Here’s the agenda — I’ll spend the first fifteen minutes or so talking about why Dashboards might make sense for your organization, and then I’ll hand over to David, who will take you through how to design dashboards, and give you a demonstration of our Xcelsius product. We’ll have a formal Q&A at the end, but don’t hesitate to use the question panel at any time.
Why are we talking about dashboards? Quite simply, they help you know where you are, and where you’re going. Modern business is much like exploration in the sixteenth century — then, as now, there was immense uncertainty about what lay beyond the horizon, and charting the right course could make the difference between riches and disaster. This is a picture of Christopher Columbus, who died in his villa in northern Spain exactly 503 years ago today, on May 20 th . His voyages had made him wealthy from the gold he and his men had accumulated during their voyages. So how can dashboards help your organization become richer — or avoid disaster?
So, why dashboards? Fundamentally, dashboards are way to make access to information more intuitive and actionable. The idea of information dashboards is nothing new — it’s been around since the 1970s, when researchers at MIT first coined the term “executive information system”. But it’s only recently that we’ve been able to finally start delivering on the promise of those early systems. In today’s tough times, executives and managers at every level are having to make tough decisions. Having the right information at their finger-tips can make the difference between an organization that rationally cuts waste in order to emerge in a stronger market position, and an organization that behaves like a Dilbert cartoon — random, nonsensical decisions that ruin morale. Dashboards can help highlight what is most important to the organization, help make costs more transparent, and accelerate business process improvements. With every crisis comes opportunity, but fast-decision making is essential to take advantage of it. One of the best examples I know of how effective dashboards can be is in the medical sector. Emergency Medical Associates runs a network of emergency departments on the east coast. Using dashboards and scorecards, they were able to analyze all the interrelated metrics that impacted walkouts — that’s people leaving the emergency department without being treated. Over a year and a half they were able to reduce wait times and the percentage of walkouts by 75%. Just by using information better, they were able to both improve patient care and satisfaction, AND increase their revenues. This was because they had more patients, but also because it turned out to be a huge competitive differentiator compared to other hospitals in the area.
Many organizations see the need for dashboards but are sometimes challenged by how and where to get started.
Dashboards can be deployed at all levels of the organization, from the executives to the factory floor. Ideally, everybody should have a dashboard, providing strategic alignment across the organization. But different users have different needs. For each group, we need to know: who needs to use the dashboards? How many users? How personalized will they need to be? What is the timeliness of the information needed? How does it integrate with the users’ daily work processes?
There are three main types of dashboards. Operational dashboards that provide information to those who monitor operations, such as a factory worker monitoring production quality. Tactical dashboards that provide a view into how an individual or process is performing, such as an account manager who monitors their leads and tracks their performance against quarterly quota And strategic dashboards that provide a high-level overview of how the business or team is performing, so that executives can easily see where there are issues.
Here are some of the key characteristics of operational dashboards — they typically include real-time or event-driven data, are integrated into a business process and other business applications, and typically include alerts when particular events happen or thresholds have been passed. For example, I know of a great operational dashboard for a logistics company in Scandinavia — there are screens on the loading bays which direct workers which packages to load on which trucks, based on complex calculations including time, the priority of the packages, and the package dimensions. It’s a bit like a 3d version of tetris, but the workers on the loading bay just get the information they need, when they need it.
Here’s an example of an operational dashboard showing retail shop performance. Note that I’m still in PowerPoint here, but I have a simple and intuitive interface, and can see in a glance when my performance is falling below defined targets.
Now tactical dashboards. These are more analytical, typically highly personalized to an individual or role, they use information gathered over a period of time, and users typically need to link to more detailed information when they spot a problem. These are the types of dashboards that you or I would like to have to monitor the key things that we care about.
Here’s a Human Resources example. I can monitor compensation by tenure, terminations by cause, and how that relates to performance by region.
