You Don't Have to Choose Between Analytics and Dashboards

    January 6, 2016

    By John Miecielica

    Many see cutting edge technologies like diagnostic analytics as an alternative to tried-and-true tools like business value dashboards (BVDs). The truth, though, is that an ideal strategy combines both tools.

    The popularity of analytics and big data mining technology has surged, but one business intelligence tool continues to be the top dog in terms of investment dollars. A majority of executives cited business value dashboards (BVDs) as the top tech priority in 2015, according to the Dresner 2015 Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study. Data mining and algorithm development ranked a full seven spots behind BVDs, and big data was only the 18th most prized technology.

    This phenomenon could very well be due to the fact that dashboards offer a value to executives that’s easy to conceptualize and comprehend after all, it’s much easier to invest in something in which you recognize the value. Despite the fact that analytics are driving the future of business, as dun&bradstreet notes, executives and IT leaders find it hard to justify BI spends on prospective technology when more immediate tech needs exist a void BVDs frequently fill.

    There’s no debate that both analytics and BVDs lend extraordinary power to those in the C-suite, but the need to decide between one or the other is mostly imaginary. Thanks to recent service combinations, both BI imperatives can be acquired in one seamless, budget-friendly investment.

    Differences of Degree

    BVDs have become essential because they, as Ed Burns at TechTarget notes, “tell management teams how their organizations are doing at a given time.” Any member of an organization can quickly scan summarized business metrics via intuitive visualizations and cherry-picked number spreads, providing real-time, critical feedback and obvious solutions to tricky problems.

    That kind of clarity obviously appeals to business leaders, who must contend with increasingly confounding IT operations and infrastructure. As information becomes more manageable, strategies can be more agile and the impact of digital initiatives like apps can be easily tracked. In short, BVDs have a clear ROI.

    But BVDs are necessarily limited by the quality of data you can provide IT is complex, and if you don’t know what you’re measuring, you’re probably not getting a good sense of how well it’s performing. This is why these visualization tools work best when running in concert with advanced analytics and prescriptive algorithms because the latter reveal which data is important, and why.

    Higher Clarity

    Where BVDs provide insight into the metrics you assign, analytics sift through the morass of a modern IT system to show you where your greatest vulnerabilities and opportunities for improvement lie. This is essential in developing a metrics management strategy, a plan for measuring the factors across your organization so that progress can be properly gauged.

    For instance, it’s easy to track your IT spend, but it’s quite another matter to figure out where to most efficiently consolidate servers and divert resources to other projects. It’s even more difficult to determine the potential future cost of downtime and plan your IT spend accordingly.

    So, while BVDs help to tweak strategy in the short term, analytics let companies solve IT problems and avoid bottlenecks years in advance. That’s not an exaggeration — using predictive analytics, companies can input hypothetical conditions to play out “what if” scenarios, determining the most profitable of many possible strategies.

    But BVDs play an essential role here, too they now project critical data with the unparalleled accuracy and confidence that only strong, automated analytics can provide. As a result, business leaders can understand the true costs of IT and respond intelligently.

    Synergies Are a Blessing

    With TeamQuest’s recent acquisition of PureShare, two powerful tools are now under one roof. Combining best-in-class analytics with an industry leading Business Value Dashboard, the suite of products provide unrivaled transparency into the cost of business.

    Rather than choose between two essential technologies, business leaders can now grapple with the changing digital landscape with one worthwhile investment.

    (Main image credit: Hillary/flickr)