A dashboard can be thought of as a type of business cockpit. The dashboard can be corporate i.e. shared with several users or it can be personal for the consumption of the owner only. A dashboard usually provides an information summary of the corporate or user’s view of the world with hyperlinks to more detailed reports.
Corporate information can be consumed and shared through many different types of dashboard visualization. Examples of the information presented on a dashboard might be a list of KPIs, a balanced scorecard, a strategy map, alerts on statistical process charts, and data analytics.
Although a dashboard looks like a single component it will usually consist of several different components using widgets and reports integrated together seamlessly. An example of a canvas for building a dashboard is SAP BusinessObjects’ Dashboard Builder.
The most powerful dashboards are also designed to be interactive. In terms of SAP BusinessObjects they use an interactive dashboard tool known as Crystal Xcelsius (now renamed SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards). Once the Xcelsius Dashboard has been created it can become one of the many components on the main dashboard. When Xcelsius is combined with Query as a Web Service the data can be refreshed at the click of a button.