Focus on Priorities with Desktop Dashboards

“A list of 90 Key Performance Indicators is a contradiction in terms.” insists Allan Wille, long-time Dashboard Spy contributor and President/CEO of Serence, the desktop dashboard company. He went on to explain that today’s business users are hard pressed to monitor what really matters (business progress) in a world where the most precious commodity seems to be attention. How can you even monitor 90 things, much less consider them each “key”?

Allan has just finished a nice write up that features sneak peeks at the desktops of different business users across an enterprise. As Allan explains about this fascinating study:

Here is another little article that I thought might make a cool discussion – before and after shots of user’s desktops around the idea of what they really should be paying attention to.

Here is Allan’s excellent article for you Dashboard Spy readers:

Are you focused on your priorities?

Allan Wille, Serence Inc.,
August 8, 2008

You have regular meetings to discuss performance. Every quarter, there’s a bigger meeting where the organization looks at its successes and failures and reevaluates its priorities.

How is progess measured between meetings? Maybe there’s a spreadsheet that you update when you have time or there are complex reports from an enterprise resource planning system. Do you look at them? Does it matter?

If the answer is yes, you belong to a select group of people that can overcome daily distrations to stay focused on the big picture. It’s too bad you spend so much time digging and analysing. In the time that remains you’re an informed and effective contributer to organizational goals.

But if you’re like the rest of us with competing demands that make focusing on KPIs difficult or impossible, this article is for you.

Obvious Priorities

Here is a snap shot of NORAD. Even if you don’t know what NORAD does, you can make an educated guess based on the image. This is because NORAD’s priorities, the USA, the former USSR, and the space between the two, are right in front of everyone. If something changes it would be difficult to miss.

Norad Dashboard Screens

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BAM – Business Activity Monitoring or Business Analysis & Monitoring Dashboards

Dashboard Design Topic: Helpdesk Dashboard

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”.

What is the difference between BAM dashboards and non-BAM dashboards? 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 www.nrgglobal.com 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 Dashboard, 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. Followup: Read this article on the state of the art of BAM dashboards.

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_ dashboardspy.com. 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.

Service Desk Dashboard – tracking support call KPIs for a helpdesk operation

Service Desk Dashboards: For the enterprise’s IT trouble-shooters, a service desk dashboard is likely one of the most valuable tools in their collection. Few teams in the enterprise suffer from more real-time urgency than the service desk which makes the need for an effective help desk dashboard more acute.

First we examine a typical help desk dashboard, then we have a quick glance at a desktop dashboard for service desk dashboard reporting.

This peek at a support desk KPI enterprise dashboard comes from a company running the HEAT service management suite to optimize its IT service functions. The IT group takes the performance data as input for this call data dashboard. KPIs include number of open calls, escalated calls, calls received today, percentage of annual daily average, closed calls, calls more than 3 weeks old and a statistic that I really like – calls not updated in the last 7 days. I feel that this statistic is important in terms of customer satisfaction. The client obviously wants fast action. As the open call ages, the satisfaction index would obviously decrease. The 7 day mark seems like a good spot for some “We’re working on it” contact.

helpdesk dashboard

Now we look at using the desktop area as a deployment platform for a service desk dashboard. Take a look at this help desk dashboard from Klipfolio. It actually works as a widget that resides on your desktop!

service desk dashboard

From the Klipfolio site:

Cut response times and increase customer satisfaction

Improve performance across the support department with real-time tracking and sharing of incidents, cases, and metrics. Frontline agents can make choices based on up-to-the-minute data. Management can shuffle resources to accommodate changing workloads – leveraging data from Parature, Remedy, Heat, and other systems. Resolve more problems in less time. Make a direct impact on customer satisfaction.

Put priorities front and center

Desktop dashboards put individually tailored KPIs on support-organization desktops. Key indicators are “top of mind” at all times. Individuals never lose sight of what they are accountable for and must act on. They can do more with less. Their actions are aligned with goals driven by carefully crafted strategies underlying the indicators in front of them. No more real-time data trapped in enterprise systems, in trouble-ticketing applications, or on big-boards, white boards, or flip charts. Priorities are front and center.

Helpdesk Dashboard

Homework: Study up on this subject with these books on help desk management.

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.

Vendor Compliance Scorecard – Enterprise Dashboard for Service Level Agreements

Dashboard Topic: SLA Compliance Dashboard, Helpdesk Dashboard.

