Business Intelligence (BI) dashboard refers to the term of displaying the various metrics (Analysis metrics, Key performance indicators (KPIs), etc.) of the business on a screen in a visual format based on which future decisions could be taken. It is designed based on the customer requirement such that the important inferences from the data points would be read without going much into the data, even by a beginner.
For more understanding about Business Intelligence and Visualization for beginners, read here.
The article below explains in detail the Power BI capability, features, process of building BI dashboards, business intelligence best practices for dashboard design, bi dashboard examples etc. Also, few tips are presented which will help reader to get the insights and strategy behind the dashboard creation.
What is Power BI Dashboard?
If somebody presents the data on an excel sheet or in a database, first, it would be required by the user to understand the type of data and its significance before making any inferences based on it. Hence, the user must have some technical/ mathematical capabilities. Breaking down these old-school methods, new platforms have been developed which make reading data more interesting and can help business make key decisions after looking at the comparison, trends, requirements.
The dashboards generally are pre-designed based on the anticipation of what the user would require deriving from the board as the features of dashboards could be very customizable, dynamic, and interactive with the ability to fetch real-time data from the source such as any database, sheet, or website they keep updating their metrics dynamically.
The dashboard in BI could be very interactive as the representation would be in various methods such as graphs, questionnaires, location-based map, date-based filter etc. so they could give the answers required to the end-user. Even the is easy from such dashboards due to less concern for data analysis and focus shifts on understanding the comparison/ trend of data. Webpages and traditional reports can be configured from these BI tools, which could be shared with many users based on their requirement where they could look at the dashboard.
BI Dashboard – Features and Components
As the technology is developing, many features and components is being offered by the BI Dashboards which helps the reports to be developed in an attractive and accessible PBI dashboard such as:
- Numerous BI dashboard tools/ visualization templates contain components such as Bar chart, histogram, pie-chart, column chart, line charts, maps etc. Additionally, we could also create 3-D charts based on it.
- Multiple data sources are accessible for populating the data from varied range of data sources.
- Dashboard tiles customization to help align the required information within the proper boundaries which helps in maintaining the visibility of the reports.
- Multiple dashboards linked to main dashboard to avoid cluttering of information on one board.
- User-level security on dashboard to distribute only the relevant information based on the group the user belongs to. For e.g. A financial person would require the finance information, but an operations person should not be concerned with the financial information, so some dashboard could work for, but each would be shown only the metrics which are allowed to them.
- Interactive Questionnaire to get an answer.
- Shared project access so that it is accessible to multiple-users and can be accessed from various sources – web, desktop application, android, IOS etc.
Benefits and Limitations of BI Dashboards
The BI dashboards do possess multiple benefits which harnessed could help businesses to take-up good decisions and optimize the process.
1. Data visualization at-ease
The dashboard presents the complexity of data down to an easy-to-understand visualization so that even the newbie can infer the story. Other methods such as Excel or database would require a Data analyst to create reports and send them to the user, but the Dashboard is a 24*7 solution.
2. Workaround decision eases
The dashboards designed with the proper trend line or showing usage over time at-glance will help the businesses to make decisions easily. They don’t require any analyst help to make them understand the trends and so, decision making efficiency increases.
3. Quick check with the metrics
BI dashboards have features to incorporate the metrics such as KPIs and Analysis metrics which would keep track of the business performance and would be available whenever required. No longer need to wait for a scheduled report to see the performance.
4. Real-time data evaluation
The market trends change faster and so no business would desire to be left. BI dashboards have a real-time change of metrics and hence it is the most up-to-date way to look after for taking the decisions on time.
BI dashboards do have challenges due to their complexity and integrating with the business requirement and hence requires professional training to work over it. Mainly challenges faced are mentioned below:
5. User requirement anticipation
The right anticipation is required by the analyst designing the dashboards as he must be aware of the user requirement and what screen must be efficient to which kind of user. Even users are unaware of the capability of the tool. Therefore, the BI dashboard has many assumptions before the design about the data interpretation.
6. Right visualization component for metrics
The graphs and other components needed in the dashboards must be effectively used. We can’t use a column chart to represent a trend line. Hence, it is required that the dashboards must have the correct component according to the answer expected from that component.
7. Accessibility across different platforms
The BI dashboard should be tested and work across multiple digital platforms which makes it easy for the end-user to get the reports whenever required. Therefore, compatibility across different platforms must be maintained.
