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Executive Dashboards Vs. Actionable Business Intelligence: Where’s the Wow?

Over the course of my career, I’ve had the chance to build executive dashboards for IT directors in many different companies. These dashboards were meticulously designed with beautiful dials and graphs, and I would often see them prominently displayed in the operations center or on company info boards in the lobby.


By Mike Storey

The problem was that they weren’t useful. 

When I asked employees how the dashboards were used, they would universally tell me that they didn’t need the information. Even worse, they sometimes intentionally set thresholds to keep information off the dashboard. Rather than helping, these dashboards were influencing behavior in a harmful way. Some of those employees even joked that we could have built the dashboard as a static jpg and saved a lot of money. 

What was going on in those companies? Why wasn’t all of our hard work to design an elegant, informative dashboard paying off? 

It’s because they were missing a key ingredient.

Why Executive Dashboards Aren’t Giving You the Intelligence You Need

In Design Thinking, we state requirements as User Experience Hills using the Who-What-Wow formula:

  • Who – Who are the users?
  • What – What do the users do to interact with the system (what is their ...