Your organisation deserves a good dashboard (and here’s why)

Cars cost a lot of money, and when a driver gets behind the wheel, they want to know that every component is working correctly. It can mean the difference between life and death—not to mention getting to your destination on time! For this reason, vehicle dashboards are painstakingly designed to be simple yet functional, so that virtually anyone can understand them at a glance.

In a similar vein, how much investment was involved in building up your organisation and its IT infrastructure—and let's not forget ongoing maintenance! The cost of system failure can mean life or death for your business, missing destinations and deadlines. In some sectors, such as health or search and rescue, it can even lead to injury or loss of life. With the consequences of lost visibility in mind, take a look at your organisation's dashboards (if they exist!). Ask yourself—are they as easy to understand as the dashboard of a car?

Most organisations would reply 'no' to that question. All too often, dashboards exist because the organisation's monitoring solution provided one out-of-the-box.  That's fine if your intended audience is all technically inclined, and understand what it means when there is a 'memory bottleneck' or the 'committed memory in use is too high'. These alerts, however, might mean nothing to upper management or the executive team, who are directly responsible for approving your team's budget. Action needs to be taken to translate the information, so that it is accessible to all your key decision-makers. So what are the first steps?

Here are three initial items to consider:

  1. Context is everything! Without context, your executive team may not understand the impact of an under-resourced ESX server that's beginning to fail. If, however, your dashboard were to show that the ESX server happens to host the core income stream systems for the organisation, you may have their attention (and funding).
  2. Visualise the data! Approximately 60% of the world population are visual thinkers, so your dashboard should be visually designed.  Find a way to visualise your data. Show the relationships and dependencies between systems. Oh, and "death to pie charts!".
  3. Invest the time and effort! Find your creative spark, and brainstorm as a team. A well-designed dashboard will pay on-going dividends with every incident managed, or business case written. Make sure you allot time to prove your work against SLAs.

If you need help with dashboard development or design, give JDS a call on 1300 780 432 and speak with one of our friendly consultants.

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