An executive dashboard is simply a collection of charts, typically deployed in a business intelligence application like Cognos or Business Objects (among others). An executive dashboard is often used to provide management with readily available information on how the company is performing. A popular executive dashboard type is known as a balanced scorecard which provides a representation of all phases of a business (finance, operations, marketing, sales etc.) and how each are is performing against company strategy.
Uses for an Executive Dashboard
Executive dashboards can be used for a number of different applications but are primarily deployed to provide executives with key data on company performance. An executive dashboard will often encompass charts that provide different views of the same data to present the executive with varying depictions of corporate performance. When properly deployed, an executive dashboard can be a critical tool in helping senior executives identify trends, spot anomalies and gauge corporate performance.
Benefits of an Executive Dashboard
The biggest benefit of any executive dashboard is that it quickly provides salient information to the executive on business performance. The executive dashboard allows managers to spot anomalies in the business by viewing and interacting with charts in the executive dashboard. The executive dashboard can also be used to provide key performance indicators (KPIs) that give executives instant snapshots of how the business is doing. With an executive dashboard an executive could, for example, view sales data at the smallest or largest detail to gauge sales performance vs. plan.
Drawbacks of an Executive Dashboard
If implemented properly, an executive dashboard is a powerful tool that allows users to gain great insight into the business. The challenge, however, is that in many cases the executive dashboard is implemented poorly. A poor executive dashboard is typically the result of poor planning. An executive dashboard is only as good as the assumptions behind the charts that make up the executive dashboard and the work done to collect and measure the data. Often when the executive dashboard is designed with complex systems this problem is exacerbated since IT staff are building the executive dashboard instead of executives.
New Trends for the Executive Dashboard