Stop Guessing, Start Knowing
By Carolyn Clark, Account Manager, Eureka Solutions
The practice of Business Intelligence (BI) has suffered for many years from the pretence that the information needs of business users can be predicted in advance. Much of what BI delivers is predetermined. Data is extracted from many sources, consolidated into a data warehouse, and pre-computed into answers. At the end, you get a dashboard or report that shows you what you wanted. An example could be sales by region. But what invariably happens is once the data is presented, it leads to more questions.
If sales are down in the west, you need to know why. You need to see sales by rep and product, but typically, the dashboard or report can only show you what you originally asked for. If you want to ask additional questions or see new insights, you need to go back to IT and ask them to add exactly what you want to the report or dashboard.
What is needed is a dashboard with the power to ask and answer any question on the fly. In other words, if you think it, you should be able to act on it.
Unlike traditional dashboards, these new dashboards are constantly being tuned and adjusted to meet up-to-the-second needs. These living dashboards are the opposite of predetermined BI. Living dashboards can easily adapt to discovering and exploring new territory quickly and at low cost. Taken to their full potential, they can help find root causes, identify leading indicators, and then share them throughout the organisation.
As its name implies, a living dashboard is a living thing – changing, evolving and maturing. Living dashboards solve BI’s main problem; traditional BI can tell you only known unknowns—common, dependable metrics such as sales and customers by region but it can’t tell you ‘unknown unknowns,’ the questions you haven’t thought to ask. In this way, living dashboards are conversational. You ask questions, receive answers ponder them, ask more questions, and engage in a dialogue with your data. The hallmarks of a living dashboard include simplicity and intuitiveness. A living dashboard allows users to:
- Ask and answer questions themselves – no queries or IT middlemen required
- Add new data sources at will, in any combination required for the task at hand
- Get answers quickly, almost instantly. No more waiting for reports to run
- Change the configuration of the dashboard themselves on the fly without the help of IT
- Share their dashboard with others. What’s the use of creating new metrics and KPIs if you can’t share them?
QlikView’s Business Discovery platform enables the creation of the living dashboards described above. To read more on living dashboards download this QlikView whitepaper.
|Article by Carolyn Clark
Carolyn Clark is Business Intelligence Account Manager at Eureka Solutions and specialises on QlikView BI software. Carolyn has a degree in Management Science and has many years’ experience in the software industry focussing on business process management & business insight products.
To get in touch with Carolyn, email email@example.com or call 01355 581 960.