Does Your Company Dashboard Design Deliver What You Need?

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Dashboards should effectively display the “big picture” about performance in your department or business.  Unfortunately, 3-D Graphs, pie charts, and bright colors often make for a dashboard disaster.  Most dashboard designs focus on eye candy instead of function which misses the point - to provide clear, actionable information to the end user.

Dashboards should communicate

A good dashboard should display current information on the state of the department or organization with a single glance.  The CEO might need weekly updates to the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) while the Customer Service Director needs real-time status on the Call Center activity. Unfortunately, most dashboards just don’t deliver on their promise.

Design should not obscure the big picture

Often, dashboards require scrolling or selecting tabs to view all the information that the manager needs to understand the organization in one glance, making it hard to see the big picture.  One size fits all dashboards that are meant to serve the entire organization usually don’t work.  Dashboards need to address the individual needs of the user.

Bright, primary colors (red, blue and yellow) surprisingly make it more difficult to understand the data, especially if those colors are used to represent a number of different measures – or if you are color blind! Even though pie charts and 3-D graphs are some of the most inefficient tools for conveying the meaning of information, they are used all the time on dashboards.

That eye candy with bright colors and pie charts galore will quickly get old for the manager who needs to know quickly what is happening in his department.  He’ll get frustrated and revert to using his trusty old reports.

Take a look at the dashboards that your organization has implemented and ask yourself:

  • Are they really conveying the key information each person needs?  
  • Are they being used? 
  • How can you improve them?

With Microsoft Dynamics GP you can build dashboards that give your managers the information they need.   There is a great book on this subject well worth the time to read before you start designing - Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data by Stephen Few.  The book discusses common mistakes to avoid and great ideas for improvement. 

To find out how you can improve your dashboard effectiveness, contact Steve Kane (301-634-2404 and at BroadPoint Technologies, Virginia’s most experienced Dynamics GP Microsoft Partner.

by BroadPoint Technologies, your Virginia Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner

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