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Identifying The Essential Requirements Of Any Dashboard Solution

by Lyndsay Wise, President, WiseAnalyticsMonday, January 18, 2010

Luckily, there has been a general market push to develop solutions that are targeted towards business users and away from the technical expertise required by super users.  Also, because of the visual nature of dashboards, business users can interact with information more easily and identify trends and perform analyses without the need for much technical knowledge.  As this trend continues, solutions that do not meet the dynamic requirements of end users will become obsolete.

Ease of use and interactivity

A general extension of developing a solution targeted to the needs of business users involves the solution’s overall ease of use and interactivity.  With the continual use of Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and the like, people are beginning to expect the same ease of use and ability to interact with their business applications as well.  Because of the ease in which people can interact with their environment within social networking environments, there is a building expectation that new applications will follow the same principles.  This can already be seen with the increasing role of collaboration within dashboard and BI applications and how information can be shared, commented on and changed by multiple team members. 

Out-of-the-box functionality and customization

Aside from general implementation times and depending on the company’s industry, organizations should consider the vertical expertise or industry solutions available out of the box.  Buying a solution that already has most of the functionality required allows companies to save time because most of the features required are built in.  Also, in many cases, vendors have a certain level of expertise due to their interactions with other customers within the same vertical markets over time.  This expertise can be exploited to develop dashboards that are targeted to individual businesses.

Final thoughts

All of the items discussed within this article are fairly abstract in nature.  Each organization has different requirements and will be implementing dashboards with different end goals in mind.  Therefore, no single list of features and functionality exists to help guide organizations in their ideal dashboard search.  However, having a broad understanding of the basics related to both IT and business requirements helps sift through solutions more quickly.  Otherwise, organizations may consider solutions that do not meet their business or technology needs.

Overall, the key facts to remember are the importance of looking at the current IT infrastructure to help identify the type of solutions that will fit within the overall structure of the organization.  In some cases, this might mean looking at Software-as-a-Service alternatives that work independently of the organization’s IT environment.  On the business side, overall goals of the project need to be defined right away.  In addition to maintaining clarity, the ease of use required and interactivity can be defined up front.  Finally, by considering how much customization a company wants to take on, projects can be more accurately scoped out, creating more accurate project timelines.

About the Author

Lyndsay Wise is an industry analyst for business intelligence. For over seven years, she has assisted clients in business systems analysis, software selection and implementation of enterprise applications. Lyndsay is the channel expert for BI for the Mid-Market at B-eye-Network and conducts research of leading technologies, products and vendors in business intelligence, marketing performance management, master data management, and unstructured data. She can be reached at lwise@wiseanalytics.com. And please visit Lyndsay's blog at myblog.wiseanalytics.com.


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