The Limitations of Dashboards
By Pam Ashlund
I first heard the concept of an electronic dashboard introduced in March 24, 1999. There it was, within the 496 pages of Bill Gates’ book Business at the Speed of Thought. It was so exciting to me that I ran back to the office determined to implement. I attended a Microsoft’s Dashboard training and found out that I was sold on an idea that didn’t technically exist. The back-end programming was available, but there wasn’t a commercial product; there wasn’t even a commercial engine to customize. So I waited.
It was 2001, with this visionary Dashboard in mind, that I converted from Fundware to Financial Edge. There were other features that met our conversion requirements, but it was the promise of the Dashboard feature that was number one (two and three were: Integrating FE and RE; and Integrated Assets Software).
But when we launched, there was a problem. An electronic dashboard may be live, but accounting isn’t—it’s accrued after the fact. Maybe 10 days after, maybe 15, maybe more. Until the monthly close, what does the data mean? And if you have to wait for the close, then what kind of early information does your dashboard give you?
After two years of dreaming, the reality was flat. Clever graphics, not a finger on the pulse.
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