Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Three Threes of BI Dashboards

Wayne Eckerson likes the number three. At least, he uses it alot in his book, "Performance Dashboards."

Wayne, research director at TechTarget in Boston, writes:
One of the most salient features of performance dashboards are the "three threes": three applications, three layers, and three types. The "three threes" provide a convenient way to describe the major characteristics of performance dashboards and a litmus test to differentiate imposters from bona fide performance dashboards.

Wayne breaks a performance dashboard into three integrated application components:

  • Monitoring application for conveying information at a glance (dashboards for operational processes and scorecards for strategic goals) 
  • Analysis application for exposing exception conditions and allowing the user to drill into details
  • Management application for improving alignment, coordination, and collaboration 


A dashboard can also be segregated into three different informational layers:

  • Monitoring information utilizing graphical, metrics data for executives 
  • Analysis information utilizing summarized, dimensional data for analysts 
  • Detail information utilizing transactional data for workers 


Lastly, Wayne outlines three types of dashboards:

  • Strategic dashboards for executives (often using the Balanced Scorecard methodology)
  • Tactical dashboards for departmental processes and projects 
  • Operational dashboards for front-line workers utilizing detail transactional 


There is plenty of overlap between Wayne's three informational layers and three types of dashboards. We mess up his "three" paradigm, but we might combine things into a summary such as:

  • Strategic Monitoring Dashboard for executives (highly graphical representative of metrics)
  • Tactical Analysis Dashboard for departments and projects (summary with drill-to details)
  • Operational Detail Dashboards for front-line workers (very current transactional data) 


For more information, see Wayne's book on Amazon.

By the way, if you are considering using WebFOCUS to build BI dashboards, be sure to see my other blog posting.

1 comment:

Dashboards said...

The classification of dashboards given sounds much sensible when we relate them to the scenarios mentioned. Wayne gave such a nice classification on performance dashboards. The re-conclusion you gave on Wayne's performance dashboards concept seems more practical when things are taken more practical or make the dashboard solutions suit to the situations.

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I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.