Just a quick post for today. It’s been a super busy week with stops in Barcelona, Munich and London. While sitting in the lounge in Munich, I was delighted to see that the IBM Cognos MobileiPad app had been approved for the Apple iTunes store. A perfect opportunity to download it and test the offline capabilities at 33000ft cruising altitude. (I cannot wait to take the the app online this weekend!)
CLEAN AND SIMPLE
Once our plane had taken off, I pulled out my iPad and launched the app. European flights do not have WIFI, yet. But the app does support offline content. And so I was sitting there in seat 5D somewhere above Frankfurt and was able to test some of the dashboards and reports. Being able to work offline is a huge advantage, from my point of view. I have personally encountered so many situations where the wireless network was either poor or simply not accessible. But back to the Cognos app: The initial impression is excellent. The interface is nice and clean. It does not take any time at all to get up and running. Navigation is intuitive and all the usual finger movements (swiping, pointing etc.) work flawlessly.
Dashboarding remains one of the most important topics in the Business Analytics area. Most of my clients are actively working on deploying them. Back in January dashboarding was one of the key topics at the Gartner BI Summit. The broad interest in our dashboarding workshops further shows just how important this topic is for companies.
Business Analytics basically allows us to make better business decisions by providing answers to three key questions:
How am I doing?
Why is that so?
What should I be doing?
Dashboards do a fine job with answering the first question: You quickly assess the current situation, you identify potential opportunities and risks. But to do that effectively, dashboards need to be designed in the proper way:
They require the right mix of information
The information needs to be displayed in a manner that effectively delivers the story
The technology needs to support proper interaction so that the next two questions can be answered.
Last week, Google+ recommended an excellent blog post by Mike Duncan from the business advisory firm Bizzeness. Mike provides some simple but very effective thoughts about dashboards. I highly recommend reading his short post. There are some great ideas in there that can help you articulate the purpose and value of a dashboard to a broader audience.
Mike and I ended up discussing his post via Twitter and email. I am very happy that he has agreed write two guest posts on this blog (Performance Ideas) next week. The articles will focus on interacting with dashboards, selecting proper KPIs and avoiding some common problems. Make sure to check in on Tuesday of next week or simply subscribe to Performance Ideas via RSS feed or email.
A few months ago, I sat right next to a guy on a plane. Once we were up in the air, he pulled out a big stack of paper reports. He equipped himself with a ruler, a marker, a pencil and a calculator. All that on the tiny fold-down table in economy class. Didn’t look like fun. But to be fair, most planes still do not offer WIFI and we still have to get our work done. So, what is the alternative to paper reports? PDF is ok, but it is impossible to interact with the data. Excel is ok, too. But Excel is not secure and potentially too complicated. And none of these options are suited for building effective management dashboards.
Greetings from Moscow! We just finished an incredible IBM Cognos Performance event. Over 450 customers spent the day to discuss the latest news in Business Analytics. It was a busy day for me up on stage: keynote presentation, two technical sessions and a press conference.
Before I start repacking my bags for the next trip on Sunday, I wanted to share one interesting fact with you. The biggest discussion topic on Moscow was Collaboration. Facebook and Twitter have changed the way we communicate. Email did that about 20 years ago. People are now demanding the ability to collaborate and communicate in business just like we do in our personal lives. More about that in a few weeks. Off to Tel Aviv, Vienna and Madrid this week. Hope to see you there!