Dashboard Insight's Maroushka Kanywani recently spoke with Wayne Morris, President and CEO of myDIALS about BI, software-as-a-service and performance improvement.
Maroushka Kanywani: Wayne, could you give me a brief history of myDIALS?
Wayne Morris: myDIALS is a fairly young company. We were founded a little over a couple of years ago. I’ll give you a little bit of a background on myself since this is how myDIALS came about. I’ve been with a number of companies including HP and I was the Chief Marketing Officer at Houston-based BMC Software.
I went back to Australia and I was the CEO of an industrial controls real-time automation company there called Citect Corporation, that was later bought by Schneider. Our competitors included Honeywell and Rockwell among others. A number of people at Citect including the other founder and CTO, Peter Long, left and basically we saw the power of putting real-time information in the hands of decision makers and in that case it was more production engineers, plant managers and plant engineers.
In addition I had felt the pain as an executive of not having information that was relevant and timely enough to allow me to take operational decisions that would affect the results and outcomes. After a reporting period closes you could always get financial reports or production reports but this is really the outcome – not the driver.
myDIALS is about helping companies improve operational performance by delivering the relevant timely metrics that decision makers need to make good operational decisions that in turn, will lead to better performance. We focus on vertical industries like manufacturing, healthcare – particularly the hospital networks – and mining as well as the food and beverage companies that have a real-time process or real-time production aspect to their business.
MK: So you’re coming at it more from an executive management perspective than an IT or technical background?
WM: Yes, although obviously we’re applying technology to it. I thought originally that this was all about the executives and managers but what we’re finding is that it goes far deeper than that. For example one of our largest customers is Snap-on Tools and they’re rolling out to over 4,000 users so it’s not just staying at the executive level but anybody that’s making a decision that affects the operational performance of the business.
MK: What’s going on at myDIALS in terms of new products and directions?
WM: Having provided a backdrop and saying we’re about operational performance improvement, the way that gets manifested in the product is that we provide an interactive, intuitive dashboard upon which we show the appropriate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Key Performance Drivers (KPDs) that are relevant to the specific person looking at them. We also embed knowledge about the vertical industry and about the process the person is responsible for.
We add to that an amount of analytic capability so that the decision maker can quickly get an understanding of the operational performance, be able to drill-in and identify areas where they have performance issues or areas where they have opportunity for performance improvement, and that leads them to taking much better decisions and actions, which in turn result in the performance outcome that is being sought.
MK: Given myDIALS focus on operational performance, would you be using the term “operational BI?”
WM: Yes. In fact that’s what we’re seeing. There are many terms out there as I’m sure you’re well aware. “Operational intelligence” is one that kind of fits us; “enterprise performance management” is probably another broader category. We’re certainly in that arena rather than what might have been looked at as “strategic BI.” We’re really about improving operational performance.
MK: Wayne, do you have any new products or releases in the pipeline?
WM: Well, since we’re a software-as-a-service company, we’re able to frequently release new functionality so basically we’re on a quarterly release cycle, where every quarter we have a significant new capability that we bring to the market.
So when you ask what we’re working on now, I would respond by saying we’re continuing to add additional analytic capability and additional capability to capture knowledge from within the company. Earlier I’d mentioned embedded knowledge and with our partners we can provide that based on a vertical industry in process. That can be augmented and updated by the customer but then we’re also providing more capability to capture knowledge as people understand what’s going on with their performance.
MK: So that means your wheels are always in motion.
WM: Absolutely. That’s the beauty of software-as-a-service.
MK: Is my DIALS involved in partnering?
WM: There are two types of partners that we work with. One is consulting firms that have a performance improvement practice because in that case, they’ve got the methodologies such as lean process or Lean Six Sigma among others, and they know the vertical industry as well as the process. So we, at myDIALS, embed their knowledge into the product with things such as what the right KPIs are, alert conditions, and the actions that are to be taken. They’re an important partner for us.
The other type of partnership we’ve started to form is with other software companies that have a complementary offering. For example, in the healthcare space, there’s a company called Allen Technologies that has patient-bedside information systems and they’re also capturing information from the patients about issues such as satisfaction, issues among others. So we integrated the two so that we can then use our interactive dashboard displays so that we can give that information back to the hospitals in a very useful manner.
MK: So that means that everything you do is customized towards your end user’s needs?
WM: We’re really focused on – no matter who we’re working with – on how to help the end client improve their operational performance and that’s a combination of what we deliver, how we can partner, and the consulting that is delivered by our partners.