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Reducing Dashboard-Development Time Using Dundas DashFlow™
A Proven, Collaborative Approach To Dashboard Creation

by Alexander Chiang, www.dundas.comMonday, May 10, 2010

Our recent launch of Dundas Dashboard v.2.0 features something we've been talking about for a long time: DashFlow.  This article will explain it all to you and highlight its many benefits.

In terms of simple definition, DashFlow is a proven workflow that has shown to be the most expedient way to create dashboards.  DashFlow's goals include decreasing dashboard-development time, creating proof-of-concept dashboards (without having to connect to actual data) and the best utilization of personnel resources, by working independently.  Dundas has used this development process for many years and we have brought this best practice to Dundas Dashboard. 

There are three major tasks in DashFlow:

  • Defining the business metrics (business analysts)
  • Designing and developing dashboards (business users and analysts)
  • Discovery and preparation of data behind business metrics (database administrators/IT staff)

Dundas Dashboard is a unique product in that it applies the most important principle of DashFlow: Start by defining business metrics.  Most, if not all, dashboard solutions take a linear approach when creating dashboards and start with the data.  Contrasting this, if you begin the process with your business metrics, you will be able to design the dashboards AND discover the data behind the business metrics - all at the same time.

The traditional approach to dashboard development:

traditional approach to dashboard development

Optimized dashboard development with DashFlow:

Optimized dashboard development with DashFlow

There are many benefits from this approach, starting with time savings in dashboard development.  With DashFlow, database administrators and IT staff can focus preparing data for the business metrics while the business users can start designing and implementing the dashboards.  This parallel development effort essentially cuts development time in half! 

In addition, the DashFlow process allows those driving the dashboard initiative to independently and quickly build functional and visually stunning dashboards without having to hook up to any data.  Stakeholders will see right away what they will be getting and how it will work.  By getting support and approval early, the development effort will start sooner shortening the project schedule.  In fact, a proof-of-concept dashboard can be hooked up to real data afterwards for production.

And finally, DashFlow maximizes the use of staff personnel's expertise.  It breaks out tasks specific to various roles within a dashboard initiative.  This allows business analysts, database administrators, business users, graphic artists, and other resources to utilize their expertise for one or more of these tasks.  They can work independently once the business metrics are defined facilitating multiple resources to work in parallel.

For several years now, Dundas has utilized DashFlow when creating custom dashboard solutions for Fortune 500 companies around the world.  All these projects have been successful and we are proud to have transitioned this successful process to Dundas Dashboard.

About the Author

Alexander Chiang is Vice President of Product Management with Dundas Data Visualization, and runs the product management group for Dundas Dashboard.  He formerly led the Dundas Consulting Group, where he advised a variety of Fortune 100 companies on the technology platforms and tools that best fit their dashboard requirements.  His many years of user interface design and his expertise in data visualization techniques have enabled him to facilitate effective software solutions for the broader BI community.

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