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How do dashboards work?

Learn about dashboards.

Dashboards are another way for you to visualise and report information. Similar to charts, dashboards have different types based on what you are trying to achieve with your data.

The dashboard is the space on your platform where you see all of the business’s moving parts at a single glance. There are three main types of dashboards and these are outlined as follows:

Operational dashboards

The main purpose of an operational dashboard is to provide a bird’s-eye view of operational performance. The metrics typically update in real-time and relate to daily operations.

Operational leaders and management usually use operational dashboards to track how well the team is performing against targets, and to gain insight into anything that might derail operations. However, it is increasingly common for the entire team to have access to these dashboards, to cultivate a sense of ownership and shared responsibility for operational excellence.

Analytical dashboards

An analytical dashboard uses historical data to help identify trends that can then be used to inform decision-making. Because historical trend analysis is a major focus of analytical dashboards, viewers should be able to interact with the data by using tools such as pivot tables and drill-downs. Data analysts are the most frequent users of analytical dashboards, because the dashboards often require a level of understanding of data analysis and mapping that typical business users don’t have.

Strategic dashboards

Strategic dashboards (also known as executive dashboards) track performance in relation to key performance indicators (KPIs), to align actions to strategy and inform strategic decision-making. More and more often, organisations are sharing strategic dashboards with the whole organisation.

Other dashboards

You might come across other types of dashboards, depending on the nature of your work or the department you work for.

Adam McCann, an analyst and Tableau Zen Master, describes five types of dashboards in the below article.

Read: 5 types of dashboards [1]


1. McCann A. 5 types of dashboards [Internet]. Duelling Data; 2019 Jan. Available from:

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