Here we look at how one company tracks the performance of their vendors. First, a note about their vendor management philosophy in general. Upon establishing a relationship with a partner company, a service level agreement is reached and written into the contracts. There is a governance process to overseeing the vendor relationships that is taken quite seriously.  As the relationship matures, data collection and analysis is constantly done. The IT department (responsible for both this SLA Dashboard and the Helpdesk Dashboard) established an SLA Portal with this Vendor Compliance Scorecard as the main tool. The dashboard shown below brings up a real pet peeve of mine. I can’t stand unclear tab onstates. For example, take a look at the two tabs in this dashboard. One says Vendor Breach Summary for last Month and the other says Vendor Compliance. Can someone please tell me which is the on state? On dashboard after dashboard, I find unclear tabs. The top level tab line is clear. It is obvious that we are on the dashboard tab as the red on the tab continues directly under it to the horizontal bar. On the second level however, there is a white line that separates the tab from the bar. I would guess that the vendor compliance tab is on, however, it is not 100% clear to me.

Vendor Compliance Scorecard

Homework: Can we stop designing by accident and take a moment to study some basic principles of graphic design? Take a look right now at The Elements of Graphic Design: Space, Unity, Page Architecture, and Type. A great source of sample dashboard designs is this book: Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data.

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.

Support Process Dashboards – How the MIT helpdesk tracks client satisfaction through the First Contact support dashboard

Dashboard Example: Helpdesk Dashboard

Enterprise Dashboards are usually built by the IT department for a business unit to use in tracking their relevant metrics. It’s always interesting when we get to look at dashboards built by the IT folks for their own use. Here is a look at how the MIT information technology department uses a helpdesk dashboard to track how they are doing in terms of user support:

The user community at MIT is supported by the Information Services & Technology (IS&T) department. Back in 2002, they performed a study of the effectiveness of their IT services. Jointly with Stanford, they looked at the issues such as: “How are our IT investments performing? How can we use our IT systems to help manage ourselves better?” The first IT area selected for study was the IT Help Desk. The First Contact Dashboard was created and is still used today to monitor performance of MIT’s helpdesk support functions. As you can see from the enterprise dashboard screenshot, the primary measure is client satisfaction (an attribute that can be hard to quantify). At MIT, the individual components of client satisfaction are Availability, Communication, Resolution, Timeliness, Expertise and Professionalism. The KPIs are published on a weekly basis and distributed via pdf files. Available views include weekly, last six weeks, last three months, and last six months. Other miscellaneous statistics, typical of call centers and support operations, include calls, call length, abandonment rate, call wait times, cases, etc.

Support Process Enterprise Dashboard

Helpdesk KPI dashboard

Homework: Getting involved with call center or help desk management? Start with these books on help desk management. Note: Hey, Dashboard Spies!: Do you know how smart you are getting by reading The Dashboard Spy? From pig production to airplane crew size optimization to monitoring presidential campaigns, we’ve examined enterprise dashboards from all aspects of business. I’ll do my share to keep snooping around for those elusive dashboard screenshots that keep this dashboard screenshot collection interesting.

More Homework: Study this passage from Malik on the cost factors of enterprise dashboards and tell me what you think:

DASHBOARD COST FACTORS

Like any other software initiative, a dashboard deployment tends to take ona life of its own as part of the organizational infrastructure. So, it is impor-tant to get a clear perspective on the total cost of ownership for an extendedperiod. The following are the main cost factors that must be considered for asuccessful dashboard solution:

• Software cost

• Annual support cost

• Additional hardware cost

• Initial deployment cost

• User training cost

• Ongoing support personnel cost

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_ dashboardspy.com. 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.

Helpdesk Dashboard Screenshot – tracking SLA, open tickets, urgent tickets, trends

Dashboard Design Topic: Helpdesk Dashboard

The Remedy helpdesk system now uses dashboard displays (they branded their system as "Flashboards" – see http://www.remedy.com/solutions/coretech/flashboards.htm). Here is a dashboard screenshot of what a help desk manager would be interested in. Note the emphasis on open tickets – by priority, by department and by high/urgent status.

