Stop and think for a moment about why you use business intelligence (BI) tools. OK, time’s up.
There’s only one right answer: to get the right information to the right people at the right time so they can make the right business decisions—and to allow them to share and discuss that information. If they can’t do that then you’ve wasted all that data you’ve collected with those great BI tools.
It’s not enough to generate pages and pages of manual reports that most likely have the answers to at least some of the execs’ questions but don’t organize those answers in a meaningful way. Not only that, but those reports don’t give decision makers the critical, real-time data they need because they’re not updated all that frequently. And they certainly don’t enable decision makers to easily share any of that information.
But there is a solution to all those problems—BI dashboards.
Because BI dashboards display, intuitvely and at a glance, all the information those busy folks at your company need to gain a leg up on the competition. But that doesn’t mean you can use just any old BI dashboard.
According to Gartner, to be effective a BI dashboard must consist of several qualities. It has to easy to learn and comfortable to use, because busy executives don’t have time to puzzle their way through manuals. It should make analyses intuitive and engaging and have clean visual and presentation styles so they can make the best use of the data. Most importantly, with the growing trend toward the social enterprise and collective analysis, the dashboard has to allow decision makers to collaborate with their colleagues.
By putting the information in the right business context, individuals and groups can do more meaningful analysis, discover more important insights and make better decisions. Today’s BI dashboard should embed the analysis in the context of critical business activity on corporate portals, blogs, wikis or Microsoft SharePoint.
According to Lyndsay Wise (@wiseanalytics), “The value proposition of social BI should be its ability to put the power of analytics in the hands of end users without having to rely on technical resources to guide the outputs.”
What does that mean exactly?
It means BI dashboards must harness social networking to become full “social” decision-making platforms. For example, those busy executives have to be able to actively “follow” an analysis subject or author or spontaneously create a new discussion “workspace” around an insight or decision and invite others to join.