8. Data cluttering
There is a fine line between the data representation from a dashboard and cluttering the dashboard with lot of data. The screen must only contain the tiles which are relevant. As the user doesn’t know what he wants, it is the BI dashboard responsibility to show him the story of business rather than filling the dashboard with all data.
9. Application operation cost
These digital technologies, due to their complexity, require trained resources such as Data Analyst to create and maintain dashboards for businesses. Additionally, the cost of licensing these software’s is also to be incurred by business.
For the creation of the BI dashboard, the major steps which are to be looked after are listed below.
1. Collection of data and cleanup
The data source could be one or multiple sources at a time. Additionally, they support different format files, databases etc. The BI dashboards are flexible enough to refresh the dashboards with real time data whenever source data gets updated.
2. Designing Dashboard
What objective should be achieved after designing the dashboard should be analyzed. Selection of proper design and tiles for each component in dashboard should be done.
3. Charting selection
The data representation needs to be done using the correct charts. The selection should be based between graphs as each type of representation has its own objective. To know more here.
4. Setting alerts or security aspect
The BI dashboard can be added functionality such as whenever the dashboard metrics changes, alerts could be configured to notify the user about the changes.
The recent development allows dashboard components visibility to be restricted based on the row-level security allowing only the user groups which need to view the data.
Finally, the report created through the Power BI application is to be saved and published. Hence, the dashboard is accessible by logging into the required dashboard link by the link.
The Purpose of BI Dashboard
The purpose of the BI dashboard must be clear, crisp and to the point representation of the status of the story of the business so that the actions/ decisions could be made on that precisely.
As the end-user would have little information on the behind-the-scenes data, the visualization presented by the dashboard should have all the required information at the level such that only required information must be passed to the user and is understandable.
The challenge of ‘what to represent’ would always possess and therefore a good dashboard would be the one which has a precise and arranged representation of the data points in terms of a story.
BI Dashboard Design Dest Practices
The insights to be presented must answer the critical answers which business would require as it impacts the next step of decision making.
There must be points which should be checked for developing an effective dashboard.
- Clarity on requirement must be done when designing the dashboards as each visual will present a snapshot representation of the data from source for the audience – so it becomes necessary that the problem statement and the insights required must be solved through the dashboard.
- It is not good practice to dump all kinds of data on every user. The dashboard must vary according to the relevant user groups. What is the purpose of the operation teams showing data of the revenue and the Finance team viewing the data related to the inventory?
The target audience must be kept in purview before BI dashboard designing.
- A clever way to show your data is to use correct metrics visuals relevant to the story which you are going to tell. Each graph and KPIs must be properly analyzed so that the proper story must be represented by the dashboard.
- An up-to-date source should be there from which the components of the dashboard will be fetching data. It is necessary to keep business knowledge up to date.
- Extravagant and flashy visuals should be avoided. Also, too much cluttering of tiles in dashboard should not be done.
BI Dashboard Examples and Use-Cases
Every department in an organization has their specific requirement and hence the decision-making needs to be done after seeing the relevant information relevant to them. For instance, the finance department would take decisions based on the company transactions while the operations department would be concerned about their inventory. So, based on use-case the dashboard such as finance BI dashboard, sales BI dashboard etc. is designed to solve the required problem rather than just representation of data.
Below are the few use-case scenarios showcasing business intelligence dashboards examples which will help to understand the distinction of dashboards-
1. Finance-Department Dashboard
The objective of such a BI dashboard would be to represent the revenue information of an organization. Metrics such as Sales Revenue, Gross Profit, Income without tax, Expense, payment period etc. should be present. Power BI has certain templates which could be utilized while designing the representation.
2. Inventory Management Report
The objective of such a Power BI dashboard is to track down the inventory which would track down the items present in the store. The indicators present a clear overview of the stock availability with the list-down of the major- required products along with the sales data, which helps business to quickly act.
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Power BI is a most effective selection for analysts to help in visualization the data. The above article comprehensively listed the requirements of a report, how it can be built, its advantages and disadvantages, capabilities of a Power BI report and challenges faced while building such dashboards.
For reading more articles such as - KnowledgeHut Business Intelligence and Visualization for beginners, visit.
With the availability of digital tools, the system is now-days is fed with data every second. Therefore, utilizing such data in an effective manner is the key to the business. Excel sheets and reports are effective to look over data, but BI dashboards help in real-time representation and are updated with the same speed as the source data changes. Making these dashboards more interactive and clear representation of the story could be the key for an optimal growth of any organization.
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