The second screenshot shows how a user flips the view. From the Remedy people on the term "flashboard" – "a visual management tool that allows you to create dashboards that graphically monitor business process performance in real-time. Flashboards automatically monitors critical business indicators and proactively alerts process owners to potential issues. Allows you to graphically monitor your key performance indicators (KPIs) through interactive charts and meters, and also allows you to drill-down into the details of a particular process to understand and review the underlying metrics.

Graphical displays highlight problem areas using color-coding to give you visual alerts that conditions are outside of acceptable ranges. Flashboard alerts can also help you to quickly and expertly re-deploy your resources to optimally resolve current issues and address potential problems."

Enterprise Dashboard Screenshot

Dashboard Screenshot

Help desk dashboards can take many different forms. Web-based dashboards such as these are typical but there are also desktop dashboards that are appearing that specialize in the help desk area. A good helpdesk dashboard should help its users spot, process, and preempt trouble tickets that could otherwise turn into call storms. This can be very successfully accomplished via a desktop dashboard. Think of a desktop dashboard as a “permanent part” of your desktop. It’s a app that acts like a gadget or widget that appears on your desktop when you log in. Simply booting up your machine brings you in contact with your help desk metrics.

Tags: Helpdesk Dashboard, Help Desk Metrics and KPIs

Related Dashboard Example:

Service Level Administration Dashboard from IBM

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_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy's favorite dashboard videos.

Video/Audio Streaming Executive Dashboard – monitors traffic, ratings, viewing habits

Sometimes a helpdesk dashboard takes the form of metrics that are presented directly to the user community. Service level reporting can be a difficult task for the help desk to perform. An automated approach such as a dashboard makes it possible.

The dashboard discussed at http://www.vitalstream.com/macromedia/reporting-dashboard.html provides monitoring of video and audio streams. Agencies would be interested in seeing the performance metrics of their hosted assets. Metrics include network status, file storage, bandwidth, keynote streaming perspective, top 10 files, traffic by geography, flash player version, concurrent viewers, etc. The user can also preview the stream. This is a great way to monitor in real time the efficacy of a marketing event. Think superbowl commercial.

Business Intelligence Dashboard

Do you like what you find on the Dashboard Spy blog? Keep this collection of executive dashboard screenshots going by submitting your screenshots to info aaaatt enterprise-dashboard.com

Also, help this blog grow by linking to this resource from your blog or web site.

Call Center Dashboard – Agent scorecard for talk time, calls answered, hold time, escalations

Dashboard Sample: Help Desk Dashboard. Here is an call center dashboard from 2001 that stills looks fresh (except for the clip-art style traffic lights). This series of dashboard screenshots go from a high-level look at summary statistics on call metrics and escalations, to advanced multi-dimensional reporting. The last screen gives a peek at the administration aspects of configuring reporting run times. Note the left side links to other sites – too prominent to my taste. Anyway, these enterprise dashboard screenshots are from http://www.symmetrics.net/resources/html/newsletters/crystal-sccs/oct01/10-01_newsletter_Symp.htm.

Scorecard Screenshot

Digital Dashboard Screenshot

Enterprise Dashboard Screenshot

Executive Dashboard Screenshot

Dashboarding Screenshot

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_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy's favorite books.

The EDS Service Excellence Client Dashboard

Business Intelligence Dashboard Topic of the Day: Service Desk (Help Desk) Dashboards

When one thinks of a typical service desk dashboard or helpdesk dashboard, one imagines a helpdesk manager poring over the service level metrics. Yes, it’s true that most service level dashboards are used by the people providing the service. But what about exposing dashboard metrics to those USING the service?

IT services giant, EDS, offers transparency to their client base by publishing a weekly service quality number. It serves as both a Quality of Service metrics as well as a great marketing tool. They survey executives at their 900 clients. As explained at http://www.eds.com/services/excellence/, “We use this Web-enabled, real-time information system to ensure that the quality of services we deliver to 900 clients is known at all times – even at the highest levels of the corporation. Our stoplight, red-yellow-green scoring is simple to understand and consistently used across the globe. By using a private, customized view of the dashboard – the Service Excellence Client Dashboard – clients can check on their status and provide real-time feedback to EDS support teams directly from their desktops. Plus, they can initiate a survey process whenever they wish and invite any participants they feel deserve a vote on EDS’ performance rating.”

Service Excellence Client Dashboard 

For more information on service desk dashboards presented in a novel, attention-getting manner, see 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 business dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books 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 to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy’s favorite books.