On your car dashboard, you will see real-time information such as how far you have gone (odometer), how far you can go (gas gauge), and how fast you are getting there (speedometer). Likewise, you can develop for your business a dashboard of important metrics and KPIs (key process/performance indicators) to give you a real-time look at your organization’s performance. 

Overview: What is a dashboard? 

When talking about displayed information, you will hear the terms dashboard and scorecard. They are not synonymous. 

  • Scorecard: A scorecard is an evaluation tool that can be used to compare your current state with your strategic goals. It is often used by your customers to evaluate your company’s performance against specific performance criteria such as on-time delivery, quality, completeness of order, and responsiveness. It is usually not done in real time and represents an historical perspective.
  • Dashboard: Dashboards are used for a real-time view of your KPIs. They can be focused or balanced. Balanced dashboards cover a broad range of KPIs including those for operational, customer, financial, sales, growth, and people metrics. The data on a dashboard is used for managing day-to-day decisions, while a scorecard has a longer-term view of the organization. 

Today, many dashboards are electronic displays that will capture real-time data and present it in a dynamic format. The table below shows the contrast between a dashboard and scorecard. 

Dashboard vs Scorecard

An industry example of a dashboard 

The VP of human resources concluded she was spending too much time at her weekly staff meetings flipping through PowerPoint slides and Excel spreadsheets. She decided to create a dashboard of the things important to the team and focus on those items during the meeting. 

The picture below shows what her dashboard looked like.

Example of HR dashboard

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about a dashboard

What is a good definition of a dashboard? 

A dashboard is a business reporting tool that consolidates and displays critical metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) in a single screen, allowing users to monitor and evaluate organizational performance at a glance, usually in real time. 

What type of dashboard should my senior executives use? 

At the executive level, your leaders should use a strategic dashboard, which is designed to give executives a high-level overview of the organization and how it is performing against established strategic targets and goals. 

What is the difference between a scorecard and a dashboard? 

A dashboard can be considered a performance monitoring system, while the scorecard is a performance management system.

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