration.
These metrics in a business dashboard collectively provide an overall overview of your SaaS company's financial health, customer acquisition and retention efficiency, and product engagement levels. Incorporating time series data where applicable will help in identifying trends and making data-driven decisions for future strategies.
In the context of a fintech company, tracking the right metrics is crucial for understanding the health and growth of your business. Here are six key metrics that are particularly relevant and valuable:
- Monthly Active Users (MAU) (Time Series): This metric indicates the number of unique users engaging with your platform each month. Tracking MAU over time can help you gauge user engagement and growth.
- Total Transaction Volume (TTV) (Time Series): This represents the total value of transactions processed through your platform. It's a direct indicator of the platform's usage and financial throughput.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): The cost of acquiring a new customer is vital for understanding the efficiency of your marketing and sales strategies. It's especially important in the competitive fintech space.
- Churn Rate: This measures the rate at which you lose customers. For fintechs, where long-term customer relationships are crucial, a low churn rate is a key indicator of success.
- Net Revenue Retention (NRR): NRR shows the percentage of recurring revenue retained from existing customers over a given period, factoring in upgrades, downgrades, and churn. It's essential for assessing customer satisfaction and the long-term value of your customer base.
- Compliance and Fraud Metrics: Given the nature of fintech, monitoring compliance-related metrics and fraud rates is critical. This could include the number of fraudulent transactions detected, compliance audit scores, or other relevant indicators.
These metrics offer a thorough perspective on various critical aspects of your fintech company, encompassing user involvement, financial outcomes, customer acquisition and loyalty, as well as adherence to operational regulations. Utilizing time series data within these metrics will assist in identifying evolving trends and behavioral patterns, which is invaluable for informed strategic planning and decision-making processes.
When we create a dashboard for gaming companies it's important to choose metrics that provide the most comprehensive view of your gaming company's performance for reliable data granularity and data quality. Considering this, you might focus on a blend of financial, user engagement, and operational metrics. Here are six key metrics to consider:
- Total Revenue (Time Series): This can be represented as a line graph showing monthly or quarterly revenue over time. It gives a quick view of financial health and growth trends.
- Daily Active Users (DAU) / Monthly Active Users (MAU) (Time Series): A combined line graph or area chart of DAU and MAU can provide insights into user engagement and game popularity.
- Churn Rate: Essential for understanding customer retention. A lower churn rate indicates higher user satisfaction and engagement.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): This metric, possibly shown as a bar graph, reveals the efficiency of your marketing efforts in acquiring new users.
- Average Session Length: Indicates user engagement depth. Longer session lengths typically correlate with higher user satisfaction and engagement.
- Server Uptime and Downtime (Time Series): Critical for online games, this metric can be displayed as a line graph or a simple uptime percentage. High uptime is crucial for user satisfaction and retention.
Each of these metrics provides valuable insight into different aspects of the gaming company, from financial performance to user engagement and operational stability. By tracking these six key metrics, you'll have a well-rounded view of your company's performance on a single dashboard page. Remember to design the dashboard to be visually intuitive, allowing quick interpretation of data trends and anomalies.
For a dashboard for a retail company with metrics to get a comprehensive overview, including time series where relevant, you should focus on the most impactful metrics that gives a view of your company's marketing performance. Here are key metrics to consider:
- Total Sales Revenue (Time Series): Display this as a line graph showing monthly or quarterly sales. This is a crucial indicator of your company's financial health and can highlight growth or decline trends.
- Average Transaction Value (ATV): This metric indicates the average amount spent per transaction. It helps in understanding customer spending behavior and the effectiveness of pricing strategies.
- Foot Traffic (Time Series): If you have physical stores, tracking the number of customers visiting them is essential. Represent this as a line graph to observe trends over time, indicating the effectiveness of store location, layout, and marketing efforts.
