Making Data Less Daunting

Ann All

As companies look to differentiate themselves from competitors, many can't help thinking that a key strategy might be concealed in all of the data that they are accumulating.


But how to find it? Without a way to sift through it and identify patterns, piles of data are more likely to provoke an "ugh" than an "ah-ha." Business intelligence applications seemed promising, but they have largely proved too inaccessible for "average" users.


What if you could give those users a simple-to-understand data interface? You can, with dashboards or scorecards. Business users love them, as evidenced by TDWI research that shows they are usually the ones to initiate dashboard projects.


You don't have to be "average" to like them, as evidenced by the fact that Oracle's Larry Ellison is a fan. (Probably so he can keep better track of companies he can bend to his will, but we digress.)


Yet while dashboards are well utilized in sales and finance, the same isn't true for other areas of a company, finds Ventana Research.


Could dashboards be used to monitor processes like product design, manufacturing and order fulfillment? Those seem like just the kind of areas where companies could use an "ah-ha" moment or two.

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