Strategic dashboards can come in several different types. They may be “bottom up”, designed to give at-a-glance summary information to senior executives, across a wide variety of systems — this is often done manually in excel today, or they may be “top down”, using management methodologies such as balanced scorecard to communicate key goals and initiatives — they type of thing mostly handled in Powerpoint today. Ultimately, of course, you should be striving match these two together to have your bottom-up data linked to your top-down goals.
Here’s a strategic dashboard designed for manufacturing, measuring operating performance against key industry metrics of the manufacturing plants around the world, including cost variance, cycle time, and flexibility. ----------------- To support your selling and prospecting efforts, we had specifically designed a series of executive dashboard in the areas of manufacturing, supply chain, sales & marketing and finance. The first, here, was designed for the head of manufacturing who has worldwide responsibility for improving production quality and flexibility against demand upsides/downsides at lowest cost. The dashboard here allows him to measure the operating performance against key industry metrics of his manufacturing plants located in various parts of the world. The metrics, which in can see at the right, includes: Cost variance % : Just briefly, the cost variance metric expressed here in % refers to the deviation of actual product cost as compare to standard cost in the areas of labor, materials, fixed overhead, and other cost elements. Cycle time: refers to the total lead time in days/hours to manufacture the goods in a specific production run Downside/upside adaptability: refers to the production increase that could be achieved in a fixed 30-day cycle with no impact to cost / inventory Upside flexibility: refers to a plant’s ability to respond quickly to production flunctations, measureed in # of days to achieve unplanned (20%) increase in production with no raw material constraints. The key takeaway here is that the data may reside in multiple instances of SAP, whether it is R/3, BW, legacy shop floor scheduling systems, WMS, etc. It doesn’t matter where the data resides. The value propositions here are that: We offer you access to multiple data sources, regardless if it is SAP. We allow you to transform ordinary data into easily-consumed dashboards for executives, and drill-down to more detailed reports. We offer you a tool that enables you to quickly adapt to new business requirements. Whereas SAP gives you standard, operational reports, often embedded in their applications, we extend the value of SAP by allow you to obtain a single, complete picture of your business--regardless of where the data resides. ---------------------- ------------------- The premise behind this dashboard is to provide a global view of key performance indicators of manufacturing locations and to drill into a medium level of detail to understand where performance is at variance and how it has trended. This dashboard is intended for a global head of manufacturing. An important theme of the dashboard is that it compares performance against industry benchmarks as per the Supply Chain Councils SCOR methodology. Thus it is important to note that the numbers and indicators in the top half are indexed against benchmark rather than being the absolute numbers. Of course, indexed numbers are derived from the real numbers so if you wanted to display those instead, it is of course possible. Within the map, you are able to select one of five metrics to understand at a glance worldwide performance for that metric. Of course, these could be any number of metrics and any type of metric, but we have chosen 5 metrics that are consistent with the SCOR model. Many companies subscribe to this methodology and we, along with SAP, are members of the organization. The five metrics are cost variance %, cycle time, downside adaptability, upside adaptability and upside flexibility. Cost variance % looks at how much your actual production costs differed to your standard cost, cycle time is how long it took to manufacture, downside and upside adaptability is the production reduction or increase that can be achieved in 30 days with no impact on cost or inventory, while upside flexibility is how many days to achieve an unplanned sustainable 20% increase in production with no raw material constraints. You are also able to understand your performance versus your industry peers through the 3 benchmarking levels as suggested by the supply chain council. You may select whether your comparison is against the industry parity level, the industry advantage level, or at the performance level of superior companies in your industry. If the icon is green, then you are better than the benchmark level and if the icon is red you are worse than the benchmark level. You will also note that there is a worldwide icon which enables you to understand the overall company performance versus your chosen benchmark level for the industry. Lastly, you are able to choose a timeframe for your analysis. Here we have quarterly and total year, but again that is easy to change. So for example, if I choose cycle time, 2006 Q1 and choose the advantage benchmark level, then I find that overall I am below the level of companies defined as having an advantage in my industry, but that Shanghai is above that benchmark and therefore operating at a level of advantage to the industry. If I click on superior, then I find that Shanghai is however below that level of benchmark. I can also change the date of the analysis. So again, if I am looking at the advantage level for cycle time, and move through the different