4 Tips for Corporate Dashboards in Tableau

What does the C-suite look for in an analytic

I’m so excited to announce that I’ve joined up with Lindsay Betzendahl this year to collaborate and will continue to drive forward the #ProjectHealthViz community initiative. I’m so excited to be on the team and we’ve got some cool coming in 2021! And it’s starting right now with our first dataset, NHS Admissions. 

One of the new things we’re going to be doing this year with #ProjectHealthViz is adding additional “challenges” on top. Think of it as a starting purpose for making something. And for our first challenge with this dataset, we asked folks to create a c-suite dashboard. 

And that’s what I’ve done with my submission. I created a very high level of the most important metrics. Now its no surprise that every stakeholder is different but there are a few things that every c-suite stakeholder is going to want in their dashboards. Let’s cover them.

  • KPI
  • Next level drill/detail
  • Few filters & little interactivity
  • Consumable

KPIs

There aren’t many business-first dashboards that won’t have some type of KPI, so be sure to start off your dashboard with big numbers! Be sure to understand what are the drivers, what’s important. This is different for each domain, so you definitely want to have a conversation with your stakeholder if you don’t already know what they are. Yes, it’s okay to ask. You can see in my example that I created that I gave 4 KPIs. And for each, I created a sub-dimension that allows the user to understand both the top level number but also compared that to the top n specialties. 

Next Level Drill/Detail

After the user takes a look at the KPIs, they’re gonna be ready for the next-level detail. There is a specific difference between next level and low level detail. As BI developers, we do not want to bog down our stakeholder’s time with making them sift through lots of detail trying to find the insight. So I like to give them the next level down from KPIs. So use the KPIs to determine which dimensions measures you should use to give them the next level of detail.

Few filters & little interactivity

This next one is such a hard lesson for newer BI developers to learn (take it from one who knows, first hand 😉 ). As much as interactivity can help with data understanding in a dashboard. But for C-suite executives, too much interactivity can be a determent rather than a help. I put this filters in the bucket as well. We’ve all had that stakeholder that gets too bogged down in the details to see the forest and the vision, right? And then they spend way too much time looking into every detail. Then the next thing you know you’ve got another 50 items to look into. This is not a plea to do less work, you are actually doing them a favor. To get around that in my dashboard, I added a popout box of all the available specialties with a integer parameter to increase or decrease the top specialties. 

My one level of interactivity that I added was a hover-to-highlight action based on specialty. This helps the user make the connection between the different charts. 

Consumable

The last piece of advice I’ll leave you with is to make you dashboard consumable in multiple formats. Try to think if this will be printed out and delivered in a meeting. Or perhaps it’ll be added to a slide deck for a presentation. You can rest assured that content will be consumed, at some point, outside of computer screen. You can use Tableau’s built-in dashboard sizing options to format your dashboard for multiple sizes.

Check out the interactive visualization

1 comment on “4 Tips for Corporate Dashboards in Tableau”

  1. Tom Tomasovic Reply

    Hey Sean!

    This actually looks pretty neat, and I appreciate what you say about providing too much detail for executives.

    I’m going to take it as a project to see if I can’t reproduce it by myself. Being very much a newbie, it will be great practice to learn how it is done. The minimal flexibility will allow me to focus on the visualization techniques instead of the whiz/bang interactions.

    My only comment/question/suggestions would be to ask why you did not choose to add something to the title to indicate the number of specialties. I actually had to look around a bit before I notice the field selector at the top of the viz. My first instinct in looking at it was, how many specialties am I looking at? Adding that to the title would have answered that question immediately.

    Just my thoughts!

    I appreciate what you guys are doing to help people like me, so I hope you take my commentin the vein it was offered!

    Thanks!

    Tom

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