Executive dashboard software
Executive dashboards (also known as an ‘enterprise’ or ‘digital’
dashboards) are powerful management software tools used by executives to
gain an overall view of the health of an enterprise.
Executive dashboards can be customised to display
business data across a
wide range of areas, ranging from sales figures to manufacturing
statistics, allowing executives a real time birds-eye view of
Features of Executive Dashboards
In order for executives to make informed strategy decisions to
achieve the objectives of an enterprise it is essential that they have
access to up to date, accurate information on the overall performance of
The executive dashboard (also called business dashboard, corporate
dash-board, and dashboard for executives) is a powerful software solution that can provide
this information. By pulling in data from a range of disparate business
information databases it becomes possible to build an accurate
picture of business performance.
Executive dashboards are so called because of the obvious metaphor of the
business as a vehicle. Executives (drivers) need an instrument panel to
provide them with the information they need to ‘drive’ the business.
Modern digital dashboards / business dashboards are designed by many
vendors to work ‘out of the box’, enabling managers to simply install them
on their office desktop or home computer and configure them to track
performance across a wide range of business processes. Dashboards
information visualisation tools, allowing executives
to manipulate vast volumes of data into easily understandable graphical
formats such as graphs, pie charts and gauges.
Perhaps most importantly, executive dashboards are configured to
display performance of high-level processes, allowing executives to get a
simple, broad overview of the performance of specific areas of the
business or (see also: Key Performance Indicators). If a particular area
becomes a cause for concern it is possible to drill down into lower level
data to provide more information.
Benefits of Executive Dashboards
It’s clear to see that an executive dashboard tool can be a powerful aid
to decision making. Beyond the simple graphics, dashboards offer a range
of specific benefits to executives:
* Faster Decision Making
Before the development of the executive dashboard the process of gathering
business performance information for management was both time consuming
and impractical. As Oracle CEO Larry Ellison complained in Business Week
Before the Internet, Ellison says, taking the pulse of a company was sort
of ridiculous. To get the latest sales information, he would call several
people and wait days for them to process financial reports that often were
out of date by the time he got them. "You would use your cell phone and
work on feelings," he says.
The executive dashboard allows busy executives an accurate real time
overview of business information. Clearly, the possession of such real
time data enables executives to make quicker management decisions.
* Identification of Negative Trends
This access to real time business data enables executives to identify and
correct potentially dangerous negative trends before they cause damage to
the business. If the dashboard suggests a steady decline in sales,
executives can liaise with marketing staff to formulate new advertising
strategies. Before the dashboard,
sales information may have taken days or
even weeks to land on the desks of the executive level, resulting in
reduced revenue and more sluggish responses.
* Business Process Management
Executive dashboards can highlight inefficiencies in business
that may not be obvious to men on the front lines. The birds-eye view of
business processes can help managers gain an objective, facts-based image
of processes that they may not get from their department heads and project
* Strategy Alignment and Organisational Goal Generation
An overview of business performance can aid managers in the development of
new business strategies. With a clear overview of the strengths and
weaknesses of the enterprise it can be much easier and more effective to
formulate ideas about the best way to achieve business objectives.
dashboard) claims that executive dashboards promote strategy and goal
generations by putting the ‘corporate memory’ of the enterprise into a
"It's about changing those processes within companies to be totally
* Remote Viewing
Most executive dashboard software can connect with
systems from remote locations via the Internet. This capability makes it
easy for executives to keep up to date with business performance whether
in or out of the office.
This feature can be especially useful for executives whose role
necessitates extensive travelling, allowing them to stay connected to the
enterprise while away on business.