Dashboards Represent the New Face of Business Intelligence

TDWI’s Fall Conference kicked off on Monday with a keynote presentation on performance dashboards, delivered by research and services director, Wayne Eckerson.

“Performance dashboards represent revolutionary technology that’s been developed in an evolutionary way,” Eckerson says. “They’re revolutionary because they have the power to transform your business, take it to the next level, optimize performance. They’re evolutionary in that none of the pieces are new. It’s how we’re putting them together that’s new.”

Performance dashboards are much more robust, rich and dynamic than scorecards or “flat” dashboards, Eckerson says. “What’s the difference? A performance dashboard is much bigger than those. A scorecard or [traditional] dashboard is like the tip of the iceberg; a performance dashboard is the iceberg itself.”

These tools provide a layered, multidimensional window into the performance and operations of an organization. The result is that executives benefit from a high-level view of their business, coupled with the capability to drill down to specific data points that reveal what’s happening on the front lines. Thus, performance dashboards have become tools that empower executives to measure, monitor and manage their businesses.

Eckerson outlined what is sometimes referred to as the “three threes.” They are three types of performance dashboards (strategic, operational, tactical), three applications (monitoring, analyzing, managing), and three layers (summary, multidimensional view, operational view). This versatility allows for these tools to be used in any number of ways, making them universally valuable within any enterprise.

Such dashboards, said Eckerson, “are the new face of business intelligence. They represent the fulfillment of BI’s potential to deliver insights to the organization.” They also comprise a nifty puzzle piece that completes a number of corporate management methodologies that have recently grown in prominence.