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What is an Analytics Dashboard?

Carol Francois
Carol Francois

An analytics dashboard is a user interface that provides a customized view of key information on one screen. The term dashboard is used to provide a context for the type of information that should be populated and what it should be used for. Analytics is the software program that an organization uses to complete complex analysis of business-related data. This type of technology requires significant investment in hardware, software, and staff who have the expertise required to install, operate, and manage this type of system.

There are two primary functions to an analytics dashboard: customized content and usability. There is a wide range of tools that can provide dashboard functionality. The most common delivery method is via the Internet. Staff members log into a corporate website to perform their tasks. The first screen they see is the dashboard. The information is intended to be a snapshot of valuable, pertinent information the staff member is expected to act upon.

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A great example of what should be provided in an analytics dashboard is to think about a typical salesperson. He needs to know the level of sales for his accounts, the number of contacts he has made in a time period, the resulting sales, his ranking against the sales quota for the period, and the performance of his colleagues. Using an analytics dashboard, this data can be derived from the customer relationship management software or accounting system and used to populate the dashboard. A quick glance tells the salesperson the level of activity in his accounts, allowing him to determine what steps are required to improve performance.

Customizing content to show the type of information listed above to every employee requires an intricate system in the background. Role-based authorizations are a common method of managing this process. There are two aspects to the role: determining the suitable reports and identifying the correct data. If the person is identified as a sales professional, certain metrics are applicable.

The level of functionality available to the user can also be controlled at the system or user level. For example, the accounting manager may need to drill down to a more granular level of detail to confirm the values presented in the analytics dashboard. This detailed view can then be downloaded or emailed to a staff member to investigate or correct. However, not everyone requires these tools. It is important to remember that more tools requires more resources to support.

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