time periods, I find that in Q2 Shanghai ceased to operate at an advantage level but Kobe began to. In Q3 no location was at advantage level and in Q4 on Brno was. Consequently, for the full year, no location was overall at Advantage level. The performance of Brno was very interesting in that it achieved advantage level in Q4 for cycle time. Let us analyze that location in more detail. If I click on the Brno icon on the map, the 3 other charts in the dashboard will all change to focus on Brno. On the right hand side, I can see the performance of all 5 metrics against the advantage benchmark. In Q1 I can see that cost variance made the advantage benchmark but that cycle time was significantly below. If I move to Q2, I note that cost variance maintained it’s performance but that cycle time improved. In Q3, cycle time improved further but cost variance suffered and is now below advantage benchmark. In Q4, where cycle time achieved it’s advantage performance, cost variance became even worse. It looks like, in Brno at least, we are achieving performance in cycle time at the cost of worsening cost variances. I can understand this cost aspect more deeply by using the cost variance waterfall chart. This shows me how much production should have cost against what it actually did, and how those variances are made up ie variances in fixed overheads, labor, materials or variable overheads. As I move from Q1 to Q4, I see that fixed overhead variances and labor variances have moved to become significantly unfavourable. Note that here we are not benchmarking the individual components against the industry but instead comparing them against the expected cost. These absolute variances have resulted in an overall cost variance percentage that is worse than the industry standard for a company performing at advantage level. Lastly, on the bottom right, we have a breakout for actual cycle time by stage of production. This time each individual stage is benchmarked against the industry and we can also see at a glance how our total cycle time compares to the overall industry benchmark. If I return to the map and choose cycle time, 2006 all and parity, and then click on the Worldwide icon, I will see at a glance in the cycle time chart that although I am overall making the parity days for cycle time, my produce & test stage is below industry standard. If I change to advantage level, then I can see that produce & test along with release to deliver is causing me to not achieve an advantage level of manufacturing cycle time days. It looks reasonable to target produce & test to improve overall cycle time performance. It is the longest stage and the one that is below average. Setting the benchmark level back to parity, I see 5 locations that are below average in overall cycle time. I can either click through them, or press the play button to go through them all. It is interesting to note that not all locations with poor or good overall cycle times have a corresponding poor or good cycle time for the longest stage. It may make sense to start an initiative to share best practices from those with a good cycle time for this stage and of course I’ll be able to keep track of the results.
Finally, here’s an example of a strategy management dashboard, used to coordinate the key goals and initiatives of the organization, to make sure there’s a single view of strategy throughout the organization. We offer a product called SAP Strategy Management that is specifically designed for this role.
So what do these users want in a dashboard? Organizations large or small, like yours have both business and technology requirements. For business users, they want… An easy to use interface with easy to understand analysis. They need to manage by exception, and have that alert show up on their dashboards when sales goals for a region is off track. They need to be able to turn that information they see on their dashboards into something they can act on. This might be a chart that shows them their product sales when compared with last year has dropped drastically and that it is not a seasonality issue. They want to drill from high level information to more detailed analysis in a seamless manner w/o having to log into another application or call IT. Lastly, more and more, companies want power users to manage departmental dashboards. The product needs to be easy enough to use so IT doesn’t need to intervene when the dashboards have to be updated or changed. For IT users like yourselves… You want to able to quickly deploy these dashboards to endusers without having to code so you can save time and money in deployment and maintenance. The product should also be flexible enough to handle the needs of your growing organization whether that is: Making changes when there are organizational changes – adding new users Easily securing or personalizing dashboards such as providing someone in sales the same dashboard but have different sales figures displayed within the same dashboard Scalable for growing business needs Lastly, equally as important for a company is being able to leverage existing BI investments
So now you wonder where do I begin? How can I get my users up and running quickly? When we talk about what a BI project/Dashboard project look like, it typically begins in Excel. In many organizations, the seeds and framework for a dashboard may already exist inside a report/spreadsheet. From there the business may be exporting the report into flat files and the like, creating different variations of the report, emailing the report around, and so forth. Ultimately the end user is looking for something. We need to flush that out. In our case we have 2 columns of data that shows us our Income Statement for FY 2004/2005.
