One of the easiest ways to create a slick dashboard is to use Crystal Xcelsius to portray your data, and the relationships between your data, in an interactive flash movie. The output is an swf file that you can put on the web or stick into powerpoint, email or a word document. We’ve looked at a range of examples before and continue our tour of different implementations with this look at a Financial Dashboard demo from analysisfactory.com. Previous examples from a multitude of sources have focused on what-if analysis functionality where you use sliders and dials to change parameters to see how that effects the totals. This example is much more of a read-only view where Crystal Xcelsius is used to display data in a usable fashion. Drop downs and tabs are the main navigation features. Visit the demo to experience the interface, but here are some dashboard screenshots for you to study. The main idea of the interface is that the line items in the table on the left can be visualized on the right side. When you click on a row, its corresponding chart appears on the right side of the dashboard. Below the chart are any notes that accompany the KPI.
Homework: What is Xcelsius? In a nutshell, it is a tool for the business user to front end an excel spreadsheet with an interactive flash movie. It’s totally drag and drop and produces a very slick interface. My favorite intro to Xcelsius continues to be the Crystal Xcelsius For Dummies book. And if you haven’t tried Business Object’s Crystal Xcelsius yet, go ahead and download the trial. I had some trouble running it on one of my machines, but it really works well on several others. The latest version has greatly appreciated UI improvments such as being able to embed any graphic image into the interface.
Note: You can easily embed dashboard interfaces into your corporate software offerings via embedded dashboards (OEM Dashboards) such as those from Klipfolio. Check them out at klipfolio.com
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_ dashboardspy.com. 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.