Definition of Metrics and Dashboards
Metrics and dashboards both are used to provide organizations with a concrete way of tracking company performance against a pre-dtermined set of targets. The measurement of targets vs. actual performance are the "metrics" part of the metrics and dashboards. The dashboards side of the equation is used to describe the software platforms used to publish the metrics in a dashboard format. With metrics and dashboards companies can easily identify trends and spot anomalies to help the organization make more informed and quicker business decisions.
Applications of Metrics and Dashboards
There are many applications for metrics and dashboards. One of the most frequently used is a concept known as the balanced scorecard. Through metrics and dashboards companies can create "scorecards" that keep track of how the company is performing against key goals for the business. Through the balanced scorearding approach the metrics and dashboards provide the business with a concrete way of measuring how day to day operations are achieving in comparison to strategic goals established by the organization.
Creating Metrics and Dashboards
The process of creating metrics and dashboards differs depending on the platform being used and the company implementing the metrics and dashboards. Regardless of platform, however, the first step in deploying metrics and dashboards is always one of planning and internal discussion. The reason for this is simple. In order for any metrics and dashboards to be of benefit they must accurately reflect the business that is implementing them as well as the goals and operations of that business.
Benefits of Metrics and Dashboards
Properly implemented metrics and dashboards can have a significant, positive impact on the business. Through metrics and dashboards operations can identify trends and spot key anomalies in data (both negative and positive) to provide the business with a faster reaction time and a more informed decision. This "knowledge based" decision making power is one of the key values metrics and dashboards bring to any business as the organization struggles with the day to day competitiveness of its market and the rapidly changing economic conditions.
Platforms for Metrics and Dashboards
There are a number of technologies that can be used to deploy metrics and dashboards. The most widely used set of technologies for metrics and dashboards fall into the "business intelligence" arena. The metrics and dashboards created through business intelligence software can be quickly deployed throughout the organization, and, if the platform of choice allows it, the metrics and dashboards can be created on an ad-hoc basis by the very users the metrics and dashboards are designed to help. This form of "self use" for metrics and dashboards is a relatively new concept and one that is becoming increasingly popular.