When certain enterprise dashboards get submitted to the Dashboard Spy dashboard screenshot collection, I know right away that it's a big winner. For us executive dashboard enthusiasts, a digital dashboard sample is worth returning to again and again for study when the following characteristics are evident: there is a working demo online, there is clearly an understanding of the underlying business processes, the user interface is professionally and wonderfully designed, and there are interesting visual solutions used to solve the puzzle of how to visually impart the business intelligence contained in the data to the business user.
Here is a truly wonderful enterprise dashboard that focuses on tracking the sales pipeline. It's from visual-io.com and available to try out as a Business Week Interactive Graphic. There is a nice write up in this BW article, Picturing a Better Business.
Take a look at this dashboard screenshot and you'll see that there are several things going on. The size, color and positioning of the dots represent the sales pipeline KPIs. The Sales Pipeline Viewer lets you track the progress of each sales executive's potential deals through the sales cycle – from qualification to close. The visual aspects of each dot (representing each potential deal) represent certain facts about the deal. In this screenshot, the size of the dot gives the priority, the color of the dot shows the closing probability and the height of the dot relative to the box it sits in shows the expected revenue. The background is important too. There is the concept of a "heat map" – the more deals in any box, the darker its background. This lets the manager instantly comprehend who is "hot" and who is not (always a challenge in a sales management situation).
Homework: Lots to study here. Let this sample dashboard inspire you to learn the underlying disciplines. If you need to brush up on visual design and User Interface issues, this is a great summary for IT and business-side project members – The Elements of Graphic Design: Space, Unity, Page Architecture, and Type. If you need an understanding of the sales process and how to measure it, take a look at these books on measuring sales performance.
So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy's favorite books on business dashboards.