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Executive Dashboards: Informing Business Decisions  

A SBI.Enteris Whitepaper

Summary

Promise
Executive Dashboards furnish decision makers with real-time access to critical information.

Reality
Getting the right data can be hard given multiple sources and formats; a one-size-fits-all (out of the box) solution doesn’t measure up without extensive personalization; metrics and data often remain incomprehensible.

Problem
Data is frequently stored in disparate and incompatible databases; requirements are often unique for each user; and decision makers can be overwhelmed by the numerous metrics available, making it difficult to glean the most critical information.

Solution
Personalized Dashboards that allow users to quickly see information key to them, understand the underlying cause, and act to implement a solution.

At the end of the day a successful Executive Dashboard must be:

  • Actionable - the data presented supports critical decision-making

  • Relevant - it is presented within the user’s context and is applicable to the
    user’s role

  • Accurate - the data reflects the true state of things; it is presented in realtime,or as close to real-time as is necessary

  • Accessible - it supports distributed centers of data production and data
    consumption, it can be accessed from a variety of devices

  • Usable - the interface is easy to use and promotes adoption among
    executives and their teams
    Why Executives and Managers

Why Executives and Managers Need a Dashboard
The scenario is not uncommon:
Janet, VP of Product Management for a pharmaceutical company, is wading through a stack of reports. Her managers have told her that orders for Clavizol are higher than current production levels. So Janet has asked for data that indicatewhether production is tracking to plan and the possibility of meeting any shortfall. But the numerous Excel spreadsheets her managers have provided are difficult for Janet to decipher. She’s having a hard time comparing spreadsheet data and recognizing relevant trends. Most likely, she’ll have to ask someone else to create a summary report. This means more information overload for Janet, and more wasted time and money for her company.

Good managers know how to make good decisions. But no one can make an informed decision without the most accurate and relevant information—which is often difficult to seeand extract. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), not just reams of data, help identify both problems and solutions. In Janet’s case, she needs to see a precise combination of key metrics, such as: current industry demand levels, short-term demand forecasting; product requirements for each plant; capacity for each plant; current orders at risk; and relevant quality indices.

Given the frustration that poorly organized or unfiltered information can cause, it’s no wonder that executives are welcoming the Dashboard with open arms. Executive Dashboards offer a fundamental business advantage when they:

  • Provide instant access to a well-defined set of real-or near-real-time KPIs

  • Offer a personalized view for each user (based on role and/or preference

  • Increase visibility into information that allows executives to gain insights—and take action

Correctly designed and managed, the Executive Dashboard is becoming a vital tool for managing
enterprises and business units. Many companies tout their use of Dashboards to show Wall Street that they can respond in a volatile economic environment. That’s because when implemented and used consistently, the Dashboard provides executives with an “early warning system” for potential financial trouble. Proper information allows executives to take corrective action and avoid being surprised by negative business outcomes.

With an Executive Dashboard, decision makers like Janet can:

  • See the statistics and KPIs that reflect the health of their enterprise or business unit from internal and external data

  • Drill down to understand the causes that underpin the data

  • Move beyond the data to act on business trends

Executive Dashboards Defined
What’s in a Dashboard

An Executive Dashboard provides executives with a personalized view into the health of their business. Executives expect to see important and relevant real-time information (or close to real-time) in charts, alerts, news feeds, etc. providing a framework to help them make
decisions and run the business effectively on a day-to-day basis.

The Dashboard surfaces critical information to help answer questions such as:

  • What is the health of my company or business unit?
  • How well are my products selling?
  • What are our costs?
  • How well are our key financial indicators doing?
  • What are our trouble spots?
  • Where are we weak, and where are we strong?
  • How well are my employees performing?
  • What are my competitors doing?
  • What is happening externally in our business environment?
  • What should I expect next week, next quarter?
  • How will my numbers be affected based on different potential scenarios?

Get the complete whitepaper here (PDF)


 

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