A couple of weeks back, I published a post titled "3 reasons to hate BI dashboards," which generated a lot of response on the capabilities of today's business intelligence dashboards. The following is a rebuttal, a guest post written by Ian Mayor, Director of BI Solution Management at SAP.
By Ian Mayor, Director of Solution Management, SAP
Dashboards are widely recognized as essential tools for monitoring business performance and empowering workers to make informed decisions more quickly. Given the complexity and dynamic nature of the current business environment, there has never been a greater need for a personalized visualization and dashboard solution that gives people the exact information and insight they need to be effective, efficient and proactive.
Analyst Mark Smith understands this, and he isn’t necessarily saying dashboards aren’t useful. Instead, he is arguing that dashboards need to evolve, and I completely agree with his point. Fortunately, BI solutions are evolving to become more friendly, flexible and powerful.
Acknowledged by leading businesses around the world, here are three reasons to love today’s dashboards:
1) Increased Visibility Across All Business Areas. Dashboards can pull data across all your information sources to give a global view of performance. As the buzz-word “big data” implies, it’s impossible for today’s corporations to easily find, view and monitor all the important information they need to achieve their objectives. Companies go through great lengths to ensure data consistency and accuracy in an organization. But how can they trust their data if they can’t see it? With a dashboard, complex data can be turned into interactive visualizations that allow workers to see trends and relevant key performance indicators, drill down to more detailed reporting when needed and share trusted data.
2) Improved Decision-Making Efficiency. A key business challenge is ineffective decision making, where decisions are often delayed, made on a ‘gut feeling’ and key stakeholders are not involved. Dashboards solve this challenge by providing reliable, real-time and easily accessible information in an easy-to-share format. With dashboards, executives can perform what-if analysis to understand changes in the business under different conditions and align their strategy and execution. By increasing decision makers’ ability to interpret data quickly, dashboards ensure that business processes are not only efficient but also intelligent.
3) Enhanced Collaboration. Dashboards are designed for ease of use to help ensure widespread adoption and sharing of information. Many organizations have static snapshots of their data, making it impossible to share a complete picture of the company anywhere, at anytime. Dashboards provide a platform for communication, enabling discussions regarding critical metrics to take place and inevitably fostering effective decision making.
I completely agree with the statement that self-service BI is a bright spot for dashboards’ future. Today, the opportunity for analytics to improve overall organizational performance is greater than ever as the technologies move beyond IT departments and into the hands of individual users across all levels of the workplace. Given this transformation, the latest dashboards are being designed for a new generation of less technical users, creating an enormous new market potential.
Going forward, a BI dashboard will be an indispensible tool vital to the success of organizations in this increasingly complex and connected world.