As performance dashboards became easier to develop and less expensive to deploy they became a popular method of information sharing in every industry sector. Many financial and IT execs saw the dashboard as an elegant and efficient replacement for the “daily/weekly/monthly spreadsheet” that for decades had served as a reliable, inexpensive and portable management reporting tool.

But report users (and authors) quickly realized that the design flexibility and number-crunching
a capability of Excel was not easily replicated in the dashboard environment
and that the high-level aggregation of dashboard data often forced too much information
into many slow-loading screens. As a result, non-expert dashboard users became
easily lost in the data or—more importantly—failed to garner any insight at all.
Top executives have traditionally relied on highly screened and carefully analyzed data
to guide them in key decisions and day-to-day management. Off-the-shelf dashboards
lack a “smart layer” of data preparation and computational capability to provide these
essential requirements and consequently have been unsuccessful in the C-suite and
are quickly evolving into a line-of-business resource instead of the executive tool they
were frequently envisioned as.

It’s ironic that at a time when data is “Big” and plentiful, social media is influencing
huge strategic initiatives and more tablets than laptops can be seen in use at airline
club lounges, that most executives are relying on a manually-prepared spreadsheet
or are completely in the dark about what happened yesterday at their company—and
what’s likely to happen tomorrow.

AVS has been charged with solving this dashboard dilemma for several high-profile companies
in the fields of consumer products, advertising and financial services.

Our conclusions suggest that the answer to next-generation executive insight lies in the ability to:
• Extract data from existing internal systems and a fast-growing universe of
high-quality external resources;
• Validate, integrate and analyze the data using advanced analytics;
• Utilize creative and highly-annotated computer graphics to intuitively reveal
trends, correlations and business impact that is elusive in dashboards that are
unsophisticated in their graphics capability; and
• Publish the results in secure, easy-to-use snapshots that are identical on both
the desktop and the mobile tablet.

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