A leading manufacturing company has been experiencing declining sales over the past few quarters— affecting its turnover and credibility. Concerned over the downward spiral, the senior management team gets into a huddle and reviews real-time snapshots of productivity and other key performance indicators, provided by business dashboards. They are in for a surprise when they notice a sudden spike in customer rejects during the last two quarters. Upon further analysis, the company discovers that the parts procured from a single vendor are of inferior quality and immediately blacklist the supplier.
Dashboards are a powerful tool that support the information and decision making needs of senior business leaders—helping them make proactive decisions and drive profitability. A simple analogy in everyday life would be the car panel facing a driver, which offers crucial information on speed, fuel consumed, and engine temperature.
Similarly, dashboards provide business executives with simple access to internal and external data through graphical displays, easy-to-read graphs, charts, and reports with drill-down capabilities. They can either be customized in-house or procured from dashboard vendors, and could be operational, strategic, or analytical. While the last two are designed for CXOs, operational dashboards are mostly used by middle-level managers.
These information tools are being deployed across industries to offer crucial business insights. Retail multinationals such as P&G use “Decision Cockpits” to display key management data on desktops. As a result, over 50,000 employees have access to such information. In addition to desktop displays, P&G has also built meeting spaces or “Business Spheres” in over 50 locations where business information collated through dashboards is converted into visual data elements known as “heatmaps”. These heatmaps showcase P&G’s product standing in their respective markets and the relative share of its products through a color coding scheme, which helps business groups in strategizing and formulating decisions.
Social media major Facebook uses dashboards to extract near real-time statistics on the efficiency of its data centers. The dashboard pages for the data centers show live PUE (power usage effectiveness) and WUE (water usage effectiveness) numbers as well as outdoor temperature and humidity—helping IT management teams calibrate the energy used on IT machinery, and make the necessary improvements.
In other instances, businesses are even taking the benefits of dashboards to their CXO customers. A leading player in the business travel space, American Express Business Travel Advisory Services has come up with a planning dashboard that helps C-level executives make informed decisions by removing unnecessary travel expenses and minimizing the risk of cutting into revenue-generating travel plans.
One of the greatest management challenges of the 21st Century is to guide large and complex organizations towards their goals. Technology through the use of dashboards can bridge this divide by transforming the decision-making process and improving top-line sales and revenue.
How do you think that dashboards for CXOs can enhance and improve the profitability of organizations? Please leave your comments in the section below.