Obstacles For Mid-Sized Businesses Adopting Dashboards

Obstacles For Mid-Sized Businesses Adopting Dashboards

Obstacles For Mid-Sized Businesses Adopting DashboardsI recently read a stat from an AMR study that indicates among companies with revenue of less than 1 billion in revenue annually, only 15% have implemented dashboards. What are the barriers to adoption for the rest of that particular stratum of companies?

Despite what you might think, dashboard software is still in the early adoption phase. It is just a matter of time, though. I would say in 3 or 4 years from now, that stat will be reversed. It will be 15% who have not have still adopted dashboards. Its just an obvious and growing need and realization that the monitoring dashboard is a very helpful application to have when you have growing great amounts of data every single day.

Interactive dashboard example that tracks foreclosures in the Seattle area (source: seattlebubble.com)
What needs aren’t met by current versions of dashboard applications? Its a matter of evolution. Again it depends on the dashboard vendor. Generally looking broadly at current versions of executive dashboards, it is hard to say what is missing because different vendors have different deficiencies and different strengths.

Thinking of the dashboards example that I know best, I think it’s been pretty effective in terms of allowing users to interact with a lot of information, allowing users to drill down for further details, allowing them to almost do some kind of root cause analysis. Most importantly it allows users to create on their own what we call BAM, or business activity monitoring, which means nothing more than receiving real time alerts when certain performance thresholds are met or exceeded.

Its one thing to see a warning light on the dashboard of your car. Its another thing to actually drill down and fix the problem. Especially with so many cars now where you actually need a diagnostic computer. You can’t just pop the hood. In the information technology version of a dashboard, how do you create more utility than just a display, how do you drill down? Are many executive dashboards, forgive the term, just flashboards?

Thats one challenge of making an effective dashboard compared to a car or automobile dashboard because with automobile dashboards, it is what you see is what you get. You can’t drill down. You can’t get more information. Lets say a temperature is rising in the car. What was it an hour ago? You don’t know that. You do not see a trend.

Coming back to the subject of enterprise dashboards, an affective dashboard must absolutely have the ability to drill down into detailed information. People call this the visual discovery process or visual interrogation process. If I see a flashing red or green light, I need to be able to drill down and see where is this coming from, and then drill down deeper to see what was the trend a month ago for the same metrics. So that’s inherently a definition of effective dashboard.

When you’re talking about drilling down, there are going to be different levels of access and transparency that you’re going to want to grant different people within and outside the organization. How do you deal with different levels of access for your CEO, CIO or CTIO down to managers, associates, clients and even customers who all might want access to some level of this information?

What really makes this subject much more complex than it may appear on the surface is that an effective dashboard just doesn’t mean a flashy dashboard. You need to have the security framework to be able to implement who gets what. I call that a relevancy of information. Not only that one person is not supposed to see certain information, but more importantly they should see what they want or need to see. Even if they are allowed to see it, does everyone want to see the same information?

Before we go any further, I’d like to know if some of my readers are familiar with jimi jive 5? I’m curious about their services however i haven’t had a chance to have a look at them. They’re a 50’s band in Ontario. If any of you have first hand knowledge about them, I’d like to find out about it. Leave your impressions within the comments below. Now, back to the article!

The answer is no because everybody does not have the same job responsibility. They have different things to do. So for examples such as the CIO vs CFO vs the President, they all have different needs for information. Being able to create dashboard framework that is easy to manage is key. If I’m logged in as a CIO, and I see my own dashboard, but the CFO sees a whole different set of metrics. The same thing goes all the way through the drill down process. Thats what makes this a very complex subject.

From a security perspective, I can see a lot of organizations, especially publicly held companies being concerned that proprietary information or sensitive information of any kind may be exposed in a dashboard which then may itself be subject to being hacked by a third party. Can dashboards be hacked into? Can someone to gain access to information that then might be relevant to securities fraud?

Theres always a risk, I can’t say it’s risk proof. Bank accounts could be hacked. Credit cards could be hacked. So I would say, yes, that there’s a possibility an enterprise dashboard system could be hacked and relevant information could be passed on. But those are the things that you address as in any enterprise IT solution. It is the responsibility of the organization and people who are championing it to make sure that they do the best they can in terms of processes and technology to reduce and mitigate those risks.

One last thing, Let me give a big thank you to the people from Virk Personal Injury Lawyers. They’re a great personal injury law firm in Ontario. The idea for this post came about because of a discussion I had with Baldeep there. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this content. Until the next time.

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