Dashboard Spy readers know my passion for dashboards and their growing role in presenting corporate metrics and KPIs. After all, I’ve collected and blogged about over a thousand dashboard examples. I truly believe that the dashboard is the new face of business intelligence. Their ease of use and user-centered design really makes information digestible and actionable.
Dashboards are rapidly becoming ubiquitous throughout the enterprise.
However, even I will admit that there are some places we should not take dashboard technology, no matter how strongly we want to promote the role of dashboards in business technology.
Startled by this claim? So, am I. Until a recent visit to one of the world’s top financial firms, I was convinced that dashboards should be distributed to every nook and cranny of the enterprise. There shouldn’t be a single spot in the building that employees can’t check on their metrics, right?
Well, let’s start off with this snapshot I took. It starts off innocently enough. I spotted this clever physical, real-world dashboard in the hallway near the break room. It’s a collection of sheets summarizing the performance of various business units. The pages are set into plastic containers so that you help yourself to a report of interest to you:
Not so strange. Kind of nice actually. As you walk by, you can grab a page to view the metrics you are interested in. As you see, there are 2 spots that contained content more popular than the rest. That’s interesting feedback.
Turns out, however, that this isn’t the only place one finds these dashboards. Take a look at these photos:
The reason I went down this particular hallway was that I was looking for a very important place. Once I got there, this is what I saw:
Yes, indeed. If you notice the plumbing, you’ll see that these corporate metrics are delivered via a unique distribution channel!
Of course, with my interest peaked, I checked to see if the dashboards would appear where I would expect they should:
Talk about being on the hot seat when the dashboard shows a red alert for one of your metrics! Look at the picture closely and you can see a problem that physical, real-life dashboards have that digital dashboards don’t. The right side metrics portlet is missing. You can see the velcro mount, but the actual sheet is gone. Gee, I wonder if some dashboard user got really upset and flushed it away!
Here is one last look. Note the placement of this portlet. Some usabilty expert must have done a study and their heatmap must have shown that the most frequently looked at spot was near the latch. Nice work!
I won’t go on, but I think you’ll agree with me that there are some places that you do NOT want to bring a dashboard. I love dashboards as much as the next business intelligence practitioner, but this is just too much.
BTW, I apologize if I’ve offended the more sensitive among you dashboard team members. I’m sorry you had to view pictures of such an unsavory place. BUT, as you know, dashboarding ain’t always pretty. The Dashboard Spy is dedicated to keeping BI real, and this is about as real as it gets.
Just kidding, we’ll get back to real dashboards soon. Thanks The Dashboard Spy.
Tags: Ubiquity of BI Dashboards, Enteprise dashboard spreads throughout the enterprise, executive dashboards in the workplace, Bathroom dashboard, restroom dashboard, hallway dashboard, physical real-world dashboards