Executive Dashboard Primer

In information technology, the term dashboard is defined as a graphical user interface (GUI) that organizes and presents information in a format that's easy to read and interpret. An executive dashboard is a computer interface that displays the information corporate officers need to effectively run an enterprise.

You can think of executive dashboards as a specific application of information or business dashboards. This is because in general, dashboards are not only for executives. I see a huge trend in the industry that dashboards are finding applications within lower parts of the organization all the way down to the operation level as well.

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Does it really matter how you qualify a dashboard then? Would you call it managers dashboard, executives dashboard, associates dashboard or just call them all dashboards? I would try to find a more generic description of the term. I would suggest something on the grounds of metrics dashboard or enterprise dashboards, or information dashboards. You can pick anyone of them depending on which is most appropriate, but the point is that dashboards are not just for the executives only, any more.

What are the key features of an affective information dashboard then? Dashboards utilize advanced and effective data visualization capabilities to effectively present important information to business users. What are the most commonly used and useful metrics that I see displayed and used in dashboards? Well those metrics vary widely depending on the application, the industry and the level of users. Obviously if you're talking about executives and senior management, then they tend to look at the higher aggregate metrics whether it could be sales or it could be operational performance. It could be human resources or even in a different internal organizational efficiency metrics.

How do you get started creating executive dashboards? Simply jumping into a dashboard implementation isn't very wise without careful preparation. What do you are the key points that an executive or organization should consider prior to choosing any dashboard application? First of all the executive needs to think through the key performance indicators, the KPIs that they truly want to monitor within different parts of the organization.

In other words who needs to be getting which information that will help them improve what they do? What will help them be more accountable for what they do. So that's the first thing. The second thing is very, very important is what are the thresholds? So one key difference between a dashboard and just a spreadsheet for example is dashboard actually tells you what a number means with respect to certain thresholds, and those are sometimes very pointy issues that need to be thought through before you think of actually starting an implementation.

Can I describe a general process of implementation at all, or does it vary so much from occasion to occasion? The generic first step is to identify your key performance indicators, identify the various data sources, get certain processes in place that improve and validate the integrity of information because again going back to the very old adage, garbage in, garbage out. That is the last thing you want once you have implemented a dashboard. You want those numbers to be absolutely reliable and trustworthy. Nobody should be able to say that a number may be wrong.

What technology typically used in the building of dashboards? That depends on software to software. I can speak to our dashboards, for example. Our dashboards are actually built using a pretty sophisticated enterprise application that uses on the backend a Java server to connect with multiple databases at the same time and in real time. So it uses the Java server to pull in data in real time from different sources that that organization may have.

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Posted in Software Post Date 05/26/2016


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