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March 3, 2007

Different types of Dashbords, how to choose a required one

By: Milind Zodge

There are many times a question surface, which dashboard should we use. In this article I am focusing on what are the different types of Dashboards and how to choose a right one. For more detail reading please read "Performance Dashboards" book by "Wayne W. Eckerson".

There are two ways one can deliver the information. First more current snapshot of the data, second trends of data over a period of time window like 12 months.

There are following well known types of Dashboards:
1. Operational Dashboard: This is simply known as Dashboard. If there is a need to report more current information like, where do I stand now with respect to my quota, this type of dashboard can be used. These dashboards usually have gauges to indicate the KPIs or even stop lights to indicate the current state.

2. Strategic Dashboard: This type is known as Scorecard. If there is a need to monitor a performance of certain activity over the period of several months/ day etc, these dashboards are well suited. These dashboards usually show graphs for a period of time which indicates the trend. E.g. A scorecard to report OTD% , here it doesn’t make any sense if you say OTD% is 80 this month. The question comes is, how is 80, good or bad, whether this is following a natural wave hence even if it is low it is fine. To answer these questions you need have trends instead of just current snapshot.

3. Tactical Dashboard: It is a combination of above which is delivered through a portal interface, which provides much flexibility of adding and removing parts. E.g. you want to show a trend as well also want to have alerts for some current activities.
Most of the time you end up having two or more as your BI application, means combination of option1, 2 and 3 as an application.

Information is effective if it is delivered in right format. Choosing a right dashboard type is crucial for the success of the BI system.

Posted by Milind Zodge at March 3, 2007 10:00 PM


In the dashboarding book by Malik, he uses the following six enterprise dashboard categories:

Enterprise performance
Process/Activity Monitoring
Custom Applications

I find them useful in compiling my collection of enterprise dashboards.

Here is a graphic showing the dashboard sub-types under each of the six main categories:

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