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A guide to dashboard reporting

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Dashboard reporting communicates essential business data with interactive, easy-to-understand graphics. Whether you’re reporting sales data, project statuses, or customer feedback, everyone on the team can quickly grasp the most important facts. Keeping cross-functional teams and business partners up-to-date on projects, challenges, and market data can be challenging. Dashboard reporting streamlines the dissemination of relevant information. When everyone can see the same picture, businesses decrease time to market and produce higher-quality products.

This guide discusses the value of dashboard reporting in gaining a competitive advantage and how teams can start using it today.

What is dashboard reporting?

Dashboard reporting transforms essential business data into streamlined visual points. It uses charts, graphs, and timelines for easy comprehension. Dashboard reporting can often appear on a single page, saving your audience valuable time.

Key components of dashboard reporting

Dashboard reporting synthesizes internal documentation from various sources into a dynamic visual format. Key components include:

  • Data visualization: Using charts, tables, and graphs, you decide on the most effective graphical presentation. For example, visualize revenue from multiple products with a pie chart showing the percentage each product contributed to your overall quarterly revenue.
  • Charts: Charts and diagrams provide important information in a single, easy-to-understand visual. Whether it’s workflow, project updates, market share data, or customer feedback, charts highlight the critical points while eliminating the need for your audience to sift through data.
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs): On the same dashboard report, include the KPI data for each product. This may include service issues, customer satisfaction ratings, and overall production costs.
  • Real-time updates: Dashboard reporting is dynamic. Link it to project timelines to provide real-time completion dates, estimated time to market, or the latest service information. For example, product managers can see current timelines for project completion, allowing them to understand roadblocks or dependencies.
  • Customizable widgets: Tailoring dashboard reports allows your audience to view the underlying data and enhance their understanding. This can include open tasks remaining in a project milestone, high-priority service tickets, or dependencies delaying release dates.

Types of dashboard reporting

Dashboard reporting is effective for most types of data-rich stakeholder communication. Some examples of dashboard reporting include:

  • Operational dashboard reports can help businesses identify areas needing attention, such as network outages, a spike in incident reports, or high maintenance costs. 
  • Strategic planning dashboard reports help leaders make data-driven decisions based on KPIs. For example, a dashboard may illustrate that one region’s sales revenue is lagging or another region may require additional resources.
  • Tactical dashboard reports inform teams about current projects and activities, including upcoming milestones. Drilling deeper into the details and understanding roadblocks helps teams troubleshoot delays and make informed decisions quickly.
  • Analytical dashboard reports may include data on customer research, competitors, or market opportunities.

Benefits of dashboard reporting

Traditional methods of sifting through pages of information from disparate sources can delay decisions and create confusion. Not everyone on cross-functional teams has the skills or time to analyze mountains of data. Dashboard reporting helps businesses and teams understand the most important measures and make decisions faster. Benefits of dashboard reporting include:

Real-time visibility

Dashboard reporting provides the most important information at that moment. Stay on top of KPIs with real-time visibility. Whether measuring project progress or revenue to date, teams gain immediate insights to make data-driven decisions.

Data visualization

Data visualization helps all members of the team understand complex information. Data visualization takes the guesswork out of understanding, eliminating misinterpretations and misunderstandings.

Efficient decision-making

The sooner a team recognizes a problem, the faster they can correct it. Visual information based on real-time data decreases resolution time for issues such as roadblocks or overspending.

Performance monitoring

Whether measuring time to market, product quality, or customer satisfaction, dashboard reporting provides teams with uniform information to assess overall performance. It gives teams the tools to recognize important performance trends and identify opportunities and concerns.

User engagement

Keep everyone engaged with interactive, user-friendly dashboard reporting. The visual format highlights the critical information, cuts out extraneous data, and allows you to delve into the details when questions arise.

Best practices for dashboard reporting

To maximize the value of dashboard reporting, identify the goals first. Here are four practices for effective dashboard reporting:

1. Define clear KPIs

Choose KPIs that align with your business goals. For example, manufacturers measure both the number of defects found during testing and those reported by customers. Business leaders may decide that the goal is fewer than 2% defects. The dashboard shows the business’s current state concerning that goal.

2. Keep your dashboard organized

Too much information leads to clutter that makes it more difficult for the audience to navigate. This can disengage the audience. Keep the dashboard concentrated on important data with clean, easy navigation.

3. Focus on actionable data

The dashboard should provide the right balance of information that allows for action. For example, an operational dashboard might report production downtime, product yield, and facilities costs. Its audience may decide to schedule additional maintenance, replace equipment, or run shorter cycles.

4. Utilize dashboard filters

Create a single template for the type of data, and filter it for individuals. For example, a dashboard measuring quality testing can draw data for multiple products. Filter it to provide each team with their own product information.

Use Confluence for efficient dashboard reporting

Confluence brings everyone together in a connected workspace for true team collaboration. It empowers teams to create, organize, and share information. Confluence spaces–which contain pages, whiteboards, video messages, and databases–provide a single source of truth to create dashboard reports. Teams can also use Confluence Smartlinks and Elements to bring analytics directly into the dashboard. This ensures up-to-date information and alignment on performance metrics, and it simplifies the work that contributes to achieving team goals. 

Whether the dashboard provides project status, service incidents, or progress on strategy goals, custom chart macros make it easy to pull in real-time graphical data from project documentation, process documentation, timelines, action items, and more.

With Confluence, built-in templates help you collect and refine information for dashboard reporting. This can be project plans, milestones, task tracking, and more.

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Dashboard reporting: Frequently asked questions

How do you create a dashboard report?

The right dashboard reporting tool simplifies the process and integrates necessary data into accurate reports. It visually communicates critical metrics in a graphical format. The right tool will support testing and modifying your dashboard reports to adapt to changes.

What does a good dashboard report look like?

Effective dashboard reports present concise measures for each KPI with highly intuitive graphics. Visuals must be relevant, accessible, and up-to-date. Keeping the dashboard current is important, as teams and leaders rely on the information.

What are some dashboard reporting tools?

Integrated reporting tools provide fast access to real-time information. Teams using Confluence gain the advantage of a single source of truth—a collaborative communication platform where everyone on the team contributes in a central location. This leads to more accurate information‌, which is the key to data-driven decision-making.

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