Dashboard Types Guide: Strategic, Operational, Tactical + More

Data Visualization
Aug 31, 2023
Dashboard Types Guide: Strategic, Operational, Tactical + More

Performance dashboards are a useful asset for everyone in business. However, building new dashboards can be a bit overwhelming at the beginning. You need to take into account a number of things:

  • Do you need a high-level overview or an in-depth analysis?
  • Do you need an update on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, or is it a one-time analysis to find a benchmark?
  • Are you tracking company-wide performance or just a specific area of business?

All these questions will influence what your dashboard will look like. And which metrics you'll track. Make sure you start off right: read on, and follow the flowchart to help you choose the right type of dashboard for your business needs!

The four main types of dashboards

In general, there are four categories: the strategic, tactical, operational and analytical dashboard. 

Each type has a different goal, and thus, you'll measure different KPIs (key performance indicators). So, with every new dashboard, you'll need to determine carefully what you want to achieve, and which report you'll need for that goal. To make that job a little easier, just follow the flowchart.

Great, you found your matching dashboard and you can make better, data-driven decisions! So what's next? Let's have a closer look at each type of dashboard, and what they can mean to your business.

types of dashboards

Strategic dashboard

Strategic dashboards are a must-have for any business owner or C-level executive. They offer a birds-eye view of your business, so you can understand the overall health of your organization at a glance. Typically, they offer high-level metrics for the CEO, executive team or a manager.

Usually, strategic dashboards track how you're making progress toward attaining your strategic goals and overall company performance. 

For example, imagine your goal is to triple revenue and halve your churn rate. Your reporting will include KPIs such as actual & target revenue per month, target achievement, and comparison to the previous year.

They are also great for forecasting - predicting how you’ll progress with your KPIs in a certain timeframe.

Operational dashboard

Just like strategic ones, operational dashboards provide a more high-level overview of your business goals. However, they are specifically used to track activity in a given business area.

Let's say you're a project manager at company X. You want a clear overview of how your project is running: from time tracking to budget management, revenue from your sales team, invoicing, and so on. 

With an operational dashboard, you can follow up on more closely on the input and outcome and drill down into key metrics you need for this overview.

Most operational dashboards are in real-time. So, when there are unexpected results or negative changes, business managers can take action right when it happens. It allows companies to stay proactive and deal with abnormalities through real-time data before they become a problem.

Tactical dashboard

Whereas the 2 types above serve as a 'monitoring' instrument, a tactical dashboard is meant for more in-depth analysis. This type of KPI dashboard is perfect if you want to analyze business processes in more detail through data analytics.

Typically, a tactical dashboard analyzes a much larger volume of data, collected over time. This allows you to explore the data points through filtering, using segments... In that way, you can easily detect patterns & opportunities to move your business forward. Use these insights to improve decision-making.

The focus lies much more on 'analyzing' rather than 'monitoring'. Therefore, a tactical dashboard is most useful to subject matter experts or analysts in a particular area of business.

Analytical dashboard

With an analytical dashboard, you use data visualization to dig into historical data and reveal insights that may not be so obvious for your business performance. The main difference between this dashboard type and others is the level of business intelligence analysis.

In other words, analytical dashboards have more data sets, which reflects on the dashboard design. This business dashboard has more filters, views, visualization types and tools for data analysis.

For example, if you have a call center SaaS app, you’ll need an analytical dashboard that helps you dig in and understand the data without hiring data analysts. This includes important business metrics such as the number of sales calls, individual agent performance, average call length and many others.

Similarly, your marketing team will need marketing dashboards that show deep layers of data. From which social media channels provide the most traffic, to which types of visitors are most likely to turn into customers.

Wrapping up

Different types of dashboards are suited for different purposes and use cases. And while they seem similar, choosing the right one can make all the difference for your data and how you analyze and visualize it.

The great news is that you can create all of these dashboards in a matter of minutes - not hours. Just sign up for Luzmo and you can start creating data dashboards and embedding them in your product today!

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