Wednesday, July 28, 2010

From Dashboard to Control Center with AIS

What's wrong with dashboards today? Nothing really, but stretch the limits by adding a few more dimensions of reality and they can fly! Maybe that's the difference between a car's dashboard and the dashboard in the cockpit of an airplane. One just displays the situation and the other allows you to interact and control the airplane.

Executive and management dashboards have become pervasive and invaluable contributors to many businesses' decision making by providing access to a broad range of key corporate and specialized data in easily assimilated visual screens. Today's dashboards are mostly like cars. If you're lucky, you get real time data displayed, along with relevant analysis so that you can make operational or strategic decisions. When you make decisions in a car, you react by letting up on the gas pedal or stopping at the gas station. With business dashboards, you make decisions and then have to go to another system to update data, or send an email or otherwise convey or initiate execution of those decisions. Why can't you act on your decisions from the dashboard? Why do dashboard have to be "read-only?"

With data coming from a range of sources, the prevailing approach to accessing the data from multiple backends is for the dashboard vendor to tell the customer that it’s in their court. (Just get all the data in one database so they can read from it and provide awesome analysis and visualization. I wish I had a dollar for every sale that was lost on that alone! )

Even if it were easy to do, that staging database is the inherent problem with dashboards that limits their usefulness. Whether the vendor develops and populates it or the customer does, there is a specs effort, a design effort, and ongoing implementation effort. Populating it requires a huge programming effort. But the biggest problem is that you simply cannot display current, live data, and you cannot really even think about the data being updated in the dashboard and sent back instantly to the backend systems.

Instead, if you use an Agile Integration Software to implement the dashboard integration, you can automatically have secure, bi-directional data flows. You can eliminate all of the overhead associated with the database design, implementation, and maintenance. That means a rapid dashboard implementation project, and the ability to turn the dashboard into a control center where decisions can not only be made, but can be executed. Maybe you can't even call it a dashboard anymore!

ISVs are rebranding and packaging AIS with their products or embedding into their products using an Agile Integration Software ADO.Net driver. See Stone Bond's Enterprise Enabler

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