Monday, March 01, 2010

Driving without a dashboard

Let’s pretend for a second that you’re looking for a used car at a dealership. You find one you like—it’s sporty, fast, and cheap. Only one problem: It doesn’t have a dashboard. No gauges, no warning lights, no nothing.

“No problem,” says the salesman, “Just keep a close eye on it. You’ll be fine. Look how shiny it is.”

Do you buy it? Of course not. The idea of driving a car with no dashboard is ridiculous. How would you know if there’s a problem? How would you know if anything needs fixing? You wouldn’t…at least not until it’s too late.

Why then do some business leaders choose to run their companies without executive dashboards? A dashboard will tell you when there’s a problem. A dashboard will tell you what needs fixing and what’s doing well. Most of all, a dashboard will tell you before it’s too late.

What do you look for in a dashboard? A good dashboard will be customized to display the data relative to your role in the company. It will display a high-level view of your data but allow you to drill down to the minutia if you wish. Last but not least, a good dashboard displays real-time data straight from your database. Check out this dashboard if you want to see an example.


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