When most people think of a dashboard they immediately think of their car. The ever present needles indicating speed, distance, fuel etc… You know too that when driving you don’t spend the whole time looking at the dashboard. A quick cursory glance down, and back up is all that is needed to keep you on track and allow you to reach your destination safely.
The fact is, car dashboards are a great example of a powerful business intelligence (BI) system. Think about this:
- You don’t want to spend all day looking down at the figures, when you should be out there being the entrepreneur driving your business.
- Every business will have warning lights. Like low oil, could average hours worked per employee being >70 hours per week indicate burnout amongst your people.
- The focus is on critical information. The number of rotations your tyres make per minute is hardly your concern, but speed is. It is the same in business. For instance your costs of goods sold as a percentage of total income could red-line at say 40%.
- It is always there. If the engine is running the dashboard will work. Data is real-time, and always available. Ideally a
- The design is driver focused. When done properly the dashboard will work in sync with the driver, adjusting to their seating position, and even driving style. Same with a BI system. For it to be effective it must work in sync with the people who rely on it.
However also think about this – have you even seen a driver on the road who seemingly could not care about what their dashboard is saying..? All too often, businesses are driven the same way. Decisions are made on gut-feel, they are reactive to their present situation, and ultimately they are flying blind.
After all, how could you drive your car if you cannot even see the road ahead?