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Dashboard: United Synchronic Data Views

Sat, May 21, 2011

Using the automotive dashboard, the driver monitors the state of a car (speed, fuel, heat level etc.) and acts on it (e.g. push a pedal or stop for a refuel). Business dashboards do the same for business user.

Dashboards are typically limited to summaries, key trends, comparisons, and exceptions. Well designed business dashboards provide powerful means to monitor and act on business information.

A Dashboard  integrates into one window multiple Data Charts, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), Balanced Scorecards, Tabular Snapshots of Data, and/or Pivot Tables. These are all synchronized with each other and can be synchronized with real-time data feeds, transactional databases, multidimensional datacubes, in-memory columnar databases and other types of datastores and document repositories. These United Synchronic Data Views show relationships between different business measurements and enable users to act on changes and exceptions in the visible data.

Dashboards can be used for strategic, analytical, operational, or informational purposes (or for any combination of these). Even the Federal Government recently started to use Dashboards and some of them are available publicly and used and I quote: “Federal Dashboard is now being used by the Administration and Congress to make budget and policy decisions!”  Here is a sample analytical dashboard showing the ratings of a Government agency over time:

Analytical Dashboard typically supports interactions with the data, such as drilling down into the underlying details.

Operational Dashboard, on other hand, enables user (manager or operator) to monitor operations, activities and events in real-time and might require attention and response at a moment’s notice. In any case, Dashboards summarize large volume of information and highlight changes and exceptions in the data.

Among other data views, Dashboard may include Balanced Scorecard, where performance measurements are presented with KPIs (self-evident icon-size Key Performance Indicators) rather than with charts and numbers:

Color-coded Dashboards, like Balanced Scorecards above present most value for business users, because they can look at many KPIs at once and easily choose those ones that need the most attention.

When all Charts, KPIs and Scorecards are in line with business requirements, PRACTICAL will synchronized them with each other and underlying datastore and place together into one Dashboard Window, like Dashboard below for a small bank:

We recommend that you watch the video below, which is a demonstration of the Executive Dashboard, build for users like  Chief Operating Officers (CFOs):


And as you remember we started with an analogy with the automotive Dashboard, similar to this:

Andrei Pandre, Ph.D., VP of Data Visualization, Practical Computer Applications, Inc.

Contact PRACTICAL for assistance with Data Visualization at (617) 527-4722

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