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Introduction to Power BI Dashboards

Updated: Mar 12

By: Shubham Dudeja| Dec 22, 2022 | Power BI Dashboards | Data Visualization


There's a vast distinction between collecting data and utilizing it. Data analytics and visualization tools enable smart decision-making by utilizing collected data to draw insights via engaging visualizations and user-friendly dashboards.

Power BI by Microsoft has gained popularity for business intelligence dashboards and visualizations. Power BI dashboards are one of the easiest ways to start your data visualization journey and tell a compelling story about your business powered by data. 

Power BI Dashboards

Data visualization is the vivid representation of data through dashboards, interactive maps, graphs, and other formats. Data visualization with Power BI enables you to collect, prepare, dissect, and analyze data to unlock new business insights and inform decision-making. 

A common mistake for new Power BI developers is assuming the Power BI dashboards and reports are the same. Although these terms are frequently used interchangeably, Power BI dashboards and Power BI reports have different functionality and serve different purposes. 

The content that you produce within Power BI Desktop is known as a report. A dashboard cannot be created within Power BI Desktop.

A Power BI dashboard is a collection of illustrations from one or multiple reports that are assembled within the Power BI Service.

Generally, when you produce a report, you model all data sources together to have all illustrations interact with each other. A dashboard, on the other hand, allows you to present illustrations from several unconnected sources in one view. However, you can take a visual from each report and append it to a dashboard.

For example, if you had a marketing report utilizing the marketing dataset and an HR report utilizing the HR dataset, you can take both reports and append them to a leadership dashboard to give visibility across the portfolio.

Dashboards are traditionally useful for the leadership team who want to get high-level visibility on the health of their business and still have the ability to drill into details where need be.

Power BI dashboards let you easily track the health of your project by displaying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in user-friendly visualizations.

The leadership do not need to frequently exercise the detailed interactivity that a report offers. Often pressed for time, the Leadership needs a snap-shat view that lets them monitor health within minutes and make timely decisions. 

Laminar's Business dashboards present compelling stories about your firm across sales and customer behavior, finance, and operations.

Benefits of Power BI dashboards

Power BI dashboards provide a 360-degree view of your business and help you leverage the power of data. A Power BI Dashboard helps you tell a compelling story about your project/product/business backed by data points.

Power BI dashboards help highlight the most important data insights that otherwise may be lost in large sets of data.
Well-developed Power BI dashboards contain only important points of the data store. However, they give you the ability to drill further into the details of the main report from where the dashboard visualization has been created. 

Power BI dashboards are versatile and can be used for varying purposes like business monitoring, deal performance, program monitoring, or any monitoring critical to business success.

They offer a birds-eye view of your business health and enable you to unlock new business opportunities along with managing and monitoring your existing business. 

One or many datasets underpin single or multiple reports to build a Power BI dashboard. A dashboard represents a consolidated view of important business criteria. You can have a real-time view of the data as the visualizations in the Power BI dashboards automatically refresh whenever the dataset gets streamlined. You can configure the frequency of data refresh.

Essentials of an impactful Power BI dashboard

A few considerations that can help you build impactful Power BI dashboards are:

​1. User Experience

User experience is key to ensuring the Power BI dashboards are not only easy to digest but also gain user adoption.

Less is more. Limit the number of visuals in your dashboard.
It's tempting to show everything - keep the most important ones in the dashboard.

Provide the ability to access more data insights via the reports. Users can always drill into the reports from the Power BI dashboard, so do not put a detail on the dashboard unless that is what your users need to have immediate access to.

Avoid using complex wallpapers for an already busy visualization as that adds noise to your Power BI dashboard.
Complex wallpaper may distract the user visually instead of helping them concentrate attention on the key-data visualization.

Sometimes, using a monotone background could be a great start in building user-friendly dashboards.

​2. Appropriate visualizations

Secondly, it is important to simplify your visuals to make your message stand out. Power BI dashboards offer a plethora of visualizations but it's important to choose the right visualization for the type of insight you want to target. Ask yourself which visualization would be easiest to consume by the user for the type of insight they need.

Keep users at the heart of your visualizations - remember a dashboard is not about demonstrating your power BI know-how. An impactful dashboard contains easy-to-consume data visualizations for the user and helps focus on the right data at the right time.  

Keep in mind that the dashboard is an overview, a single place to cover the current state of the data.

Reports and datasets underpin the dashboard and frequently contain numerous details. Depending on the insights the users need, you slice and dice the data to build visualizations in the Power BI dashboard.

​3. Dependable Data

Data presented in a dashboard must be dependable.

Ensuring high data quality is a critical element of Power BI dashboard development and contributes to successful uptake.
A mistake in the data can completely change the business insight. To gain the trust of users, you must sanitize the data and check every number, KPI, aggregation, and other quantitative and qualitative data on your dashboard.

In addition to sanitizing the data and ensuring the data is error-free we recommend comparing the figures with other sources within the company. A wrong number can lead to huge miscalculations in the decision-making process and discredit your dashboard. 

Laminar's Business dashboards present compelling stories about your firm across sales and customer behavior, finance, and operations.

Mistakes to avoid

​1. Unclear and unintuitive dashboard

A dashboard must be very clear and easy to understand at first look for every crucial information.

If you need to spend time explaining the particular visual there is a high chance that it isn't a good fit. Avoid creating variety in the visualizations you choose in a dashboard for the sake of variety.

Use titles, markers, and other customization to help the user understand information without requiring additional human input. 

​2. Poor choice of visuals

Opting for the right visual is an art as much as it's a science. For some data and visualizations, a simple graphic visualization is enough. Other data might need a more complex visualization.

The most common reasons why power BI developers end up choosing the wrong visuals are lack of exposure to data visualization types, inadequate understanding of the underlying data and the lack of expertise or failure to execute expertise to use some of the advanced visual designs to present complex nuances in a simplified fashion. 

​3. Thoughtless use of slicers

You should be aware that slicers are not always a good choice, especially if the visualization has a lot of elements. However, it's okay to use a slicer if you have up to five options. But if the number of choices exceeds five, it is recommended to consider using a drop-down menu. Place the drop-down menu in an accessible area like the top of the dashboard. You should use one drop-down menu for each data field or each data dimension.

Alternatively, depending on the visualization you can use the space taken up by slicers to display a map. For example, instead of having a slicer that lists every state, for illustration, you can turn the list of countries into a map. 

How can we help?

Gravitas can help establish Laminar business dashboards to present data about your firm across sales and customer behavior, finance, and operations. Making it easy to communicate your firm’s performance to your employees, investors, and partners. We can help you run your business like a Fortune 500 company – disciplined and informed decisions backed by data.

About Us

Leading the Way: The Transformation Office and the Art of Change Management

Our story began with the deep desire to drive tangible, visible, and measurable outcomes for clients. With that as our guiding beacon, we launched Gravitas Consulting – a boutique consulting firm specializing in bringing Insight to Oversight.

We help our clients scale and improve their businesses by the thoughtful application of Intelligent Information to guide decisions and actions. We leverage our data analytics and visualization, enterprise program and change management, and customer experience design expertise to provide leaders with the intelligence they need to do what they do best, even better.

At Gravitas, we measure success by only one metric: each client’s satisfaction with our ability to drive Outcomes that matter. We stand behind this belief by putting a portion of our fees at risk if we do not meet the commitments we promise.

Our promise to clients is simple: we drive outcomes that matter.


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