• Votes for this article no votes for this yet
  • Dashboard Insight Newsletter Sign Up

Principles of Effective Dashboards

by Andrew Popp, IBM Business Analytics SoftwareFriday, April 16, 2010

Abstract

The dashboard has emerged as a business framework to manage and share information in context. Dashboards provide an at a glance view of business performance. They give companies a factual and timely window into performance, help them identify anomalies that could turn into significant business issues and provide an entry point for digging deeper into root causes. This form of ubiquitous business visibility helps the company improve performance over time and ensures the right people are making the right decisions using the right information.

Overview

Dashboards mean different things to different people. Not all dashboards are created equally. Color, shading, the use of white space and animated graphics can provide significant benefits by enabling individuals to quickly grasp the information presented in a dashboard.

Dashboards provide an at a glance view of business performance
Figure 1: Dashboards provide an at a glance view of business performance.

However, some solutions focus on creating a complicated experience that fails to leverage data visualization best practices and can leave users confused. IBM Cognos® 8 Business Intelligence takes a flexible approach to dashboarding that recognizes the different ways people interact with information, and the different business realities they face.

Business problems

Prior to engaging in a discussion of the merits of an enterprise Dashboarding strategy, it is important to outline some of the common challenges associated with ensuring broad usage of business intelligence tools and information:

  • Technical skills and training may be limited or bandwidth constrained. Most decision-makers are not power users. Redesigning and streamlining functionality across disparate sets of tools to make the features more obvious is neither cost effective nor an efficient use of skilled IT resources.
  • Assignments are always changing. Decision makers don’t have the luxury of doing one job for years on end. Generalists are often cycled from one role or team to the next as business needs dictate.
  • Degree of needed interaction may vary. Because the roles and the skills of the decision makers can cover such a wide range, some will be comfortable using and working with BI tools independently, while others will require significantly more initial and ongoing support.

A dashboard should provide people with information that allows them to move from insight to action quickly
Figure 2: A dashboard should provide people with information that allows
them to move from insight to action quickly

Business drivers

Companies don’t have days to spare to come to a decision. They need to make the call almost as soon as the issue becomes apparent. This need for speed puts organizations in a difficult position: Either make the decision without the benefit of detailed analysis – because using conventional tools might take time you don’t have – or risk missing deadlines and losing agility.

Tweet article    Stumble article    Digg article    Buzz article    Delicious bookmark      Dashboard Insight RSS Feed
 
 Next Page
1 2
Other articles by this author

Discussion:

No comments have been posted yet.

Site Map | Contribute | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Dashboard Insight © 2017