Since last year, the focus of Financial Reporters have been on visualization of data and the speed with which the information can be delivered to the decision makers. Conventional methods of reporting commonly used in business today were printer focused, paper-based reports that are becoming redundant as fat as the technology is changing.
Stakeholders must make “on the go” decision on what to focus on, what to eliminate, when to enter a deal or seek help. Luxury of car mechanic to turn the engine off while overhauling is no more, due to lack of time it is becoming the world of surgeons who must make big changes and do overhauls while system keeps running at optimum levels.
Dashboards is the magic bullet, the medium that can provide all relevant data in one place in a visual format that separate out anomalies against targets. The dashboard contains all the information that is normally available in plethora hundreds of pages of report.
At the altitude of 30,000 feet the Dashboards can be grouped into 3 major types.
First kind is the operational dash boards that provides real time current tactical information on the status or performance of any business or function to boots on ground. Enabling them to view and make corrective decisions on the floor.
Second is the Strategic dashboards that are for the consumption of the Board members or Executive leadership and covers overall business level information. The focus for this type of dashboard are the KPIs of the business with insights into the related opportunities and issues.
Analytical dashboards are third kind and will allow the users to go from strategic to tactical levels using drilldowns and slicing of data. Only limits for this dashboard are the imagination of its designer or availability of relevant data. It not only tells you the speed or status of the business but can also allow the users to do forecasting, run simulations or what-if analysis.
Typical dashboards of all three types are currently may not be able to provide enough and deep insights based on two-dimensional data analysis. With continuously changing business environment and data, business KPI dashboards may be too rigid to meet the needs, as something else, totally unpredictable, could come in to play affecting the results. This calls for the application of AI analytics instead. AI analytics can use data to identify trends and provides correlations without any bias and in real time. AI analytics solution can identify relationships between different data matrices and more data means better analysis that allows to identify correlation, not just the typical information presented in operational or strategic dashboards. By considering the full picture, better decisions can be made to achieve success.
There are many players in the game of providing the users with technologies to design dashboards. Tableau, Microsoft PowerBI and Qliktech have been leading the area for last few years. Although similar in flexibility of connecting with data and quality of output, the differences appear to be in pricing structure and details.
Just taking the first step and starting to apply AI by planning and design of your business dashboards will include you in top few of the CFOs. As according to the Gartner, 46% of CIOs have developed plans to deploy AI but only 4% have deployed it so far.