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Need & Effectiveness of Executive Dashboards

Essay by   •  November 20, 2010  •  Essay  •  660 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,358 Views

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Executive dashboards are a requirement for intelligent organizations that need to respond to opportunities in a responsive manner. The term "executive dashboard" is receiving a lot of play from business partners/vendors. Many IT managers are also using the terms dashboard and portal synonymously.

The two technologies aren't synonymous, although they are very similar. An enterprise portal is just that: a portal. It is a browser-based gateway to integrated information and applications to promote information sharing, consistency, and accessibility to members of the organization. An executive dashboard, although it uses the same underlying technology, is a much smaller-scale subset of portal technology that provides specific, performance-based information to upper-level management.

A dashboard is a one-screen "cockpit" of all critical measurements for driving business decisions, offering actionable information at management's fingertips, business performance measurements at a glance, and up-to-date information on status and forecasts against benchmarks. Executive dashboards are an absolute must for any organization that wants to keep a finger on the pulse of its business activities.

There are two major differences between enterprise portals and executive dashboards: scope and purpose. A portal's scope is organization wide; it serves as a single-point that connects all the partners in an organization's value chain. Customers, vendors, employees, executive management, anyone or any organization that's a stakeholder can be a portal user. For example, employees can access SAP functionality, customer information, sales databases, stored documents, from anywhere in the organization via the Internet. Customers can access such things as inventory, call up sales histories, download marketing materials, and place or check the status of orders. In essence, a portal is an enterprise wide gateway to manage traffic up and down stream.

Alternatively, executive dashboards have a much narrower audience (executive management), and for a more granular purpose: summarizing and reporting on key performance indicators. Dashboards give executive management real-time answers to real-time questions.

Executive dashboards present corporate performance indicators that are tied to business goals and industry benchmarks and best practices. They do so by leveraging tools and the organizational intranet to gather data from legacy systems or data warehouses. The results are graphs and charts in a web based format that makes for a no-nonsense, efficient business monitoring system.

However, an executive dashboard isn't just pie charts and bar graphs. It's a one-page overview of all critical measurements necessary to make executive decisions that will affect the organization's bottom line. For instance, a plastics company might

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