The Relationship between Dashboards, Scorecards, and Other Parts of Business Intelligence

Dashboards and scorecards are often linked to results from other business intelligence tools, representing a presentation mechanism, rather than an analytical mechanism. For example, you might create the “pages” of a briefing book from the results of various standardized reports (run from the reporting tool) in addition to a rudimentary multidimensional analysis from the organization’s OLAP tool that’s ready for inclusion in the briefing book.

Often, geographical information system (GIS) capabilities are included with dashboards and scorecards. A dashboard that has GIS integration, for example, might present a series of standardized views of important information to a user by using maps or other geographical tools as the primary interface.

The user then can take a cursory look through each screen of information; if everything looks okay, the user can continue to the next page, or if something looks askew, he or she can perform GIS operations, such as double-clicking a map to access the underlying data.

Dashboards and scorecards aren’t just for executives. Almost any user in an organization can have a dashboard or scorecard. You might find presenting everyone in your organization dashboards and scorecards preferable to giving everyone the “official” business intelligence tool and having three-quarters of the group never use it.

Don’t assume that you automatically need to give anyone classified as an executive (above a certain level) in your organization a dashboard or scorecard to the exclusion of other tools. Many a computer-savvy executive can wind up as the primary user of OLAP or a reporting tool.

In addition, don’t assume that users access their dashboards and scorecards only from a web browser. Blackberries, iPhones, and other smart phone devices are quickly becoming the preferred delivery platform for the busy executive.

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