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Delivering the right information to the right manager is not an easy task considering the need for diverse information within an enterprise. Managers need information targeted to their functional areas. An IT operations manager needs availability and performance data on servers, while a sales manager needs to know that orders can be processed efficiently, especially during peak order periods toward the end of each quarter. Requirements vary, even within functions, based on the manager’s level and role. The higher the management level, the wider the field of view.



Executive dashboards deliver tailored information in a timely manner and in a format that enables quick insight. These powerful tools aggregate and consolidate atomic data into higher-level information on particular business services, such as online order entry or credit application processing. They convert consolidated data into actionable information. They correlate consolidated data across IT processes such as incident, problem, change, and service level management to support senior managers whose responsibilities span multiple processes. Most important of all, they facilitate the management of IT from a business perspective, known as Business Service Management, which is critical today because of the growing reliance on technology to ensure smooth-running business processes.

Because of the value dashboards deliver, most companies are no longer wondering if they need them. Instead, they are looking for the best way to implement dashboards. Our experience shows that the best approach is an incremental one that starts with IT managers and then expands to support business managers.

Start with IT

The first step in deploying executive dashboards in an enterprise is to roll out the solution in IT. The IT staff comes up to speed on deploying and using dashboards before extending their use to the business audience. It also helps educate IT on the needs of the business, which enables IT managers to communicate more effectively with business managers and do a better job of tailoring dashboards for business people. The rollout in IT involves four key activities:

  • Collecting and consolidating the data. The data is typically scattered across multiple applications and data stores. IT service management applications maintain data on incident, problem, change, release, configuration, and service level management processes. In contrast, asset management applications maintain data on asset configurations, owners, locations, physical and logical topologies, costs, and associated contracts (such as lease, support, and maintenance). The dashboard solution must aggregate and correlate the data from all these sources for presentation in a single view.
  • Making the data actionable. The dashboard must transform the consolidated data into metrics that are appropriate to, meaningful to, and actionable by IT managers. The right key performance indicators (KPIs) must be established to achieve this. That means determining what to measure, how to measure it, and how to communicate it. Presenting actionable information in a composite view that spans multiple processes permits integrated management across disciplines and operational silos.
  • Relating IT to business services. Service impact modeling solutions map relationships between the IT infrastructure and the business. Executive dashboards can leverage this mapping to help IT managers understand how IT supports business services. By monitoring process-centric and cross-functional KPIs that affect the business, IT managers can more closely align IT with business objectives.
  • Targeting information based on role. Information needs differ, depending on role and management level. The dashboard system must accommodate this need by allowing the creation of personalized views that are appropriate to each manager’s role and level within the management hierarchy. That means the right field of view, the right metrics, and right level of detail.

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