business intelligence dashboard definition

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Advanced data visualization guide: How visualizing data can boost BI

A business intelligence dashboard is a data visualization tool that displays the current status of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for an enterprise. Dashboards consolidate and arrange numbers, metrics and sometimes performance scorecards on a single screen. They may be tailored for a specific role and display metrics targeted for a single point of view or department. The essential features of a BI dashboard product include a customizable interface and the ability to pull real-time data from multiple sources.

Oracle and Microsoft are among the vendors of business intelligence dashboards. BI dashboards can also be created through other business applications, such as Excel. Business intelligence dashboards are sometimes referred to as enterprise dashboards.

The business intelligence dashboard is often confused with the performance scorecard. The main difference between the two, traditionally, is that a business intelligence dashboard, like the dashboard of a car, indicates the status at a specific point in time. A scorecard, on the other hand, displays progress over time towards specific goals. Dashboard and scorecard designs are increasingly converging. For example, some commercial dashboard products also include the ability to track progress towards a goal. A product combining elements of both dashboards and scorecards is sometimes referred to as a scoreboard.

See also: executive dashboard

This was first published in November 2010

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