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Why Automated Semantics Will Solve The BI Dashboard Crisis

by Dashboard Insight, Dashboard InsightFriday, January 3, 2014

Dan Woods writes for Forbes on the crisis facing business intelligence dashboards and how automated semantics will solve it.

Right now, in most companies, there is a crisis of Business Intelligence dashboards. For good reasons, BI practitioners use the dashboard as way to deliver data and analytics to pretty much everyone. Dashboards are the hammer for every nail and as a result at most companies there are hundreds or thousands of dashboards. Once you have the dashboard you need, using it can be a joyful experience. But navigating the swamp of dashboards is a mess. It is not easy for someone seeking to use data to find what a company knows about itself.

There are several ways that this challenge is being attacked through catalogs and search and other brute force approaches. Two of the most interesting are Metric Insights and Roambi. Metric Insights has created a KPI warehouse and a collaborative filtering system that makes it easy to consume lots of dashboards, track what is happening on them, and get suggestions about new dashboards that may be helpful. Roambi moves dashboards to an optimized mobile user experience that organizes them and makes them easier for beginners to find and consume.

While these approaches certainly provide a way to manage the mess, they also give up on the central question I want to ask: Do we really need so many dashboards?

My answer is, no. In fact, if we can figure out a way to have fewer dashboards each of which answer more questions — which is essentially the victory of QlikView and Tableau — we cannot only reduce the number of dashboards but also bring BI to a whole new population to the world of users.

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