What are Dashboards?

A dashboard is a series of metrics or graphics that relay important metrics for an organization. A dashboard can be real-time, showing data incoming from a business process, or can be a summary of some period of time. Dashboards are built to help organizations gain insights on important aspects of their operations.

What is the Use Case for Dashboards?

Dashboards can be used for a multitude of different purposes. Generally, these use cases for a company will typically fall into one of the following categories:

Operations Tracking Dashboards

This is a very broad category that encapsulates a lot of business workflows. For example, an e-commerce company would likely want to track their deliveries and order volume. A factory would want to track their overall factory efficiency. A B2B SaaS company would want to track their sales call success rates. In general, operations tracking may be the primary use case for a dashboard in a company.

Product Adoption or Usage Tracking Dashboards

This category encapsulates a lot of what a product team may use dashboards for. Understanding how users are using a tool and why can help inform which features to build, which to push for broader adoption, and which features to sunset. With objective metrics, companies can make better decisions by aggregating company data.

Financial Tracking Dashboards

All organizations have some form of financial metrics to track to understand the overall health of a business. To that end, many companies keep a dashboard for understanding the financial health of a company. Companies can actionably use this data to increase revenue or decrease costs, which adds to the overall profitability of the company.

Business Process Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Tracking Dashboards

As a more broad catch-all, dashboards are typically built to track some sort of key performance indicator for a business. For example, employee satisfaction could be an important metric for the People team at a company to track, as this is an indicator of the team’s overall performance. 

On top of common dashboard categories, companies need to decide if their dashboards will be for the internal use case or external use case.

Internal Dashboards

Internal dashboards are built to help internal stakeholders (such as employees, founders, or board members), best understand the inner workings of the business via data. Companies will typically designate some members of the team as data curators and other team members will then consume or manipulate that data to get the insights they are looking for.

External Dashboards

With the rise of embedded analytics platforms, companies are now externalizing dashboards more often than ever before. Customers, just like internal stakeholders, crave insights around their own business processes and it has now become easier than ever to build a dashboard for customers to consume.

Can Non-Technical Users Build Dashboards?

Yes, with the advent of embedded analytics platforms, companies can now build dashboards with the help of non-technical team members, breaking up the complex coding and SQL writing from the dashboard layout and styling process. Additionally, much of the data manipulation process can be done by non-technical individuals when the user experience is optimized for ease of use and easy data exploration, as opposed to legacy tools and processes that leave the non-technical user confused or overwhelmed.

What is an Easy Way to Enable Self-Serve Reporting Dashboards?

You can enable self-serve reporting, starting with embedded analytics platforms’ solutions. One of note is the Explo Report Builder, which enables an excel-like experience for users to sort through their permissioned data and gain insights and create dashboards on their own. With a Report Builder product, a customer or internal stakeholder is able to self-serve reporting without the need to reach out to the often-overworked data analytics team.

How Does AI Help With Building a Dashboard?

AI makes it easier for technical users to iterate and non-technical users to gain insights on data that they otherwise wouldn’t. A well-built dashboarding technology incorporates AI and provides guardrails for the AI to give valuable insights to the user. With a Report Builder product, for example, users can chat with an AI to do complex excel-type aggregations in seconds without the need to learn a new user interface.

AI will continually improve dashboarding technology, making it worthwhile to invest in a tool early that is also investing in the AI revolution. As Large Language Models and AI improve generally, so will dashboarding options in the market, enabling, better, more accurate dashboards for companies.

Can a Dashboard Help With Growth?

Absolutely! Dashboards are built to provide business insights, which should help a company with their key performance indicators (KPIs). By maximizing these KPIs, companies should experience growth in the underlying business, making dashboards a critical investment for companies to make, both early on, but also as companies grow.


Dashboards have become an essential part of the business workflow, enabling companies to improve their topline and bottomline with essential data insights. As AI continues to grow, so too will dashboarding use cases, as AI will unlock amazing efficiencies in the dashboarding space. If your company is looking to grow, it makes a lot of sense to invest early in analytics to help with all business decisions.

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