The 3 types of dashboards you need for business intelligence, KPI tracking and data drive decision making

Every business should use dashboards to track KPIs, make data-driven decisions and monitor business performance. Here are the 3 types of dashboards you need to use.

Published: 03/06/2024|By: Dashbase Team

In the realm of business intelligence (BI), dashboards stand as the cornerstone of strategy, operational efficiency, and in-depth analysis. They not only consolidate data into an actionable format but also empower stakeholders at all levels to make informed decisions. However, there are multiple dashboard types and organization must consider when creating their data strategy. Each type of dashboard serves a different purpose, caters to a different audience and drives different outcomes.

This article delves into the three essential types of dashboards that form the backbone of a robust BI strategy: Strategic KPI Dashboards, Operational Dashboards, and Deep Dive Analytics Dashboards. We will explain the value of each one of these dashboard types, the business users they serve and the ideal structure and scope for them.

Introduction to Business Intelligence Dashboards

In today's fast-paced business environment, the ability to quickly interpret and act on data is crucial. Dashboards provide a visual representation of performance indicators and metrics, catering to various aspects of business operations. By understanding the distinct roles and functions of strategic KPI dashboards, operational dashboards, and deep dive analytics dashboards, businesses can better align their BI strategies with their overarching goals.

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3 Types of Dashboards

Dashboard TypePrimary AudiencePrimary PurposeTypes of Metrics
Strategic KPI DashboardsThe Entire OrganizationHigh-level view of the business's performanceTop-level KPIs that reflect the company's success
Operational DashboardsSpecific departments and teamsPrivide actionable insights in real time to improve operationsActionable, real time leading indicators for the specific department
Deep Dive Analytics DashboardsSpecialized individuals and business analystsProvide detailed insights to inform strategy and decision makingGranular data and complex metrics for detailed analysis

Strategic KPI Dashboards

Strategic KPI Dashboards are the high-level view that leaders use to gauge the health and direction of the business. These dashboards focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect the company's success. They're designed to be straightforward, offering a clear understanding of the business's performance at a glance.

Think of these as the dashboards you have on a screen in the center of the office or pull up in a company all hands presentation. Every organization should have one central KPI dashboard, presenting up to 10 business KPIs. You don't want to over-detail this dashboard with too deep metrics - think about the top numbers that everyone in the business should know and rally behind.

What metrics to include in this dashboard depends on your business and strategy. Here are some examples to get a sense of the appropriate scope:

  • User Signups: Tracking the growth in the user base, indicating market reach and product acceptance.
  • Revenue: The ultimate measure of a company's financial health and growth.
  • New Subscriptions: For subscription-based models, this metric highlights growth trends and customer interest.
  • Churn Rate: Measures customer retention and satisfaction by tracking the rate at which customers leave.
  • Products Sold: understanding the sales figure, potentially grouped by product line.
  • Sales Pipeline: get a view of the size and maturity of the sales pipeline.

Strategic KPI dashboards serve as a rallying point for the entire company, motivating teams by showcasing the numbers that truly matter. For instance, seeing a steady increase in user signups can motivate the marketing team to refine their strategies, while a decrease in churn rates might indicate successful customer service improvements.

It is also important to understand the cultural importance of these dashboards. In reality, the metrics in these dashboard are often too high level and too broad to have immediate actionable value. For instance - even if you can see revenue is missing target, it might be hard to understand from that alone what you can do to get it back on track. However, the mere existence of these dashboards can help effectuate a data driven culture across the organization and encourage individuals to seek data from more detailed dashboards - which we will move on to next!

Operational Dashboards

Operational dashboards provide a snapshot of the day-to-day workings of various departments within a company. These dashboards are tailored to the specific needs of different teams, offering timely, actionable data that helps prioritize and drive daily operations.

These dashboards are likely not going to be relevant for the entire organization, but rather to decision makers at particular departments or teams. They are also often used to inform day to day operations and resource allocation rather than strategic decisions.

Examples per Department:

  • Support Team: Metrics such as current open tickets and ticket age help prioritize customer support efforts.
  • Sales Team: Dashboards might showcase the number of demos, new leads, and the status of current deals, guiding sales strategies.
  • SRE Team: Monitoring server load, website latency, and top issues flagged helps in maintaining system health and performance.

Operational dashboards enable departments to respond quickly to immediate needs and opportunities, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in daily tasks. It is important to make sure these dashboards focus on leading indicators rather than trailing indicators, to ensure they provide actionable insights. While higher level KPI dashboards often focus on trailing metrics (like revenue or signups), these dashboards should focus on real time indicators that will lead the main business KPIs -- giving stakeholders a chance to take action and course correct.

Deep Dive Analytics Dashboards

For those requiring a detailed analysis, Deep Dive Analytics Dashboards offer an in-depth look into specific aspects of the business. These data dashboards are highly specialized and often used by individuals or small teams to inform detailed strategies and decisions. They will often include more complex data and wider set of data points. As they serve subject matter experts, readability and styling is less important.

Specialized Examples:

  • Marketing Specialists: A competitive dashboard that tracks updates, prices, and sales from competitors to inform strategy adjustments.
  • Content Specialists: Analyzing keyword positions and reader engagement to guide content creation and optimization.
  • Financial Analysts: Detailed breakdowns of quarterly spend by segment, identifying areas of profitability and loss.
  • Product Manager: detailed breakdown of product usage trends, conversion rates and feature adoption.

Deep Dive Analytics Dashboards allow for a granular approach to problem-solving and strategy formulation, leveraging data to uncover trends, opportunities, and challenges. These strategic dashboards are key to making data driven business decisions and are at the very core of advanced business intelligence. However, it must be understood that but for the relevant specialists, these dashboards will be too detailed for most stakeholders in the organizations - which is why organizations must prioritizer the higher level types of dashboards too.


In the digital age, the power of data cannot be understated. Strategic KPI Dashboards, Operational Dashboards, and Deep Dive Analytics Dashboards are essential tools in a business's BI toolkit. By implementing these three types of dashboards, organizations can ensure that their teams are aligned, informed, and equipped to make data-driven decisions.

Whether it's steering the company towards its strategic goals, managing day-to-day operations with greater efficiency, or diving deep into the data for detailed insights, these dashboards play a pivotal role in leveraging data for business success. Integrating these dashboards into your BI strategy will not only enhance decision-making across all levels but also propel your business towards its objectives with clarity and precision.