Dashboards are the most tangible deliverable from business intelligence providers. Not everyone can fathom what “guided analytics” are, or how collaboration capabilities can help their business, but dashboards make sense to people. They’re still a hot trend, even in 2014, and getting hotter as mobile BI – which usually takes the form of mobile dashboards – becomes more prevalent. Companies of every size want dashboards and decision makers at every level need them to stay on top of their key metrics. But what are the business trends that will influence dashboard purchases in 2014? Let’s look at the top 5:
1) Business users will drive dashboard deployments
Line of business users will play a more dominant role in evaluating and selecting dashboard software while IT departments will play a diminishing role in 2014. Traditionally, IT-chosen platforms are highly governed and provide trickles of information that seldom keep up with the demands of the business. By contrast, business-led dashboard projects have different requirements including self-service capabilities, direct access to data and short implementation timelines.
2) Full-service self-service
Dashboards are continually being targeted toward end-users with a lower technical skillset. IT developers, analysts and other power users with vast technical skills are not the only users creating and using dashboards anymore. Dashboard solutions will succeed in the market if they provide less technically inclined users the ability to create their own dashboards and reports without reliance on IT. Self-service solutions should offer advanced functionality without adding new layers of complexity. Done right, the result is increased user adoption.
3) Grassroots growth of dashboard deployments
With more end-users leading dashboard projects, BI deployments are taking on a grassroots flavor. Such deployments start organically with a single or few champions to solve an immediate business problem. The success of these projects can serve as an inspiration for other departments to do the same, and the desire to implement a dashboard solution company-wide can spread quickly. The best outcome occurs when an enterprise-scalable tool is selected in the first place – one whose implementation can be managed in stages so quick-wins are achieved on a regular basis.
4) Capital vs. operational expenses: credit card purchase is an option
Cloud and SaaS/subscription service levels are expected for dashboard tools now. These models enable dashboard solutions to be quickly rolled out to small numbers of users at a time. They are less costly up-front than on-premise deployments and therefore can be billed as operational expenses that can be approved faster and with less hoops to jump through than capital expenses (CAPEX). More importantly, line of business managers/decision makers often prefer these user-friendly self-service solutions that come at lower price points. Cloud-based dashboard solutions can be deployed quickly and therefore produce a faster return on investment.
5) Real-time data for the opportunist in you
Tracking key processes and metrics in real-time is about gaining a tactical advantage and being proactive while your competition is still reacting. While Big Data gets all the attention, real-time data from the front-lines is an undeniably important asset, and one that is going to be increasingly relied-upon in 2014. In a rapidly changing business environment, leaders must have instant access to the most up-to-date information in order to plan the best course of action for the business and stay ahead of the competition. To ensure that data is communicated in a timely manner, your dashboard solution should employ APIs/connectors that communicate directly with your data services, wherever they are.
Business teams position themselves for success when BI dashboards are deployed on their own terms. Dashboard solutions that are hand-picked by the end users based on their business needs, are easy to deploy, offer flexible pricing and provide rapid return on investment will see greater adoption among business users in 2014 and beyond.