Business Intelligence Dashboard

A business intelligence dashboard can be a very visual way to bring BI into an organization.

The concept name comes from the fact that many designs look similar to an automobile dashboard. Gauges and indicators are commonly used to indicate a company’s performance on different metrics. These types of tools often fall under the corporate performance management umbrella, and often uses many of the same KPIs. You may also see these called scorecards, although I think they are slightly different.

They are a good way to give a quick visual insight into a business that can easily show trends and key metrics. An Excel sheet or other data source may contain the data but important indicators may get buried under the rows and columns. Traditional reports can often be harder to manipulate to a more visual standpoint. Dashboards were developed as a key component of business intelligence to deal with these issues and provide “easy to digest” data for key decision makers.

At one point, they were really geared toward executives and upper-level management who wanted a high-level graphical overview of the business. As the technology improved and costs dropped, they have become accessible to all levels of an organization. There is still a predominance of designs that are more managerial or executive in nature. Proper development still takes coordination of data, expectations, and the visual aspect. An overwhelming and/or ill-designed model may contain the right data, but may not be easily understood. A good looking visualization without the right metrics, is equally useless. Iit’s gotten much easier than before to coordinate this from a technical end.

All of the major BI vendors provide dashboarding capability. In addition, many smaller outfits have a data dashboard only solution, similar to the scorecard only companies. These can be useful in a smaller organization or to support enterprise reporting solutions.

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