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Claudia Imhoff

Welcome to my blog.

This is another means for me to communicate, educate and participate within the Business Intelligence industry. It is a perfect forum for airing opinions, thoughts, vendor and client updates, problems and questions. To maximize the blog's value, it must be a participative venue. This means I will look forward to hearing from you often, since your input is vital to the blog's success. All I ask is that you treat me, the blog, and everyone who uses it with respect.

So...check it out every week to see what is new and exciting in our ever changing BI world.

About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants (www.BBBT.us). You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

Editor's Note:
More articles and resources are available in Claudia's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

I got a note from a friend of mine the other day. He wanted to know if I knew of some tools that could help him rapidly design dashboards. I do not know of anything but thought you might.

Here is his note in full. Please comment if you can help him with his question.


I have been looking for a set of Visio shapes that will allow rapid design of dashboards that are supported by Microsoft, Oracle, BW, etc. Are you aware of where these might be available as opposed to having to create them from scratch. Thanks."

Well, there you have it. I am not aware of what Visio might have so I leave it up to others to expand the knowledge bank. Got any suggestions?

Yours in BI (and dashboard design) Success.


Posted March 2, 2006 12:05 PM
Permalink | 7 Comments |


Dear Friend -

I am not aware of an off the shelf solution for dashboards that involves Visio. The company that I represent does however, have a way of applying value to images and then breathing the life of real time data into those images.

However, the work that you have done in visio is a great first step. Sharp Analytics software allows us to go from whiteboard to production (pending clean data) in less than a week (for a dashboard that is as complete as the ones you can see here).

I would love talk in more detail.

I am not sure why the link did not work, http://www.sharpanalytics.com/bi_solutions/demo.php.

Visio is not generally accepted as a dashboard building tool. I recommend Crystal Xcelsius.

If you're just looking for chart / graph / gauge shapes, Visio has most of those built in. Do a search for "chart" and you'll find a whole slew of stuff. The big thing I saw missing was a dashboard kind of guage. You can find one here:

I'm sure there are plenty of others out there, too.

The really hard part in dashboard design is figuring out with your users just exactly what to show. I've found that the best way to brainstorm is to look at as many dashboard design samples as possible. The best resource for this is to use The Dashboard Spy at http://dashboardspy.wordpress.com

It's a blog that monitors dashboard designs and features tons of sample dashboards. It's updated daily.

OK, getting back to the question, you'll need to start with site mapping and storyboarding before you get to more granular design efforts. This method of using visio for site mapping was just posted: http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/the_lazy_ia_s_guide_to_making_sitemaps.

It has links to visio stencils that will help. After you get a site map together, then you can talk about individual controls on the pages.

Don't forget to check out other dashboard designs at http://dashboardspy.wordpress.com

My latest thought on this thread: Here's the latest in the rapid development of dashboards. Use this free Powerpoint-based screen mockup tool located at the dashboard templates page of The Dashboard Spy. It is so simple any business user can use it to quickly mock up a dashboard.

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