What makes a BI dashboard or scorecard “bad?” After 20 years of working with more than 3,200 customers around the globe to create stellar BI applications, I’m certain we know the answer. On Wednesday, September 19th, arcplan’s Senior VP Dwight deVera will dissect real BI application examples that seem okay at first glance but in reality render great data ineffective. We’ll show you how to go beyond basic BI app design to make truly excellent, interactive dashboards and scorecards that facilitate decision-making.
This is our annual review of the latest thinking in BI app design and our most popular webinar – but totally revamped with more examples and practical how-to tips.
In this webinar, we’ll discuss:
- What should be avoided in modern BI dashboard & scorecard design
- Characteristics of successful BI applications
- How Metro Design & Responsive Design principles will affect design standards
- Tips for designing mobile dashboards
- The right chart types for your data – why some work and some don’t
- How to display data so that trends and problems pop
We’ll also leave time for a Q&A session at the end of the webinar.
Dashboards have been getting a lot of flack lately, especially in blog posts about why they’re pathetic or why you should hate them. I get it – dashboards have been a staple of business intelligence for decades and the concept hasn’t changed that much, so it must be time to disparage them. They’re no longer a hot topic. But that’s precisely why we need to keep the conversation around BI dashboards going. They’re not going away, but they can always be improved.
A well-designed dashboard with the right metrics will serve you for years. arcplan has customers who have been using the same dashboard for 5+ years. Why? Because it simply works (this also happens to be our company’s tagline!). I’m thinking specifically of one company whose dashboard isn’t flashy at all – in fact, it’s pretty boring looking – but it contains essential, revenue-driving metrics and sends alerts to trigger action based on specific thresholds.
Is that all it takes to create a lasting, functional BI dashboard? Not quite. Here’s a list of the top 10 keys to BI dashboard success, derived from arcplan’s nearly 20 years helping customers around the world design custom dashboards.
Your BI dashboards should be:
1) Personalized. Tailor your dashboard to the role of the user, designing it around metrics specific to the individual. You can see an example of this in the arcplan free trial. It gives you the option of logging into the application as a director of finance or director of sales and each individual dashboard displays metrics that matter to the particular user role.
2) Customized. Accommodate your users no matter where they are located. If you are designing dashboards to be used in the US & Europe, be sure that European users can view them with their particular language and currency settings (for example, displaying dollars as Euros and using periods instead of commas). Luckily with arcplan, those adjustments are a click away.
Our annual user conference, arc|planet 2012, is fast approaching. We hope German-speaking arcplan users, developers, partners, and guests will join us at the Park Inn in Düsseldorf/Kaarst on October 30th and 31st for 2 days of presentations, networking, and of course, a little fun. By registering this week, attendees will save 30% off the conference price, making this one-of-a-kind event only 546 €.
This year’s theme echos arcplan’s tagline, “It simply works.” Participants will hear more than 20 talks on the latest business intelligence and planning innovations and trends, including mobile BI and big data, from arcplan customers and industry experts. The conference will open with a unique keynote speech by Paralympics athlete Wojtek Czyz. In his address, “Everything’s Possible,” the winner of several gold medals in Athens and Beijing will inspire attendees with a talk about personal challenges and how to overcome them. Also speaking are Martin Wilcox, Director of Product & Solution Marketing EMEA at Teradata, who will discuss how to “Do More With Your (Big) Data,” as well as representatives from Daimler AG, B|S|H, Hailo, Ineos, the Elster Group, Scout 24 and Deutsche Telekom.
Rounding out the conference will be presentations on the latest updates to our product suite and our roadmap led by arcplan experts.
An exciting addition to this year’s line-up is a presentation by the 2012 arc|ademy BI Challenge winners, who will present their arcplan solutions to the public for the first time.
In parallel to the main arc|planet program, there will also be an exhibition featuring the solutions and products of arcplan partners (and arc|planet sponsors) antares, b.telligent, Braincourt, Ernst & Young, Partake Consulting, SALT Solutions, Selbach Information Systems, Synaxus BI Solutions, TDWI Europe and Teradata.
Hope to see you at arc|planet! Register here >>
In Part 1 of this post, I outlined 2 pitfalls to avoid when deploying budgeting, planning and forecasting (BP&F) systems. Let’s follow up with 3 more rocks in the road to avoid on your way to project success:
3. The wrong team
Don’t be fooled into thinking that developers are the only ones needed to make your new planning system a reality. Your “dream team” should include project managers, functional experts, platform architects, data architects and of course, the project sponsor.
The project sponsor is instrumental in driving the approval of the project to begin with and stays involved during implementation (supporting the project manager, making decisions, ensuring the project continues to support the business’ priorities, managing relationships with stakeholders and the vendor). He or she is also pivotal once the project is complete. Overseeing adoption of the system may ultimately fall on this person. You could have the most perfect budgeting and planning solution ever developed, but if no one uses it, the project is a failure. It’s this person’s job to ensure that stakeholders understand and use the system as he/she is the one who identified the need for change and should be committed to seeing it through.
There are sometimes 2 project managers – one provided by the vendor and one from the client organization. The vendor’s project manager will steer the ship, be mindful of the scope of the project, communicate progress with stakeholders and ensure that the project is on time and on budget…
The financial success of any organization begins with a well-structured budget for each department. Just having this budget/plan in place does not guarantee success, but not having a plan guarantees failure.
But with only half of organizations’ plans being accurate and two-thirds not being able to investigate the details of their budgets in real time, many companies are planning major modifications to their budgeting and planning because they are painfully aware of the shortcomings of their process.
The implementation of a comprehensive budgeting, planning and forecasting (BP&F) tool should not be taken lightly. Though BP&F solution deployments can take as little as 6 weeks or as much as 4 months depending on the complexity, these projects require significant forethought, resources, and strategy. With this in mind, here are some pitfalls to avoid if at all possible. These of course apply to all business intelligence projects, not simply BP&F:
1) Unrealistic scope
An unrealistic scope is the #1 project impediment we see at arcplan. Because our solution, arcplan Edge, is fully customizable, we enable our customers to not compromise on their requirements. However, not every company has the funds to deploy every item on their wish list in Phase I of the project. So what can you do to ensure project success?