How to Design an Effective Business Intelligence (BI) Dashboard that is Sure to Succeed?

Business Intelligence
Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) is often seen by many as a tool to reduce the effort of report generation. While the recent BI data mining and discovery tools perform the rudimentary task with consummate ease, there is a greater value that BI provides to an organization. It has the potential to take the business to a whole new level by providing new insights and keeps the business on the full throttle by answering questions on the go. So what it takes to produce a new-age business intelligence reporting? The below are some of the key factors that I believe is essential to redefine the business intelligence.

Keep Selling the Requirements:

With the advent data discovery tools, discovering value does not just stop with the sales. A second phase takes place during the execution of the project. Traditionally, the requirements always flow from the client to a project team. While this method of approach solves the rudimentary task that we discussed in the beginning of the topic, the gold or rather the real value continues to remain hidden. This situation often leads to a frequent complaint of the buyer – “The sales person deceived me into buying this. I don’t see it doing any additional value to my business for the cost involved”. It is time the vendor teams take the selling approach and propose/sell the requirements at all phase of the project to the client, thereby bringing the true potential of the technology to the fore. Generating custom reports through technology and providing insights and analysis to different aspects of business reporting allows the project team to work together with the executives in developing the ultimate dashboard. It will not just exploit the technological capability, but will discover new business insights and maximize the value potential. An agile project execution further helps to visualize the product in stages and tackles the business challenges incrementally through iterations. By continuously putting the scorecards on test, it helps to redefine the performance indicators and redesign the dashboard to provide the most relevant actionable insight.

Design the Dashboard as an Artist:

An executive does not intend to see the entire dashboard data at all times. An effective dashboard should entice the user to see only the information which requires immediate attention. The dashboard layout and colors play a huge role in a decision plan. With ever decreasing attention span and with multitude of hats worn by the new-age executives, there is very limited time available for the executives to understand and digest the information. Every second spent on a dashboard should be made valuable to the user. For example, the presence of a red color on a dashboard creates an alert in the mind and narrows the vision of the user to that information which requires immediate action; while a green sends a positive note to the user and the corresponding information is often overlooked. Thus each color defines a meaning to the user and the layout should provide relevant information at a quick glance. Also with the possibility of getting dashboards on the mobile, displaying the information in the right layout and in apt colors takes the driver seat for decision-making.

Yes, you need think like an artist while designing the layout of the dashboard.

Package the technology under the hood:

In the age of social media and online games, no user would love to read through manuals to understand what needs to be done to get the desired output. A user should be able to explore, understand and operate independently without the intervention of the manuals or the IT team. The executive should be able to hit the decision accelerator pedal and be able see the output immediately on the dashboard. Delivering a self-service BI maximizes the business value and increases the adoption of the BI in the organization. The complex technological capabilities ranging from introspection of data to analytics and prediction should be continuously enhanced and scaled to provide actionable insights at all levels in the organization. Despite the huge volumes of data crunching, the technology need to completely hidden under the hood to provide a simple game like interface for the user to operate. This will empower the user to use the tool effectively and efficiently for business analysis.

When a company transits from traditional reporting landscape to business intelligence, it needs to start visualizing reporting in a completely new dimension. While a transformation of existing scorecards and KPIs are the first step in the journey, there is greater stride that needs to be taken to produce dynamic reports. That greater stride is possible only when the technology revs up the business engine through relevant information while continuously pushing out the irrelevant data through the exhaust.