- Inventory Turnover Rate (Time Series): This measures how quickly inventory is sold and replaced over a period. It's critical for managing stock levels, understanding product demand, and optimizing supply chain decisions.
- Gross Margin: Gross margin as a percentage of sales revenue reveals the profitability of your products. It helps in assessing product pricing strategies and cost management.
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): A key metric to gauge customer satisfaction with their shopping experience. This can be based on survey data or other feedback mechanisms.
These metrics provide a well-rounded view of your retail company's financial performance, customer behavior, operational efficiency, and overall customer satisfaction. The time series data will allow you to track trends and make informed decisions based on the performance over different periods.
Industry-Agnostic Functional Dashboards
1. Marketing reporting
The following table compares the main indicators of advertising campaigns in marketing — the number of sessions, revenue, and ROAS over the weeks.
- The level of segmentation (source, medium, or campaign) can be easily changed.
- ROAS is calculated with an account of fulfilled orders, the margin on goods, and orders in brick-and-mortar stores. For example, if a buyer used a loyalty card (or any other form of identification).
Please note that, unlike a number of sessions or revenue, the ROAS indicator should be added as a Calculation Field, otherwise it will be incorrectly calculated when changing the depth of segmentation.
2. Measuring conversion rate
The key micro conversions, such as adding to the cart, proceeding to checkout, and confirmation of an order, can be used to monitor the efficiency of a website. We recommend that you divide them by page types and browser, and then stick to a few simple rules to easily support and update reports on the micro conversions:
- One document — one department;
- One metric — one sheet (and one SQL query).
If you need to combine several metrics for a pivot table, you can do it in this way:
Take a look at the next example. Let’s say the conversion rate has dropped. Use the report to check whether this is due to the website as a whole, or to a particular page. Thus, you will see that the conversion rate went down mostly on specific product pages, and especially on Firefox. Developers made a mistake when updating jQuery, and you managed to quickly detect and locate the mistake thanks to the dashboard.
- You can analyze micro-conversions with segmentation by every page type and browser.
- You get relevant data that updates up to every 5 minutes.
Note that if there’s not enough data for comparisons, this data is automatically filtered and does not distort the valid data.
It’s also useful to track some technical indicators. For example:
- Server response time.
- Page load time.
It will be much faster and easier to pinpoint the cause if you also segment these metrics by page type and browser.
We should also note that measuring these parameters is performed «from the user’s point of view.» This is why such data is more representative than that obtained from server monitoring tools (e.g. Zabbix or Munin).
Steps of Data Management for Creating Business Dashboards
In business dashboards, effective data management is crucial for deriving actionable insights and making informed decisions. This section outlines the steps involved in managing data, focusing on collection and processing. We'll explore tools like Google BigQuery and OWOX BI Pipeline, highlighting their roles in gathering, storing, and analyzing vast amounts of data efficiently.
These tools offer robust solutions for real-time analytics and flexible reporting but also come with certain limitations and requirements, such as the need for SQL knowledge and the constraints of cloud-based operations.
Step #1: Data Collection
Google BigQuery is the main tool our customers choose for combining and processing data. This isn’t by accident. Data can be uploaded to Google BigQuery from any service in the relevant format and mode, and you don’t have to worry about having enough space on the server.
In case you haven’t worked with Google BigQuery before, this service allows you to process epic amounts of data with SQL-like queries. You only pay for the amount of data stored and processed. You also get a 300 USD credit to spend over 60 days and a free 1 TB of data processed per month.
- Quick start without signing contracts and buying servers.
- The Google Analytics data is not sampled and is collected in real time.
- Low cost — $5 for 1 TB of data processed in a month.
- The data belongs to the owner of the project, not to connected services.
- Google BigQuery is a paid service.
- Only the cloud version is available.
- There are no updates, only full rebuilding of the table is performed.
To bring all the data together, you can use the OWOX BI Pipeline. It allows you to automatically collect raw unsampled data from advertising services directly to Google BigQuery in real-time. You can also collect the data from basically any data source - sales CRM, email services, call tracking tools, etc.
