As a foundation for understanding the AppInsights app, we’ve outlined what constitutes a AppInsights dashboard -- and how to design ones that matter -- in the sections below.

What is a dashboard?

Dashboards act as the canvas for your data within AppInsights. Each of your dashboards starts as a blank grid with myriad possibilities -- each dashboard can be used to focus on a specific area of interest within your company or team, or can be used to correlate and compare metrics from different data sources or areas of interest.

For standard users, the dashboard is a 24x12 grid which can be organized according to your preferences -- our drag and drop interface enables users to resize, move, delete, or copy any of their added widgets (more on this later). While you are not limited by the number of data streams, authentications, or widgets on a given dashboard, please note that each of our visualizations / widgets has minimum size requirements to prevent the distortion or illegibility of your data.

As you add more more widgets to your dashboards, you will eventually run out of space and be required to move your work to another dashboard, or upgrade to another plan that offers more space for additional widgets and / or areas of focus. You can find more information on our dashboard prices on our plans page.

Dashboards you care about

All KPIs are not created equal. One of the most common mistakes for new AppInsights users is the expectation that our platform can tell you which metrics you should be monitoring to grow your business, motivate your team, monitor your resources, etc. But each company is unique, as are the the metrics that indicate success. The primary success levers for a sales team in a digital agency will be entirely different than the success levers for a sales team in the world of B2B software. For these reasons, it’s important for users to spend the time and energy to understand which metrics actually drive the success of their businesses or confirm the success of the project(s) they’re monitoring within AppInsights.

How can this be accomplished? If you’re new to the AppInsights app -- or you’ve been a user for some time and are looking to put a “fresh face” on your dashboards -- start by making a list of the areas of focus and corresponding KPIs that you would like to see on a dashboard. As a second step, determine if you would like to track these data points or data sets historically, or if you’re just looking for a real-time number. Another question to consider: what is the ideal visual format for the data points or data sets in question? What will resonate most with your fellow dashboard stakeholders?

By engaging in these preparatory steps, you will come to the AppInsights app with a strong plan for success. Instead of depending on our out-of-the-box integrations to guide your focus, or hitting a wall with our custom data tools because you’re unsure of where to begin, you can begin by surfacing the KPIs that you’ve already identified as important levers within your business. There’s nothing worse than a dashboard that looks pretty but doesn’t actually provide any insight into the performance of your business or team. You can prevent this by making some initial notes on the ideal content / structure of your dashboards.

Iteration and improvement

While AppInsights is best described as a data monitoring tool, this shouldn’t suggest that dashboard set-up is a one time project. Your dashboards should be a living compilation of the KPIs that are most important to your business or project at that point in time. Like any company or team however, priorities and goals can and will change as new products are created, new team members are added, etc. If your dashboards remain unchanged while all the elements that impact their content are changed...then they are sure to provide less insight and, as a result, become less actionable.

We recommend that our users continue tweaking and improving their dashboards as often as priorities change or new areas of interest emerge. Create a scratchpad dashboard where you can experiment with new KPIs; add new users and collaborate to identify new ideas or strategies; use our Metric Math widget to run basic computation between different data streams. Here at AppInsights, we are committed to providing you with the data source availability and feature-set that will optimize your experience...but it’s up to you to make sure the data that you monitor actually matters.

Solutions by industry

While AppInsights’s integration portfolio and custom data tools allow you to represent data from just about any source, you will probably have a very specific area of interest in mind when building your dashboards. To assist you in defining the best plan of attack for motivating a sales team, managing a help desk, or boosting your social media presence, start by exploring our solutions page for more information on how AppInsights can be leveraged to suit your use case. By navigating to our data sources page, you can also explore our integration portfolio using convenient company org tags. If you don’t see your integration of choice, please send a ticket to our support team and let us know what’s missing.