As business intelligence computer systems mature, it has become an necessity to include corporate dashboards in BI technology. Having said that, business intelligence has used dashboards for a number of years, however they have become more popular due mostly to the advancements in the technology used. Of course, as the BI systems have become more complex, the considerations for dashboard have also become more complicated.
If you are looking to implement a corporate dashboard in your business intelligence system, you will need to decide on what you want them to achieve. Consider the function and design of your dashboard relating to the type of intelligence you are trying to display. Some dashboards are very flashy reports, where as others are more like scorecards, displaying the information strategically. Other dashboards contain information that is a lot more tactical and will give actionable relevant information. Your dashboard will require a design that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also fulfills it’s business intelligence role.
There are two important parts in building a dashboard for your business intelligence system, the metrics part and the KPIs (key performance indicators). Metrics are obviously the numerical measures used to represent certain parts of data in a relationship of at least one dimension. As an example, you could include the metrics of divisional sales and have it show, daily, weekly, monthly or by financial quarter. The information can be used in your dashboard in either dynamically or in a static way allowing for differing types of analysis.
Also, you will need to look into what KPIs the dashboard users will take responsibility for managing. A KPI is a measurement that displays the current performance in relation to the target. Some KPIs offer concrete intelligence and others will give you business intelligence in a way that’s a bit more abstract. Defining your KPIs are very important in the overall design of your corporate dashboard because it outlines the foundation of the corporate intelligence. KPIs show the data through traffic lights, trend icons, alert icons, progress bars and gauges.
The KPIs and metrics are only the first steps however, it is the supporting analytics that will give you real insight so is vital when designing your dashboard. You will need to decide on the data that the end user will require to to tell how the KPI is doing. The analytics will offer diagnostic information and context so you will know why the KPI is displaying specific information. These analytics will come in more traditional forms such as graphs, charts and tables.
Designing a dashboard for your BI system requires that you understand the metrics, KPIs and the supporting analytics. Dashboards are becoming more and more popular as savvy businesses seek real time business intelligence so a great design will equal better results and better analysis. A great design of your dashboards for your BI system will mean that the information it displays will be useful and effective to your business.
About the Author: Jim writes about business intelligence software and other related business critical systems