Driving a car is simple and fairly universal. Red means stop, green for go. That helps control traffic. Inside the car, a set of dials, gauges, lights and buttons report at-a-glance how your vehicle is operating at any moment. In a second or two, you can see status updates, condition reports and even spot essential functions. Lights, radio station, cruise control, inside temperature. When you think about it, you don’t HAVE to think about it — a sure example of analytics at its most elegant and simple.
Why can’t it be that easy at work? What do you need to know with minute-by-minute accuracy about your company or operation? And wouldn’t THAT data and analysis be useful when displayed in an easy to understand manner? Then it’s time to get started with dashboards.
Auto makers know that speed is a frequently changing number — so no wonder that is often the largest and easiest-to-read dial. What matters most to you? Daily sales? Hourly Sales? Costs of raw materials? Location of your top performers?
Analytics software works just like a monitoring system to report updates and alert you when changes or responses are needed. Some display an “all clear” signal to show when things are running smoothly. An example from Ambient Devices – which began by visually showing weather or stock market updates – simply changes color on a desktop orb to show a change in status.
Sounds like data visualization at its simplest – Ambient users program the orbs to report when ski conditions are optimal at their favorite slopes or wind speeds for surfing and sailing. What are your triggers that require you to ask for more detail? If this whets your appetite, click over to Dashboard Insight for more information on getting started. And be sure to visit Spotfire for a demonstration of how data can be sorted, sampled and structured to tell you the most relevant details. A demo version shows a pharmaceutical sales team and results by location, product, and other variables that team members need to know.
Spotfire Blogging Team
Image Credit: Microsoft Office Clip Art