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Step #2: Data Preparation
OK, you got your data in a single place. Cool. But they are still not merged. The columns have different names, the data has different formats. And more … advertising campaign costs are not connected with your website tracking data.
The good news is, that we got you covered with pre-built SQL-templates for most of the standard marketing tasks in OWOX BI Transformation. Whether you are using GA4 for tracking or OWOX BI Streaming to collect raw unsampled user behavior data from your website - you’ll be able to prepare all of your marketing analytics data for reporting in a matter of minutes. No need to wait weeks or months for your analyst to write SQL code, use customer APIs and set dependencies between data transformations.
Step #3: Data Visualization
Next, you need to get a report, right? And there are 2 choices here:
First - BI tools like Looker Studio, Power BI, or Tableau - we have plenty of free templates available for Looker Studio.
For example, you can get an all-in-one marketing dashboard for C-level execs, Marketing Leaders, and Advertising professionals here:
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However, there is a second option that is suitable for data-savvy managers who wants to “play” with data - Google Sheets.
In order to pass the data from Google BigQuery to Google Sheets, we use Google Sheets Extension, so you can not only process the data with SQL queries but also save the queries for future use.
Oh yes, you will, of course, need to use SQL to build queries. However, there are no restrictions on the number of metrics and the structure of reports. In addition, all the data you get is complete and unsampled.
Don’t worry too much about SQL anyway. Data Professionals can create queries once, and subsequently the data in Google Sheets is updated automatically or on demand:
- You don’t need to worry about the indexes in the database or about the space available on the servers.
- You can create reports of any structure.
- You can process any amount of data very quickly.
- You don’t have to learn another query language, SQL is just enough.
- Knowledge of SQL is required to build and modify reports.
- It can take up to several minutes to execute very complex queries.
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Why OWOX BI is the Optimal Choice for Creating Business Dashboards
Having dashboards for businesses is amiable but having the best one can be a challenging task. These tools consolidate and simplify complex reports, offering a clear view of key metrics and parameters that can't be captured in a single report. Dashboards make it easy to comprehend large data sets and quickly assess the current state of affairs, essentially uncovering hidden insights in your data.
For those looking to construct a dashboard using data from various sources like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Google Analytics 4, CRMs, or call tracking systems, OWOX BI is here to save your time and reduce errors in collecting, merging, and visualizing data.
OWOX BI provides a wide range of marketing dashboard templates tailored for various industries, including fintech, retail, e-commerce, gaming, and SaaS, ensuring targeted insights and analytics that cater to the unique needs of each sector.
For instance, the ROPO dashboard helps answer questions about offline sales that happened as a result of an online activity, identifying effective online campaigns for offline purchases.
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What is a Business Dashboard?A business dashboard is a visual tool displaying key information necessary for achieving business objectives, consolidating important data on a single screen for easy monitoring.
What are Industry Agnostic Functional Dashboards ?Industry-agnostic functional Dashboards are universal dashboards designed to provide key performance insights across various sectors, focusing on general metrics like financial health, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency.
What are the most critical metrics to track on an e-commerce leadership dashboard?For an e-commerce dashboard, key metrics include Total Online Sales Revenue, Conversion Rate, Average Order Value (AOV), Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate, Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), and Return Rate. These metrics collectively provide insights into financial performance, customer behavior, and operational efficiency.
How Do Business Dashboards Enhance Marketing Strategies?They allow marketing directors and senior management to track overall department performance, align strategies with goals, and compare current status with past results and plans.
What are the types of Dashboards Used In Businesses?There are three common dashboards known as Analytical Dashboards, Operational Dashboards, and Strategic Dashboards.
Why are Business Dashboards Important?They provide real-time data access, enhance decision-making, track performance against KPIs, save time, improve communication, facilitate trend analysis, reduce costs, and offer customer insights.