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Dashboarding Tips That Will Help You Make Better Decisions

MicroStrategy enables busy professionals to connect to, blend, and visualize data quickly and easily. With MicroStrategy self-service analytics, building dashboards is no longer limited to IT. We’ve invested in data discovery tools to empower business users everywhere to make faster decisions on their own. Here are a few tips to help you build dashboards that tell powerful stories about your data.

Tip #1: Combine more data sources

If you’re looking to build a dashboard, you’ve probably already identified a dataset or source that you’d like to visualize. Is it stored in an Excel spreadsheet? Facebook? Or is it information from or a Wikipedia page?  It doesn’t matter where the data lives or what format it's in—MicroStrategy allows you to connect to multiple data sets across various sources, blend it all together quickly, and then build compelling visualizations in just a few clicks.

Once you’ve identified your dataset, you can make it even more compelling by incorporating other information on the same canvas. You can study the impact of how weather affects your sales, or how social media awareness improves your bottom line. There is always new data you can mix into your dashboard to add another perspective. And once you add it, you will quickly find yourself asking more questions and finding answers you never expected.

Tip #2: Go beyond stock visualizations

Once you have your data ready to go, the big question is: which visualization makes the most sense for your information?

The right visualization will make it easier to explore data and uncover hidden trends, relationships, and outliers. Traditional bar and pie charts—even the plain old grid—will always help the majority of readers consume information quickly. But if you want to add more color and dimensionality to tell your story, technology doesn’t limit you there. Advanced visualizations, such as bubble charts, word clouds, geospatial maps, and box plots can enhance the user experience by amplifying the meaning of the data and providing users with a higher level of interactivity.

MicroStrategy also allows users to easily integrate with open source visualization libraries, such as D3, which can be accessed via the custom visualization gallery

Tip 3: Add interactive workflows

Data depicted through an interactive visualization makes a stronger and more compelling tool for decision makers. MicroStrategy’s drag-and-drop interface allows users to interactively slice and dice data so they can find answers easily. 

Filters, selectors, and easy menus to sort, drill, and pivot enhance interactivity and are critical for data exploration. You can design smarter dashboards by adding workflows that allow viewers to find a natural progression. MicroStrategy makes it easy to use one visualization as a filter or to highlight data across multiple visualizations within the same dashboard.

You can also continue to refine your perspective by dragging and dropping new dimensions and metrics onto the dashboard or into the filtering panel. Thresholds, drill paths, and page-by selectors will augment the story and help you find answers to all your questions.

Tip 4: Make it actionable

With MicroStrategy dashboards, you can take instant action—and that’s where the real value lies.

Automated triggers and alerts linked to your dashboards will promptly notify users when KPIs hit a specified threshold. You can get these notifications sent directly to your email, and individualized alerts can be sent to thousands of users.

Dashboard files can also be emailed or delivered in various formats to thousands of users in a highly personalized manner, guaranteeing that nothing will ever go unnoticed. Users can access dashboards from mobile devices and take action to “write back” to systems of record by leveraging built-in transactional capabilities. This lets you approve requests, track business activity, and execute business decisions anywhere, anytime. 

Try these design tips on MicroStrategy Desktop with your next dashboard. Download Desktop for PC or Mac here.

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