One more reason to love BI dashboards

'Dashboards aren’t meant to be cool: They’re meant to communicate.'

Lately, as readers of this blogsite will know, there's been quite a bit of debate about the worthiness of business intelligence dashboards. At least one analyst says they're too rigid for today's analytics demands, while proponents point to their ability to increase visibility and collaboration. 

Keyboard Photo by Joe McKendrick

Yellowfin's Lachlan James has recently chimed in, making the case for BI dashboards as perhaps the most valuable tools in the enterprise. At the Smart Data Collective site, he makes the case: "Dashboards are one of – if not the – fundamental mechanisms for delivering the information produced by a BI system to decision-makers."

"Dashboards aren’t meant to be cool: They’re meant to communicate," James continues.  They essentially have one mission in life. He quotes data visualization guru Stephen Few:

“You can spend millions of dollars to build the most robust and pristine data warehouse in the world, running on the most powerful hardware, and accessed by state-of-the-art Business Intelligence software, but if the people who work with the data don’t know how to make sense of it or how to present it clearly to decision makers, your investment is wasted. Despite great progress in our ability to gather and warehouse data, we’re still missing the boat if we don’t communicate the numbers effectively. Contrary to popular wisdom, information cannot always speak for itself.”

Finally, James cites recent research by Dresner Advisory Services which shows that 94% of 859 IT leaders and professionals say that dashboards were integral to the success of their BI projects.

Chalk up another vote for BI dashboards.