Some of the best dashboards begin on the back of a napkin. In our Income Statement example, what I really want is to be able to better visualize the data and have the ability to adjust some of the variables. Perhaps some sort of control to model net income, adjust the growth sales rate, and some sliders to do What-If on Sales/COGS/G+A/etc. It would also be nice to see the Income Statement represented as a Table. So, we draw what we want. How do the end users want to see it? Do you want a bar chart / line chart / selectors / etc?
Crystal Xcelsius Blackbelt Training Don’t get lost in the visualization, too many users say they track a lot of metrics. The reality is that only about 5 or so is truly critical and so don’t clutter the dashboard with too much information that is not necessary.
Crystal Xcelsius Blackbelt Training
What we’re looking at here is the development process for creating an interactive dashboard. Step 1: Data Source Tier Identify your compliant data source(s). Universes, Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence documents, or any XML-compliant data source. Step 2: Connectivity Tier Identify and develop your connectivity methods. Xcelsius Enterprise can connect to business reports via Live Office; the Business Objects platform via Query as a Web Service; real-time pushed data from Adobe LiveCycle Data Services; or any SOAP-based web services and XML script. Step 3: Visualization Tier Use Xcelsius point and click methodology to create visual models. Step 4: Visual Model Deploy SWF file to InfoView, website, PowerPoint or other publishing options. RUNTIME: You have now created a stand-alone model that connects directly to your database without passing through Xcelsius, or other application! Visual models connect to Business Objects web servers to retrieve data. Additional options include Microsoft Reporting Services, SharePoint, IBM Web Sphere or XML Server side scripts.
these are pre-packaged solutions designed to help customers in specific industries or with specific business challenges. Director of Purchasing and Logistics at Welch: Business Intelligence has uncovered a great number of opportunities to cut costs that likely would have gone unnoticed before. Also, because the system is faster, it turns what once amounted to 30 hours of work into 30 minutes. With the software, analysts now spend 80% of their time analyzing information and only 20% gathering it, whereas before it was the other way around, says Coyne. &quot;We started doing this prior to the recession, but it's been a wonderful tool in the face of the recession because it gives us more insight into our cost structure than we've ever had,&quot;
Today, we’ve seen some great examples of how dashboards can take information access to the next level, helping you access information faster and make the right decisions in today’s tough times. We’ve seen that there are different types of dashboards for different types of users, that Xcelsius is a great interactive tool that can be tightly integrated with your existing BI platform and business applications, and that we can provide you with out-of-the box predefined analytic best practice solutions. My final comment, though, is to remind you that effective dashboard projects are not about technology — they are about people. Choosing the right types of KPIs requires deep understanding of the business, and the change management that goes along with dashboard use — what gets measured gets managed — should not be considered an IT project.
To that end, here are some of my personal favorite books on dashboarding. Wayne Eckerson of TDWI has written the best overall guide to dashboards that I know of, although it’s a few years old now. Specifically for the graphical aspects of dashboard design, Stephen Few is an interesting read — although he’s a bit of grumpy purist, who hates some of the glossy effects you can achieve in Xcelsius, for example. For the business aspects of dashboarding, Tom Davenport’s book is very useful to help evangelize the need for information in your organization, and the last two books are focused on the business aspects of measuring performance.
Further Reading… Performance Dashboards Wayne Eckerson The Balanced Scorecard Kaplan & Norton Competing on Analytics Tom Davenport Key Performance Indicators David Parmenter Information Dashboard Design Stephen Few