From Data Chaos to Clarity: The Role of Dashboards in Shadow Tracking


Data is everywhere and makes up everything. Data is the past, present, and future, and there is one way to ensure your audience knows it, too. Regarding shadow tracking, it can be challenging to portray vast amounts of historical data in a way that makes sense and produces predictions for trends. Luckily, dashboards are readily available on different platforms to help do the trick. With dashboards, you will never have to worry about bringing order to chaotic data again because you can have engaging visualizations at your fingertips!  

Choose the right Visualization Tools.  

Different visualizations allow you to tell stories and craft other narratives. The best visualizations have a clear purpose- to tell a story that best shows the history of data to draw new conclusions. The best way to choose the right visualization tools to tell a story is to clearly define to your audience what questions you want to answer. Ask yourself, “What is the story I am trying to tell? Am I trying to convey a conclusive answer to a question, or am I asking a question with the data?” To be able to do this, start with defining your target audience – does your audience have previous knowledge of the data you are presenting? How well does your audience understand the logic behind the data? Will it need to be highly detailed, or are broader dashboards enough?   

Once you have determined how you want to present your data, you can begin to choose your visualization tools. Dashboards can visualize all your saved log queries, allowing you to find, correlate, and share different operational data in your organization.   

Azure Workbooks, Azure Dashboards, Grafana, and Power BI (Business Intelligence) are standard data visualization tools. These are only a few examples of tools that provide different use cases for log analytics and answering questions using data. Dashboards specifically are used to provide a focused and organized view of your resources where you can monitor resources and quickly launch tasks to oversee daily operations. You can see projects, tasks, and even user roles using dashboards.   

Storytelling using Dashboards  

Dashboards help you create a story, setting up your data so that you can illustrate how your business is performing and influence your audience with the data you want through interactive and engaging visualizations.   

Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools at your fingertips- and it is entirely free. By compellingly presenting your data, you can provide an impulsive story, allowing your audience to grasp the message you want to convey fully. 52% of respondents in a survey conducted by Data Box said that storytelling is more critical than dashboard presentations, but 93.5% agreed that data visualization is essential to the overall success of dashboard storytelling.   

How should you get started with Dashboard Storytelling?  

Dashboards are the only way to create order from data chaos. Suppose you are preparing a presentation. You have endless reports to go through, digitized, but everything spread out over hundreds of spreadsheets would make every detail impossible to cover immediately and efficiently. Once you have your data, then what? It is all a mess, one number after the other. It can get easily overwhelmed, and that is not even mentioning past data. Yes, past data.   

You have sat through the history classes from the time of the Greeks. You must take years of history to learn about why things are the way they are now and help make accurate predictions looking to the future. In the same way, looking at past data enables you to look to the future and allows you to make predictions.   

It all sounds good, right? … But how should you get started?  

Here are some quick tips. 

  1. Make sure the dashboards work for the data. Sometimes, a chart, a graph, or a table do not function the same, as they do not portray the same types of data. Using a bar graph to convey a change over time may not be the best idea, just as using a table may not be ideal for comparing two or more variables.   
  1. Keep it Simple. You may have heard of this simple saying, but it goes further than just a saying. When you keep your dashboards away from overly complicated jargon and multiple variables all cluttered together, you will find that your audience has an easier time reading the dashboards. Although complex words seem like a clever idea to make your dashboards fancier, it does not contribute any value to the story you are trying to tell and create confusion for your audience.   
  1.  You are at the beach, your toes nestled safely in the sand, the waves caressing your shins; you bend down to pick up a seashell, one that has washed ashore. You bend down to pick up a coffee mug that has shattered all over the kitchen floor and sigh as you realize the task ahead.  

You may need clarification about how this story makes sense- it does not. People want to listen to stories and put pieces together, but if there is not a logical order of events, it does not keep your audience engaged simply because it does not make sense.   

Make sure your dashboards tell a story in a logical order to keep your audience engaged.   

Several types of dashboards help organize multiple data types, making it easier to gain clarity on something otherwise complicated. A dashboard creates a visual representation of a story so your audience can easily follow along, bringing order to the chaos of conveying substantial amounts of data at once.   


Data history is just as important as the history of anything else. Dashboards can help you portray everything clearly to tell a story and answer your audience’s questions. 

Do not take the journey across dashboards alone, reach out to Prudent right now so that you can get the best of your dashboard abilities! 

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