The Dashboard Spy

November 20, 2006

Dashboard Spy Now Posting Hard to Find Articles on Executive Dashboards

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 10:14 am

Hello Dashboard Spy readers. Just a reminder that the new enterprise dashboard design and screenshot blog is now located at One of the new features is the posting of informative articles found during research on executive dashboards. Hard-to-find reference material (from sources like lexis/nexis and factiva) will be clipped and posted to provide the dashboard community a leg up in their research efforts.

We start with a recent article on how human resource departments are making use of enterprise dashboards to track KPIs.

November 6, 2006

New Blog URL for The Dashboard Spy – New address for even better business intelligence dashboards

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 12:37 pm

Exciting news for The Dashboard Spy blog readers: There’s a new URL for The Dashboard Spy blog. Please update your links:



Reason: The Dashboard Spy blog about business intelligence dashboards has grown beyond all expectations. It’s time for its own dedicated domain and web hosting arrangement. Plenty of readers have been asking for additional functionality and types of content. We aim to please, so keep an eye out for lots of new and exciting content related to executive dashboards, enterprise dashboards, balanced scorecards, performance metrics and more!

Also, dashboard service providers and tool vendors have asked for advertising opportunities, so if you are interested in reaching this tightly focused readership, drop an email to info at.

Do join me at the new URL [ ]. We start off with a very special dashboard used in operating rooms. We’ve got real pictures of an operation in progress so watch out for the blood and gore typical of enterprise dashboard implementations.

Your friend in dashboarding, The Dashboard Spy.

Tags: Business Intelligence Dashboards, Enterprise Dashboard Blog 

UPDATE FOR DASHBOARD SPY READERS: There aren’t many enterprise dashboard books out there, so when a new one comes out, it’s big news. Here’s something for you financial analyst types out there: Performance Dashboards and Analysis for Value Creation (Wiley Finance). I’ll be checking it out, but it looks like a real practioner’s read. The author proposes a methodology for increasing value called the Value Performance Framework. There is a companion CD with Excel models and sample performance dashboards.

See you at the new url.

November 3, 2006

Building Award Winning Enterprise Dashboards – Nice documentation of building an SAP Analytics dashboard with a FLEX frontend

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 5:28 am

What is valuable for us Dashboard Spies when we look at today’s award-winning enterprise dashboard example is not what airline industry KPIs are shown, the integration of a document viewer, or even the fact that an award was won, but that the implementation team created a nice document explaining their process. Although the project pdf is really a sales support document, it has great design and implementation value and we should all flip through the 28 pages. Several dashboards are shown as well as closeups of various tables. The dashboard is an SAP Analytics dashboard created by CubeServ AG at a show in 2005. Here I show a dashboard screenshot:

KPI Dashboard Executive View

Assignment: Are you OK with the content in my blog? From excel dashboards and custom-built business scorecards, to xcelsius and flex-based visualizations, the dashboard screenshots are intended to educate by example both what to do and what not to do on the design of a business intelligence dashboard. It is intended that these hits and misses both enlighten and entertain. Technology-neutral, and always business-driven, the Dashboard Spy website is the place to go to learn about the latest enterprise dashboard packages. Check out the Dashboard Spy’s latest recommended book, Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data.

Thanks to the astute Dashboard Spy reader who found a slight error in the documentation. See the comments of this post.

November 2, 2006

Business Analysis & Monitoring Dashboards – BAM – Rolling up application KPIs for a system status dashboard

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 8:42 am

BAM!! Let’s kick up business dashboards a notch! No, this is not the Emeril show, it’s the Dashbaord Spy on BAM Dashboards. Traditionally, the “A” in BAM stands for “Activity”.  Gartner, who coined the term, says it stands for Business Activity Monitoring. I happen to like that definition best. However, there seem to be other variants out there including what the creator of these dashboards call “Business Analysis & Monitoring”.

