Business Intelligence, visualization, KPI
The definition of a dashboard is trivial and common for all companies. In a word, it's a panel where all information about company might be stored at and presented in the simplest way possible to facilitate the management.
According to the definition, all executive dashboards' aim has been to facilitate making decisions by putting all important factors, numbers, and parameteres together. Simple? Surely, it is. Nevertheless, the difference between today's and former dashboards is enormous! Why? What could have changed and why – the idea remains the same, though...
In fact, every diamond needs polishing and the same was with executive dashboards. Although the idea was known, there was no sufficient solutions and tools to realize it, in fact. Due to that, first dashboards have been presenting data flashily rather than efficiently. The simplest charts that were being used had nothing in common with today's complex solution, but there was only a time needed for change to come. Charts, simplest graphs – they were the beginning and although their usability might have been disputable, no one rejects they have been a real milestone in business management history. On the other hand, first generation's dashboards weren't as useless as they seemed – they were good (and enough, should be added) for illustrating company's general performance.
Second generation of dashboards was a breakthrough as people have started attaching weight to functionality instead of appearance. It suddenly has come out that there are plenty of possibilities and functions that people haven't already thought about. Thereupon, numerous groups of people started introducing their solutions – which advanced charts, gauges, indicators, and tables were a common part for. People realized that they could have made the most popular data presenting tools work together, acquiring therefore one of the most powerful solutions supporting business management ever. The dashboards of second generation were providing improved monitoring and key metric options, nonetheless their functionality still might have been improved.
The dashboards today certainly are the most efficient one, but is it enough?
Managers have now all the features of previous generations followed with scorecards and strategy maps on their disposal. Monitoring (of key metrics, tactics, and strategy) is now more advanced than ever before. One would even say that number of parameters which today's dashboard consists of have overshadowed its transparency. The fact is that all the needed numbers, summarizations and reports are placed together so that every manager can quickly get an access to every information he needs.