FUNDAMENTALS OF EXCEL DASHBOARDS

Well just what is a DASHBOARD?

Some Definitions of Dashboards & Reports

A dashboard report is an important tool for any C-level executive and other business manager. While keeping you on top of vital statistics and KPIs, dashboard reports help you visualize and track trends on every level of your business and to align activities with key goals.

Dashboards are designed to help us monitor what’s going on at a glance—or at least, that’s what they’re supposed to do.

To give people a means to rapidly monitor what’s going on, dashboards must be designed in particular ways to take advantage of the strengths of visual perception and cognition and to work around or augment their weaknesses.

Dashboard reports allow managers to step back from the details and see the key trends and relationships that drive their companies. Excel is an excellent tool for creating these reports.

A dashboard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives which fits entirely on a single computer screen so it can be monitored at a glance.

A report is constructed for a clear purpose and to a particular audience. Specific information and evidence are presented, analysed and applied to a particular problem or issue.

Dashboard Design Process

1. PURPOSE : Establish who requested the dashboard to be created and ask what information do they want. Determine who the audience of the dashboard will be.

2. DESIGN : Create a rough sketch (AKA “Mock-up”) of the Dashboard. When designing the Mock-up, that will determine what you should include and exclude on he dashboard.

3. RETRIEVE DATA : Know where you are getting your data from and see what is useful/practical and which data is useless. Do not clutter up your dashboard with “Nice to know” statements!

4. STRUCTURE : Phase where the Excel spreadsheet is structured. Create separate sheet tabs for the Data, Stage, Calculations and Output.

5. DATA CRUNCH : Crunch the numbers and perform analysis on the Calculations sheet by using Excel formulas and tools To create indirect link to feed the Output.

6. GRAPHICAL DESIGN : Create a visual representation of the findings through Excel charts etc.

7. FORMATS : Remove clutter & format numbers effectively so the users can understand the information that they represent without confusion or hindrance.

8. PRESENT : Present the dashboard to the audience and obtain feedback. Restart the process after obtaining feedback to improve the dashboard quality for the next refresh schedule.

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