Here is an interesting comparison between BI dashboards and BAM dashboards as written by someone on wikipedia:

The term refers to the aggregation, analysis, and presentation of real time information about activities inside organizations and involving customers and partners. Although BAM systems usually use a computer dashboard display to present data, BAM is distinct from the dashboards used by Business Intelligence (BI) in that it has three distinct characteristics not found in BI tools:

  1. BAM systems are driven by business events, fed directly from integration software or from Business Process Management most software applications and do not query databases; some companies, like Syndera can read DB logs directly.
  2. BAM systems are real time where data displayed is not dependent upon a user refreshing a query or a query scheduler;
  3. BAM systems are process oriented.

The goals of Business Activity Monitoring are to provide real time information about the status and results of various operations, processes, and transactions so business decisions can be informed, quickly address problem areas, and re-position organizations to take full advantage of emerging opportunities.

Typically BAM software is capable of, for example, providing real time visibility into how business events such as orders, process queues, network failures, database overloads, etc.) affect the progress of business transactions, permitting real-time business decisions in response to system events – e.g., rescheduling business process instances that have stalled as a result of a credit reporting service slowdown, automate real-time notification of violation or pending violation of business-level policies, and provide statistics on business process performance.

Isn’t that a great piece of writing? Anyway, back to our BAM dashboard example. Below we look at a couple of dashboards from that show the status of the business systems powering various business functions. These screenshots show the challenge of how to roll up the various KPI levels. The first screenshot shows simply the CRM, HelpDesk, ECommerce, Email and Financials applications.

BAM Dashboard Business Function Level

The next BAM dashboard screenshot drills down and reveals the KPIs of the constituent systems that make up the beforementioned applications. The big red/green/yellow indicator lights are kind of cute, but I think overwhelming. Too much real estate taken up for my tastes.

BAM System KPI Dashboard

If you drill down into the applications, you get a display like this one for the HelpDesk application dashboard:

BAM helpdesk

If you continue to drill down and produce a report, it looks like this dashboard screenshot:

BAM graph

There is another option that lets you view status by servers. This consolidated server panel makes much better use of real estate than the big light approach before that I didn’t like.

Consolidated Server KPI dashboard view

Homework: It is difficult to buy books about BAM. The closest way is to do what I did and have Amazon show me Books that contain the phrase Business Activity Monitoring.

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 nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ Also check out The Dashboard Spy’s favorite books on business dashboards.

PS: If you find yourself part of an enterprise dashboard effort, you must study Enterprise Dashboards: Design and Best Practices for IT, the only book on actually implementing enterprise dashboards.

November 1, 2006

Threat Management Dashboards – Tracking your security risks enterprise dashboard style

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 4:30 am

Security threat management is a big field for enterprise dashboard-style user interface presentation. Here we take a look at a management dashboard from a security portal thats takes a true “At-a-glance” approach to the most significant threat possibilities facing an enterprise’s computer networks. Many of the dashboard’s “portlets” are graphically based. The text-based ones all contain drill-down links to the relevant details. Security threat metrics include: incident and exposure trends, top monitored security events, incident to event ratios, top targeted hosts, top vulnerable applications, top scan exposures, security intelligence trends (reports of threats in the wild), etc.

Security Threat Enterprise Dashboard

Homework: It’s easier to defend the fortress from outsiders and much harder to contains threats from within. Take a look at Enemy at the Water Cooler: Real-Life Stories of Insider Threats and Enterprise Security Management Countermeasures.

So who is the Dashboard Spy? No one really knows, but his growing collection of enterprise dashboard screenshots has captured the imagination of the executive dashboarding community. From excel dashboards and custom-built business scorecards, to xcelsius and flex-based visualizations, the dashboard screenshots at serve both as nuggets of inspiration and warnings of what not to do on an enterprise dashboard. These hits and misses will enlighten and entertain. Technology-neutral, and always business-driven, the Dashboard Spy website is the place to go to learn about the latest enterprise dashboard packages. Check out the Dashboard Spy’s latest recommended book, Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data

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