The Dashboard Spy

July 20, 2006

Commercial Airline Executive Dashboard – SAS/GRAPH Implementation for BI Contest

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — Tags: , — dashboardspy @ 8:50 am

Dashboard Software Topic: SAS Dashboards 

This just in from Robert Allison, a Dashboard Spy reader who is contributing quite a few enterprise dashboards to our little collection here. Thanks!

Here’s another original/unique dashboard I’d like to submit to your collection.  This one was created to enter into the b-eye-network’s recent contest for question #4 (their “dashboard” question). Here is the website describing the data & question:

They supply an excel spreadsheet with the underlying data and the following scenario:

You are a consultant who has been hired by a U.S. commercial airlines to design a dashboard for its executives. The information that the executive team wants to monitor has been identified and now its your job to create the dashboard’s visual design. You must try to display all of this information in some manner on a single screen such that the executives will be able to quickly identify anything that needs their attention and then have the means to discern enough about the situation to decide if they can ignore it for now or must perhaps take some action. It is up to you to determine the appropriate manner, level of detail, and means to display each piece of information.

Since the contest deadline was last Friday, I guess it’s safe to show this one in public now 🙂 For those of you who want a look behind the scenes of my implementation, here is a link to the interactive web output, and the SAS/Graph code used to create it:

Commercial Airline Executive Dashboard

Tags: Dashboard Software, SAS Dashboards 

Homework: If you are new to SAS/GRAPH, of just not sure of what it is, check out these books on SAS/GRAPH.

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, send an email to info _at_ Also check out The Dashboard Spy’s books on enterprise dashboards. His current favorite is Enterprise Dashboards: Design and Best Practices for IT, the only book on actually implementing executive dashboards.


  1. Nice. Makes me wish I had SAS/Graphs.

    It might be interesting to flip the 30-day Delayed Flights bars so both Delayed and Cancelled bars spread out in opposite directions from the same central spine, producing a combined “Delayed OR Canceled Flights” bar.

    Comment by Chris G — July 21, 2006 @ 12:42 pm

  2. Hi Robert. Nice Graph. Does one need SAS to have this running in one’s organization? (Is SAS only required to build the product?)

    Would you kindly contact me off line?


    Comment by Tom — July 25, 2006 @ 10:02 am

  3. It would help if you had a contact; try **suppressed for spam protection of dashboardspy reader*** [ask info at for this reader’s email address]

    Comment by Tom — July 25, 2006 @ 10:04 am

  4. Nice work, but it’s lucky there was no requirement for plots overlaying groups of bars.

    I also see that someone still thinks that the SAS date9. format DDMMMYYYY is acceptable in the real world. IT IS NOT!!!! Nobody writes dates in this way, except for SAS programmers. Use DD/MM/YYYY, MM/DD/YYYY or worddate. At least put spaces or hypens between the bits!

    %let report_date = %sysfunc(date(),ddmmyy10.)

    Comment by Rod Williams — July 25, 2006 @ 11:46 pm

  5. Rod – thanks for the suggestions on date formats 🙂

    Per “plots overlaying groups of bars” – while it’s true that SAS/Graph’s “proc gbarline” doesn’t support grouped bars, I can still use “proc gchart” to do grouped bars, and then use “annotate” to draw the lines. Here’s an example that shows this (the bars just happen to be zero-height, but I guarantee you that it is indeed a grouped bar chart 🙂

    Comment by Robert Allison — July 26, 2006 @ 7:26 am

  6. Per comment #1 …
    Chris – I like your idea a lot! 🙂
    Hopefully you are not also in this contest – you would be tough competition! 😉

    Comment by Robert Allison — July 26, 2006 @ 7:52 am

  7. […] Remember when we discussed the dashboard contest with the scenario about the airline management views of enterprise data? (Use the link to see the previously discussed entry by Dr. Allison). The contest was the Business Intelligence Network’s 2006 Data Visualization Competition judged by Stephen Few, data visualization expert and author of the amazing dashboard book, Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data. The competition consisted of five scenario descriptions that covered various business situations. Well Andreas of, the winner of the airline management dashboard scenario, proudly wrote me from Germany to tell me about his victory. The main visual difference between the winning entry and other submissions was the use of sparklines allowing for efficient screen use. As he explains: The task was to develop a dashboard for the executives of an U.S. commercial airline. The dashboard has to allow the executive team to monitor their business and to quickly identify anything that needs attention. […]

    Pingback by Airline Executive Dashboard - Sparklines spark this excel dashboard to a data visualization contest win « The Dashboard Spy — September 12, 2006 @ 9:31 am

  8. Hello Dashboard Spy. I enjoy your blog about executive dashboards. It is good to see such information. I have been studying this topic for many months now and am glad to see so many examples. I will visit your site often.

    I was very interested in seeing your post about “KPI Requirements for Dashboard Projects – Using the KPI business scorecards”. Thank you for the information about this dashboard topic. There is a dashboard project at work about this subject.

    The business scorecards graphic is very nice. I like the colors and the questions are very interesting – What Question? Who’s Asking, Why is it Important, etc. I think it is very good. I also like the layout of the screen. I have a question about the boxes on the right side. Is the user supposed to type the answers to the questions into the boxes?

    Comment by saibaba — November 22, 2007 @ 1:50 am

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