Dashboards are more than a reporting tool. When used effectively, they can help you measure, monitor, and manage your business performance. Dashboards help you identify what you need to measure, make connections to current strategic objectives, and determine how well your business is delivering value against your objectives.
They offer greater visibility into day-to-day operations and are extremely useful in business decisions. Most companies use dashboards on a regular basis but according to a recent IBM survey, only a select few know how to use them effectively.
Performance Management software, such as Tagetik, can address your business data more effectively through the use of dashboards but if you don’t know how to use them, you are losing out on a key value of your solution.
How Dashboard Ready are you?
To better understand how “dashboard ready” your company is, answer the following questions:
1. How accurate is my data?
Your dashboards are only as good as your data. If your data is faulty, your dashboards will be faulty. As you set about creating dashboards in your software solution, focus on the quality of your data: this is why your Performance Management system should provide you with strict and high configurable approval process together with really detailed data querying features.
2. How available or accessible is the data?
Simply put, is the data available in electronic form? Not all the financial data may be easily accessible - i.e. from your general ledger system. According to a recent survey published by Palladium Group, for large implementation projects, usually only 30% of the data elements are available electronically while up to 50% are available from paper and the remaining 20% aren’t available at all. This leads us to the conclusion that at most 30% of financial measures can be easily obtained from the back-end systems. For the 50% that comes from paper - this data already resides somewhere but are not structured or aggregated in the way they are reported. You have two options here:
- build several input templates for manually entering and validating the data before uploading it to the dashboard database. This is a really time consuming and error prone approach; or
- rethink the whole process by replacing manual production of paper and reports with automated systems that can leverage the data from a single version of truth and build documents from there - creating digital artifacts that can be reused and updated from a single point. This is what Disclosure Management systems – such as Tagetik CDM - do.
- External sources introduce another layer of complexity into your implementation, because each source must be identified and the data brought into your dashboard in a standardized, consistent fashion.
Robust dashboards could require a significant technical infrastructure, including an extract, transform, and load (ETL) layer. There are several tools that can perform ETL, but most require extensive coding to ensure the data is being loaded correctly.
Last but not least, you can certainly get more value from this process if data can be integrated in your Performance Management System: Tagetik allows you to read, standardize and integrate data from structured and unstructured data by a ready-to-use ETL module.
3. What data should I show?
A common mistake is to use whatever data is on hand. Simply measuring data is not the point of dashboards – you need to be measuring the right data. Effective performance management depends largely upon your ability to measure the right information.
Whatever method you use to identify the right information (Tagetik can help you by allowing you to define your own KPIs) make sure you choose the ones that make the most sense for you based on your business insight.
4. How much?
More is not better. Too much data can distract and frustrate your users. Carefully select the data you will include in your dashboard project so you don’t overhead users and business executives.
The Value of Doing It Right
Implementing a dashboard application is a challenging task. You have all of the development issues inherent in a transactional system combined with the usability demands of an interactive website, complicated by the need to satisfy a diverse group of users, each of whom has different information needs and preferences. As leaders in Performance Management solutions, we know that not all businesses are created equal. That’s why we don’t just provide our clients with vertical dashboards.
The leading software vendors are making dashboard implementation easier, but the process still requires a thorough knowledge of the software tools, and attention to the integration in terms of data and systems.
Here at Tagetik, we see these challenges on a daily basis. That’s why we don’t limit our clients to our native dashboarding system. We allow them to also play with BI market leaders through native integrations like Microsoft Bi Stack and QlikView.
Dashboards are an integral part of your performance management system and, when designed and developed correctly, will help you achieve revolutionary results.
What are your thoughts? Do you have a dashboard implemented? What are/were your challenges?
By Francesco Morini, from: http://www.tagetik.com/blog/authors/francesco-morini/2014-12-03-cpm-dashboards#.VJRBrsAAA