A hot topic in many boardrooms and executive offices these days is “Dashboards” – having immediate access to the key performance drivers necessary to manage a successful business. Dashboards can provide an at-a-glance overview of corporate successes, as well as visual alerts where a business may be falling behind. Data displayed in dashboards is often referred to as corporate scorecards. For any scorecard to be meaningful, data used to generate dashboards needs to be current, and ideally available in real-time.
Successful dashboards have three key components: 1) the data must be presented in an easy-to-read format, 2) the data displayed must be meaningful and demonstrate trends, and 3) the data must be dynamic and updated often. Context is vital. Metrics displayed in dashboards is useless without an understanding of whether the result is good or bad. When designing a new metric, you must know the audience and what message you want to convey to them. Does the metric display all data, good and bad? What should the number be and how does it compare to past performance? What is the trend? Does this metric require action or does it not?
In the past, business intelligence tools used to create dashboard metrics required third party software, or spreadsheets, or custom databases. Developing dashboards using any of these tools required skill sets not common by most staff and often violated rule number three above. Excel reports are static and often confusing, and they seriously limit how you can visualize your data.
The best solution for creating rich digital dashboards is to imbed them into applications used to manage large amounts of data such as SCADA, LIMS, or CMMS. Datasets in these applications are constantly updated with information from analyses, sites, clients, etc. Unfortunately, enterprise databases seldom “talk” with each other, making it difficult to bring data together across platforms.
To address these limitations, NJBSoft, Inc. applications provide a repository for multiple data sets collected across the client’s enterprise systems. Early on, the importance of displaying metrics in dashboards was recognized and included in SAMS applications. Daily, automated uploading of data into SAMS across multiple platforms provides current information that can be presented in a variety of formats such as reports, charts, and graphs.
Keep in mind that a dashboard metric important to a board member will not be the same as metrics important to someone collecting samples. SAMS has addressed this by allowing users to create “User Dashboards” along with shared metrics presented in “Custom”, “Compliance”, and/or “Task Dashboards”. Virtually any chart, report, list, or query can be added to SAMS dashboards allowing for quick and easy access to data by casual users. A dashboard can be set as the starting page, providing a quick visualization of compliance indicators and performance each time users log on.
Why words when you have SAMS dashboards? Call NJBSoft today to discuss how you can create powerful, flexible and easily customizable business intelligence tools using SAMS.