Dashboards

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Contents

Introduction

Dashboard coupe.jpg


When the word dashboard is used, one most likely thinks about the dashboard associated within a vehicle. Though the concept is very similar, the dashboards being described here relate to metrics, statistics, and performance indicators used in a business setting. These types of dashboards are all around and provide real-time information to users who can in-turn make quick evaluations and decisions. Throughout this ElateWiki page, a brief history of dashboards will be provided along with popular uses in both a business and individual setting. A video clip will also be included below that highlights what one should look for in dashboards and some tips on how a simple dashboard can be created in Excel for any situation.

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History

Dashboards have been around since the early 70’s when basic information systems and decisions supports systems began to be utilized. Though very basic and rudimentary, these dashboards provided users with graphical representations of metrics they felt were important to the decision making process. As technology continued to develop, dashboards became more popular as information could be spread much more quickly and accurately. In the 1990s, the World Wide Web took off and allowed dashboards to access much more information in relatively small amount of time. Dashboards at this time were generally created in-house and were proprietary systems developed for very specific uses. Today’s technology allows for all kinds of wonderful dashboard applications that can tie into many types of data. A great dashboard application tool can be found at www. Metricly.com. This application can connect with many types of data and provide customized results specific to any type of situation.

Dashboard Uses

Dashboards can be used in many different situations for both business and personal uses. This page will primarily focus on uses in a business setting but keep in mind that dashboards can be just as handy for an individual (many of the phone applications used today have some sort of dashboard concept to them!) Other examples of personal dashboard uses include online banking applications, personal grade organizers (K-State Online), and even fantasy sport scoring online tools.

The most common uses for dashboards in a business setting relate to financial performance and production, but they can be used for all sorts of items related to organizational areas such as HR, executive level communication, advertising, and even facility maintenance. The list could go on, but the general goal is always the same. Dashboards provide users with real-time data that allow quick evaluations and decisions to be made. This data is usually represented graphically and provides some form of visual representation. Charts, color coded items, and benchmarks are some of the most commons ways in which the data is organized.

Below is an example of a dashboard used in a real business environment:

Dashboard.jpg

The second example is something that was created in Excel and is very basic, but allows for a lot of information all on one screen. Again, these are examples more closely tied to a financial agenda, but dashboard can be used for all types of information.

P&L Dashboard.jpg

YouTube Video

Conclusion

Dashboards are very useful tools that can take on a number of roles no matter what the setting. The return on investment is generally very high as most can be created for generally little to no cost. Dashboards are most definitely transitioning from proprietary creations to multi-functional tools that can benefit a much larger audience. Dashboards will continue to evolve and become a more integral part of many lives both professionally and personally. Just remember to keep it simple!

References

"History of Dashboards." InfoCaptor. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Dec 2011. <http://www.infocaptor.com/dashboard/history-of-dashboards>.

Hurwitz, Judith. "Dashboards - Enabling Insight and Action." Hurwitz Research. 2005. Web. 6 Dec 2011. <ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/pub/lotusweb/hurwitz_research_paper_dash.pdf>.

Kaushik, Avinash. "Five Rules for High Impact Web Analytics Dashboards." Occam's Razor. N.p., 12 03 2007. Web. 4 Dec. 2011. <http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/five-rules-for-high-impact-web-analytics-dashboards/>.

Metricly: http://metricly.com

YouTube video courtesy of: Bryce Zerener

Images courtesy of: Bryce Zerener, ABC Financial, and Google Images

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