This Article will give you a brief idea about 5 best practice for developing BI dashboard

Dashboard is alternative tools of reports to control business activities. Why people use Dashboard? Because it is simple. It is easier to opening dozens of report, it gives summarized view and easy to consume data. Following 5 best practice for BI dashboard will help you to develop a professional looking dashboard.

 Practice # 1: Defining the Purpose of Dashboard

Best practice number one to design the dashboard for specific purpose. There may be different kind for Dashboard affiliated with different purpose and group of different people. Call center dashboard will be different from Sales dashboard. There are commonly three types of dashboard

Strategic Dashboard: Measure High level Performance:

This type of dashboard is used for measuring high level performance. Focuses of this dashboard is measuring the Main Key performance indicters (KPIs)

  • Net Profit
  • Net Profit Margin
  • Gross Profit Margin
  • Operating Profit Margin
  • Revenue Growth Rate
  • Total Shareholder Return (TSR)
  • Economic Value Added (EVA)
  • Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Return on Capital Employed (ROCE)
  • Return on Assets (ROA)
  • Return on Equity (ROE)
  • Debt-to-Equity (D/E) Ratio
  • Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC)
  • Working Capital Ratio
  • Operating Expense Ratio (OER)
  • CAPEX to Sales Ratio
  • Price Earnings Ratio (P/E Ratio)

Usually High level officials use this type of reports/KPIs to make strategical decisions. To develop Strategic Dashboard it is not necessary to put real time data.


Analytical Dashboard: Analysis business data

Analytical Dashboard Answers What, why, when and How? Mid-level management use this type of report to understand the trend of the business and take necessary action to align business on track. This type of dashboard required near-real-time data. Following KPIs generally take place in this type of dashboard.

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Customer Retention Rate
  • Customer Satisfaction Index
  • Customer Profitability Score
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Customer Turnover Rate
  • Customer Engagement
  • Customer Complaints
  • Brand Equity
  • Cost per Lead
  • Conversion Rate
  • Search Engine Rankings (by keyword) and click-through rate
  • Page Views and Bounce Rate
  • Customer Online Engagement Level
  • Online Share of Voice (OSOV)
  • Social Networking Footprint
  • Carbon Footprint
  • Water Footprint
  • Energy Consumption
  • Saving Levels Due to Conservation and Improvement Efforts
  • Supply Chain Miles
  • Waste Reduction Rate
  • Waste Recycling Rate
  • Product Recycling Rate
  • Human Capital Value Added (HCVA)
  • Revenue Per Employee
  • Employee Satisfaction Index
  • Employee Engagement Level
  • Staff Advocacy Score
  • Employee Churn Rate
  • Average Employee Tenure
  • Absenteeism Bradford Factor
  • 360-Degree Feedback Score
  • Salary Competitiveness Ratio (SCR)
  • Time to Hire
  • Training Return on Investment


Operational Dashboard: Monitoring current operations

Operational dashboard focus what’s going on into business right now. It requires real time data.

  • Sales & Return
  • Inventory Status
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Capacity Utilisation Rate (CUR)
  • Process Waste Level
  • Order Fulfilment Cycle Time
  • Delivery In Full, On Time (DIFOT) Rate
  • Inventory Shrinkage Rate (ISR)
  • Project Schedule Variance (PSV)
  • Project Cost Variance (PCV)
  • Earned Value (EV) Metric
  • Innovation Pipeline Strength (IPS)
  • Return on Innovation Investment (ROI2)
  • Time to Market
  • First Pass Yield (FPY)
  • Rework Level
  • Quality Index
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
  • Process or Machine Downtime Level
  • First Contact Resolution (FCR)


Who is the dashboard for?

There may be different BI dashboard user. Before starting develop from scratch you should have 360 degree idea on dashboard. In an organization following type of group use dashboard


  • Sales
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Health Care
  • Call center


How will the dashboard be used?

Dashboard can be used for different purpose (Like: Strategic Dashboard, Analytical Dashboard, Operational Dashboard Etc.). Following is the short description




Planning your dashboard:

Often we develop dashboard on the fly.  It’s not good practice at all. You must work with pen paper with the dashboard user, which one is user-friendly for him. Usually you should allot important report bigger time and less important report on bottom. Scrolling is not recommended for a dashboard. User don’t like to back and forth to view dashboard. Relevant reports should be placed side by side. If you think any report that is not much relevant with the current tab but may frequently require, you can add a hotlink.

Better idea is to work with dashboard user to draw the layout of dashboard.


Focus on Single subject area per tab:


BI Dashboard

A dashboard may be different tab, but you must focus on single area per tab. The tab should not be overloaded with information. For example what we see in car dashboard? There are few main components

  1. Speed
  2. RPM
  3. Fuel
  4. Alert (Temperature, Camera, electronica error)

These information are needed to run a car. Driver not need more information while he is driving, because he have to concentrate on road.


Practice # 2.What data you need as best Practice?

It is very important to understand with what data you are preparing dashboard. Garbage in, garbage out is a very old proverb. So you have to be very careful preparing dashboard using data. Three need to consider.

 What data source you need?

There may be lot of data source in a single company. SQL, ERP, Excel, Email, social media etc. Need to understand from which source will produce meaningful report and how different source of data will interact with each other.

For example a pharmaceutical company has sales system and they keep their prescription records into excel. If you want to correlate sales with prescription generation, there must have some common bridging system with sales system and excel data.



Need to incorporate trusted data to build Dashboard. Please note that dashboard is very powerful tool which help user to find error very easily. If you build a dashboard with wrong data and demonstrate to some user who is subject matter expert will figure out the error within a minute and from very next time he will not be interested to use the dashboard anymore. So it will be a big challenge for you to back to user into dashboard.



Data should be secure. You need to ensure that those data are not compromised to unauthorized person. If you cannot ensure this, you will not get cooperation from user.


Practice # 3: Summarized


Dashboard should be start from summary to detail. Best practice is to start the dashboard with Map, its allow user to understand from which point they will start digging. Next steps is to present the high-level KPIs with chart and it must be clean. If user want to know further, there will have to have some provision to drill more.


Position, Size & Clarity

Need to position and maintain proper size for each report so that user get better visibility. If you create chart which I too clattered, user will not be interested to see it further as he will not get any benefit from it. On the other hand leaving unnecessary free space is also not recommended.

Titles & Headings: Each Chart must have relevant titles and headings.

Color: All color which are used should be justified. If you use some exceptional color, must use legend.

Consistency: All tab must be consistence so that user will get privilege to navigate more confidently

Use Signal: In tabular report, use single or alert sign to make user understand, is it good or bad.


Practice # 4: Attention




Do everything to draw attention for the user. For example, there is a big spick on sales line. There was a TVC champagne was running this time. If this two relevant factor can be displayed together will provide much big picture.

Annotation & Reference line is also important to give opportunity to measure the performance.


Practice # 6: Interaction & Sharing

Interactive dashboard is very important for user. If they can change and resize reports will feel friendlier. It should be faster with drilldown option. Data need to be exported to PowerPoint or Excel so that user can prepare their presentation with in short time. If user can use dashboard as alternate tool of presentation is great.

Collaboration tool is also good feature for interactive dashboard. If user can share their point of view from his desk, it is really a time sever option.

Often company wants to present some data into website with is applicable for Public. You have to give opportunity to user to embed chart into website.