Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Dashboards as a Mgt Tool

Businessweek on dashboards:

“The dashboard is the CEO's killer app, making the gritty details of a business that are often buried deep within a large organization accessible at a glance to senior executives. So powerful are the programs that they're beginning to change the nature of management, from an intuitive art into more of a science. Managers can see key changes in their businesses almost instantaneously -- when salespeople falter or quality slides -- and take quick, corrective action. At Verizon, Seidenberg and other executives can choose from among 300 metrics to put on their dashboards, from broadband sales to wireless subscriber defections.
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Still, dashboards have drawn some flak. Critics say CEOs can miss the big picture if they're glued to their computer screens. Other critics fear dashboards are an alluring but destructive force, the latest incarnation of Big Brother. The concern is that companies will use the technology to invade the privacy of workers and wield it as a whip to keep them in line. Even managers who use dashboards admit the tools can raise pressure on employees, create divisions in the office, and lead workers to hoard information.
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Still, most management experts think the rewards are well worth the risks. They caution that executives should roll out the systems slowly and avoid highlighting individual performance, at least at first. They also underscore the need for business leaders to spend time up-front figuring out which metrics are the most useful to track. But that's a question of how to use the technology, not whether to implement it.”

IMHO: the most important line in the above is “spend time up-front figuring out which metrics are the most useful to track”. The decisions you make depend on the quality of the measures you choose. If you are choosing metrics which objectively display the various facets of your business, dashboards will work. They will bring transparency, accountability and objectivity to the decision making. But the downside is that if the incorrect metrics are chosen, it will hurt just as much. Risk & Rewards—works every time!!!

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