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Deploying Dashboards and Scorecards: Executive Summary
TDWI Best Practices Reports

by Wayne EckersonThursday, June 21, 2007

Executive Summary

Dashboards and scorecards resonate with business users because they conform to the way users work, rather than forcing them to conform to the way analysis and reporting tools work. These applications let users monitor the status of KPIs at a glance and alert users via pager, e-mail, or wireless devices when performance deviates from predefined targets.

Dashboards and scorecards are the most visual elements of a performance management system that merges the functionality of BI technology and performance management. Besides displaying metrics visually, these full-fledged information systems let users drill into detailed data to identify the root causes of problems and intervene while there’s still time.

Dashboards and scorecards are still in their infancy. Many organizations today build their own systems, although vendors have begun to offer commercial products with robust capabilities. Today, most dashboards and scorecards support fewer than 50 users and maintain less than 50 GB of data. However, most organizations say their dashboard or scorecard implementations are enterprise in scope, pull data from 8 to 9 distinct sources, and cascade metrics down to four levels of the organization.

Many organizations report that they haven’t spent a lot of money deploying a dashboard or scorecard. However, most of these “low-cost” dashboards or scorecards either leverage an existing BI and data infrastructure, or they have been bootstrapped to rapidly meet pressing business requirements. In the end, you get what you pay for: if you need to integrate complex data from multiple systems and scale the system to support hundreds or thousands of users in an automated way, then you will need to build a data infrastructure, and that is not cheap. Quickie dashboard products that demo great are tempting, but they must be thoroughly evaluated on their ability to support your organization’s long-term requirements.

Dashboards and scorecards represent next-generation business intelligence because they are easy to use for a majority of business users who find traditional reporting and analysis tools too complex. In addition, dashboards and scorecards are critical elements in supporting business performance management processes, which enables executives to more effectively communicate, monitor, and adjust business strategy and plans.

Survey Methodology

sample chart image from full article

The survey cited in this report was conducted in February 2006 and received 716 responses, of which 689 were considered valid. The majority of respondents were corporate IT professionals from large companies in the U.S. We did not count responses from vendors or academics. The survey was split into two sections: one focused on dashboards, the other on scorecards. We only counted responses to questions in these sections from individuals whose organizations had already implemented a dashboard or scorecard or were in the process of doing so. There were 299 and 199 respondents, respectively, who met these criteria.

This report is part of the TDWI Best Practices Report Series.

To access the complete report please visit: http://www.tdwi.org/research/reportseries/reports.aspx?pid=230

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