There are certain perceptions about enterprise dashboards that are simply wrong. Acommonly prevalent notion is that enterprise dashboards are only for senior executives to give them an overall view of organizational performance. Not true! Today’s dashboard technology is designed to make an enterprise dashboard an effective tool to be deployed at various levels within the organization. Most companies deploying dashboards have rolled them out to thousands of members of their workforce. In some cases, organizations initiate by rolling dashboards out to a small group of people, often the senior executives, but invariably the vision has been to deploy it organization-wide once the concept is well tested and proven. A rule of thumb should be that if anyone in the organization is responsible for managing $1 million or more per year in direct business or internal resources, that staff member should be provided with an appropriate dashboard to help increase productivity. The math is simple: If the dashboard improves productivity and revenue for a 1% gain, then the return is at a minimum $10,000 per year for the individual. An enterprise-wide deployment and support of dashboards should cost a fraction of this, and hence have a strong ROI. The following are the contemporary thoughts of industry leaders within the business intelligence space:
We honestly believe that the BI of the past was really designed for a subset of users in an enterprise who understood deep analytics, the PhDs in analytics. But our view is you can’t solve business problems unless we move [BI] closer to the user, and that is where our investments are going. —Karen Parrish, VP of BI Solutions, IBM3
In 5 years, BI will be as ubiquitous as spreadsheet and word processing today. —Bernard Liautaud, Chairman and CEO, Business Objects4 As visionaries and business intelligence (BI) industry leaders predict such ubiquity of BI, dashboards would be just as ubiquitous as the new face of BI. Dashboard deployment should not be treated only as a platform for convenient report distribution and KPI viewing. This greatly diminishes the true value and effectiveness of dashboards and how they can enhance organizational performance. Imagine that a car’s dashboard displayed a detailed report on how much gas was filled during the current month, instead of sounding a visual and audio alarm to the driver when the car is running low on gas. The report would not be of much use in this instance, because the key quality of real-time functionality would be lost. Although it does so much more, the central purpose of a dashboard is to warn the user when any relevant metrics are out of acceptable boundaries. In the dashboard terminology, these alerts consisting of rules and actions add critical value to an enterprise dashboard deployment complemented with strong visual indicators of warnings.