Access and Feeds

Analytics: ‘Dashboard Backlog’ Causes Analytics to Evolve

By Dick Weisinger

Dashboards have become the defacto way for analytics apps to present data. The style is crisp and designed to be easy to use. The problem is that dashboards aren’t able to keep up with the pace of types of information that businesses are collecting or capable of drilling down to answer questions that businesses are looking to answer. Dashboards aren’t useless, but they are limited and no longer the only way for interpreting data.

A large number of people have grown to dislike dashboards. There is even a website

Instead of Dashboards, Gartner now promotes the use of ‘data storytelling’. Gartner says that “creating a compelling narrative around data visualization increases the adoption and usefulness of data to an audience and will drive its widespread use.”

Cindi Howson, Chief Data Strategy Officer at ThoughtSpot, told InformationWeek that “there is a new pace of business change and new types questions that organizations have. Questions that aren’t on any dashboard. The process of creating a dashboard can take weeks or months, and you have to throw more bodies at it. Every customer I talk to talks about the dashboard backlog.”

Marius Moscovici, CEO at Metric Insights, wrote in a piece for that “there is simply too much data for businesspeople to know what matters most, and in which context. It’s not as simple as looking at the dashboard of your car, seeing that you’re running out of fuel and finding a gas station. Executives can glance at dashboards all day long and still not know which important changes are taking place now. Dashboards don’t integrate real-time unstructured data, like tweets, nor do they scan for every possible context. The information they provide is always incomplete.”

Howson said that “now, rather than asking ‘Can you create this report,’ business people can say ‘Look at this data and help me understand what it is telling me. That’s much more of a business conversation and it is understanding the why and the what-to-do-about-it rather than just a data dump.”

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