Having laid the foundation for an effective organizational dashboard, it is worth noting that the dashboard software must also meet the standards of any good software, which include the following: • Fast response. Users should not experience an inordinate delay in retrieving their dashboards and associated reports. • Intuitive. End users need not be required to go through a big learning curve or mandatory training.
• Web-based. Users should be able to access the dashboard through the Web, if they have proper access rights. The Web-based feature may also be referred to as thin client.
• Secured. System administrators may administer software security easily to reduce and track wrongful access. The software must also provide data encryption to secure sensitive data transmission across the Web.
• Scalable. A large number of users may access the software without crashing the system or causing it to slow down below an acceptable performance benchmark. This quality assumes a reasonable hardware and network bandwidth.
• Industry compliant. The software should integrate with standard databases of different vendors and work with different server standards (e.g., Net, J2EE) and various operating systems (e.g., Unix, Windows, Linux).
• Open technology. The software should not have proprietary standards that would make it difficult or impossible to extend its reach within a complex IT environment. It should work well with the prevailing protocols for information exchange, such as the XML, ODBC, JDBC, OLE DB, JMS, and Web Services. Note, open technology does not mean open source, which refers mostly to free software with open access to the source code.
• Supportable. It should be easy to manage a large deployment within the existing IT staff with limited training on the dashboard software. In other words, the software should not be so complex that it requires longterm contract or hiring of another expert simply to support its deployment, assuming that the organization has a reasonably qualified ITstaff.
• Cost effective. The total cost of ownership should be well below the monetary benefit it provides to justify a strong return on investment (ROI). Therefore, the licensing cost, implementation cost, and support cost should be within a range that provides strong ROI and organizational benefits after deployment.