The Five “Unorthodox Principles for Dashboard Success”

Over the past several years, in my time at SAP BusinessObjects and more recently with Antivia, I’ve been privileged to witness many dashboard projects at many different organizations around the world. Looking back on these, I realized that aside from the mainstream Business Intelligence principles which most people talk about (e.g. involve the business users, make sure you have a high level sponsor, data quality matters, etc., etc.), there are also some rather less orthodox principles which help to deliver business benefit through dashboards.

These five “unorthodox principles for dashboard success” are :

  1. Definitions don’t always help
  2. Visuals matter
  3. Users always want more
  4. Beware of end-users and large data sets
  5. Knowing is nothing, doing is everything

And, they are explained in detail in a new Antivia eBook (registration required).

Together, the 5 principles provide a bit of a sideways look at the world of dashboards, and although they might seem a little tongue in cheek at times, each principle contains advice that I believe will genuinely help you to deliver dashboards more successfully and more valuably across your organization.

Donald MacCormick is the Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Antivia, an SAP® software solution partner, and creator of XWIS the Xcelsius-to-SAP BusinessObjects connectivity solution. In past years, he was a long term member of BusinessObjects and Crystal, and part of the team that brought Xcelsius into the BusinessObjects portfolio.

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5 Responses to “The Five “Unorthodox Principles for Dashboard Success””

  1. Matthew Y says:

    I loved this ebook. I think it bridges the gap between a ‘Stephen Few’ view of the world, and those over the top dashboards that seem to spend more time impressing than giving direction and answers. You can tell it’s based on a lot of pratical experience, and the reality of how people interact with these ‘dashboards’. I still think many of Stephen Few’s concepts hold true, and we try to use these, but agree that sometimes being to rigid on these principles gets in the way of user engagement.

  2. Thanks for the feedback Matthew, I am glad you found it useful.

    You hit the nail on the head, it is not Stephen’s concepts which I disagree with, most or all of them hold true, as you would expect given their research-based background. What I have seen to get in the way is their dogmatic application in the real world . It is all about being effective rather than being right, but that is a whole new post :-)

  3. Ladi Omole says:

    So, the message to Steve (Stephen Few) is clear – “Beautiful visual does matter” and Xcelsius is the best flexible tool out there for creative visualization?

  4. Kumar says:

    Great analysis! Very practical suggestions every dashboard developer / project should keep in mind!

  5. Kumar, thanks for the feedback glad you likes it.

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