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Purpose Of A Dashboard

The purpose of a dashboard in IT is to typically provide a one-pager on the state of things, similar to your dashboard on your car.  On your car you can quickly see the gas, the temperature, and the speed.  Does it show everything about your car, like tire pressure and brake fluid levels?  Most likely not, but it may show them if they become necessary to know.  The dashboard is kept to a clean and simple "must-know" information, unless some other flag should pop up as critical.

Quick Must-Know Facts

So, if you are the CIO of a company what would the "must-know" quick facts that you would require on your dashboard?  Of course, the answer here will vary from CIO to CIO; but, there should be some general consensus on what the key items are.  If I were to throw out some quick key items that I would want on my dashboard if I was a CIO there would be four items.

The first item would knowledge of the network and WIFI status.  Is the network up and the WIFI up across my office(s)?  Are the speeds OK on those networks.  The second item I would want to know are how many critical help desk tickets do we have in the system and what the top three critical items are.  The third item would be what staff do I have on-hand today, who is off, and any sub-contractors that have contracts coming up for renewal.  The fourth, and final item, that I would want to know is if I have any software licenses coming up for renewal.

Future Direction

CRM has the ability to provide a dashboard that would meet all the items listed in the previous section of this blog article with some configuration, but what is the future direction of dashboards?  The first thing I would like to see in CRM dashboards is better use of graphics.  Not simply graphs, but graphics similar to what you would find in a car dashboard like an oil can picture or a gas tank image.  The other direction that dashboards should offer is a quick method to flip between various dashboards.  Dashboard generally exist for each role or grouping of job functions within an organization.  The drop-down list view of various dashboards is not intuitive enough or a quick enough method to flip between dashboards.  The final thought is that I would like dashboards that can hide and show dashboard elements based on some sort of criteria.  For example, the oil can only shows on your car dash if their is low oil in your vehicle.  An example of that in CRM might be only showing upcoming software licenses if they are coming up for renewal, otherwise it should completely hide any mention of software licenses on the dashboard.

Is your dashboard letting you manage effectively?