I read an article recently titled "Dashboards: The Key to Breaking the Dependency on BI" by Steve Ricketts. In it, he claims that you don't need to build data warehouses -- they are complex and hard to implement. All you really need is a dashboard to present "vital information in an at-a-glance graphical format..."
Oh puleeeeaaassse - spare me from this overly naive, simplistic and unfortunately erroneous piffle.
First off, let me state that Mr. Ricketts is the VP of Marketing for Bowstreet, a dashboard vendor. That should be enough to cast doubt on his article but I will continue...
While I certainly see a role for dashboards in today's BI environment -- they make very good presentation tools -- they do not solve the myriad of problems with the data they present. He compounds his errors by stating that dashboards solve the problem of IT stovepipes by using their standardization of the underlying application and portal server architecture as well as the dashboard user's interface. No argument there but this assumes that the data is already in a form that is integrated, cleaned up, and easily accessible. In my years of working with all sorts of industries, governments, non-profits, etc., I have NEVER seen one that had its data in such pristine shape. Mr. Ricketts must live in a world that is foreign to me -- and most other organizations.
What the article promotes is nothing short of putting lipstick on a pig. It annoys the pig and doesn't make it prettier. By simply throwing a dashboard on top of disintegrated, unimproved data, you are giving everyone a quick way to view chaos. And chaos is not good for decision making.
To get the most out of your dashboard technology, you must have the data integrated and of good quality. This is not easy. It is not simple. It is not quick. Nothing worth anything really is. But you also have something that is useful. Put your dashboard on top of that, Mr. Ricketts, and you really have something.
Yours in BI success,
Posted November 29, 2005 9:20 AM
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