Would You Like to Spy on Your Neighbor’s Dashboards? Here’s How.

Dashboards

Have you ever wanted to see how others have designed a dashboard? Or what another organization’s Balanced Scorecard looks like? Come on. I know you have. Why learn things from scratch when you can stand on the shoulders of other good ideas.

Seeing how others approach a problem can show you where you forgot something or give you insights into alternate solutions.

In this short blog I’ll give you a couple of ways to see lots of sample dashboards. And I’ll give you a two websites that just collect dashboards and Balanced Scorecard examples.

To start with, one of the simplest ways to see examples of Balanced Scorecards is by using a search engine; Google is arguably the tops. Search for terms like,

Balanced Scorecard dashboard examples

When the search result page displays, click on Images in the horizontal menu above the results. Wow! That’s a lot of examples. In fact, it might be too many and many that aren’t relevant.

Use Google and specific search terms to find sample dashboards in your industry.

Use Google and specific search terms to find sample dashboards in your industry.

Narrow Your Search to Excel Dashboards in a Specific Industry

Here’s how to narrow your search to examples you can use to start brainstorms on metrics, layouts, and Excel techniques.

To write a more specific query use quotes to join items that must be found together, i.e., “query terms”. If you want to make sure multiple query phrases occur within the same search result, then join the query terms with AND.

For example, if you are interested in Excel dashboards used in a Balanced Scorecard in manufacturing, then use the “ “ and AND terms like this.

manufacturing AND “Balanced Scorecard” AND “Excel dashboard”

And again click the Images menu.

You will still get more dashboards than just those in manufacturing and Excel. That’s because some of these images are in pages where the terms “manufacturing” and “Excel dashboard” are used. But, the great thing is that Excel is so flexible you can duplicate almost any dashboard layout you see. Also, these searches can show you Excel add-ins or competing products, like Tableau, that help create dashboards.

Here is How to See REALLY COOL DASHBOARD Samples

One of the best search terms for REALLY COOL DASHBOARDS is to add the word “Tableau” to the search. Tableau is an awesome visual analytics tool that produces great dashboards. I still love Excel for model building and completely free-form projects, but Tableau really rules for fast visual analytics. Many, but not all Tableau dashboards can be reproduced in Excel. I’ve created many analytics dashboards in Tableau only to have the client ask me to replicate it in Excel to save money. Try searching with terms like,

tableau dashboard healthcare examples

You’ll get a cornucopia of dashboard samples.

A search for Tableau dashboards will give you many examples you can recreate in Excel.

A search for Tableau dashboards will give you many examples you can recreate in Excel.

These Two Sites Collect Corporate Dashboard Samples and Metrics

In addition to searching for dashboard examples in Google, I recommend browsing through two sites. These two sites contain corporate dashboards and metrics submitted by corporate employees and vendors.

Checkout the Enterprise Dashboard Digest,

http://enterprise-dashboard.com/

Once you are at this site, in the top menu click on the rightmost item, Full List of Dashboard Examples, to see a full listing of dashboard categories.

Another big list of dashboard examples and reviews is at the Dashboard Spy. These dashboards aren’t from Excel, but they can give you great ideas about metrics and layout.

http://dashboardspy.com/

On the left side, click on items under Dashboard Categories to see dashboards the “Dashboard Spy” has collected from real corporations around the world. Also, don’t miss using the Tag Cloud on the right side to find specific dashboards.

The next step in your search is to separate the wheat from the chaff. Here are a few tips that apply to all dashboard samples,

  • Keep the dashboard clean and simple
  • For executives show key objectives, targets, and the primary driver. Don’t get complicated.
  • For analysts show searchable detail with charts that show trends over time. Don’t show data unless it correlates with the objective
  • Look for a layout you can use as a template for multiple reports. Reusing a common layout helps people find information
  • Gather the key information for a decision on one dashboard
  • Use Conditional Formatting to highlight out-of-bound numbers
  • Use Sparklines to show trends in a tight space
  • Keep them clean with good white space

Happy hunting!

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