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Making a Good Dashboard: Not Simple

By SiliconIndia   |   Friday, 28 December 2012, 12:05 Hrs
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Bangalore: Business Intelligence is evolving by the day and trends followed in one year will differ radically from the trends followed in the subsequent year. However, one constant function of BI has been the need to report effectively. This has been altered and improved in the past by a variety of ways, for example, Dodge Dart has a novel lighting system and a display which can be customized, as Alan R. Earls notes on The pertinent question remains, do these supposed ‘improvements’ enable usability and boost the overall usage of dashboards.

For BI developers and IT departments, designing dashboards that give information to workers on the business side would offer an interesting crossroads; should one just deliver the bare essentials or should one offer interesting graphics, effects and animations? Would the mentioned graphics get in the way of data analysis? If the end user is experienced with using spreadsheets and advanced analyses, individuals designing dashboards could think about introducing more intricate charts or scatter plots, states David Stodder, Director of BI Research at TDWI. It is always smart to start simple though. The whole point of BI is to increase productivity, especially of business professionals, by cutting out complications and reducing the time required to obtain the right information.

Lately, it has been noted that interactive element of a dashboard is important. What makes a dashboard a unique way of presenting information is the drill down capabilities it could offer. Giving this option is not easy as there is dependence on existing BI systems while on the other hand, not doing so could cause users to return to the age- old spreadsheets. It is easy to get carried away by the presentation which will not matter if ultimately incorrect information is delivered. There is no denying that it is important to present data in an appealing manner, however data quality and consistency are more pressing issues that continue to plague dashboard designers. Dashboards must be regularly updated to ensure that they stay relevant.

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