In today’s world of Xbox and PlayStation games, 3D and now 4D movies, we have become accustomed to seeing information in a visual format. This need for more visual information is bleeding into the business world. In the IT space, visualization is often times seen in a report or dashboard format, graphics that represent the status of a particular element of a business, or other items such as security vulnerabilities.
Dashboards also help organizations communicate strategy and/or their business status. We see companies like Adobe (formally Omniture), Google Analytics, and even Salesforce.com introduce dashboards to help organizations see the benefit of their activities and investment.
Dashboards are not just about communicating strategy, but also allows business leaders monitor and adjust the execution of their strategy and to deliver insights to all stakeholders within their organization. Dashboards, in the simplest terms, are a collection of different reports all in one page or view. These reports can contain high level summary of information rather than details like a simple SQL report would provide.
Many times reports contain either too much or too little information for different roles to complete their tasks. Dashboards can build in a way that will allow IT decision makers the ability to create custom focused output. The executive user may see a high level graph of department productivity, while the IT manager could see the specifics by employee, and the department employee would see their specific details for the month. This allows each person to see the level of detail that they need in order to get their job done and meet their goals. They are not overloaded by too much detail nor are they limited by a lack of information.
The dashboard method of reviewing details and viewing the status of operations provides a significant opportunity to make your business more efficient and quick to respond to issues and opportunities. This allows your business to operate more effectively and service your clients better. Through the use of business intelligence you can provide a leg up to your business and resources.
I would love to hear from our readers as to your opinion on visual dashboards and whether your organization uses products with that capabilities.