'Performance management" is the buzz as organizations strive to employ information riches to improve strategic alignment, sharpen insight into financial performance and execute business-critical operations. With portals and other interfaces approaching mainstream acceptance as single, organized access points for widening populations of users, companies must exploit their potential for communication and collaboration between executives, line of business managers and employees.
Dashboards fulfill this need by letting more members of an organization monitor critical information; analyze and explore performance data; and communicate and collaborate effectively. Conventionally, organizations have tried to gain these capabilities with BI reports and spreadsheets — a flawed practice at best. Users have had to get in line for IT analysts to create the reports; then, if users need data outside their realm, they must go to individual department heads to find and incorporate that data in haphazard fashion. Finally, typical procedures give IT organizations little chance of maintaining data quality.