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					                                                                                                                                                                  out of the box



DIGITAL DASHBOARD TECHNOLOGY —
VISUALIZE THE POSSIBILITIES
RAOUL FARCOT, Cipher Systems and TERRY KADES, Strategic Feasibilities, Inc.

     What gets measured gets done.                 aggregation of data from disparate                  different data types and information
This is one of the oldest and truest               sources and, in some cases, the                     formats from various sources. They give
sayings in management.                             categorization or indexing of that                  executives, managers, analysts, and the
     There are many metrics that                   information. Further, some packages                 investing public a more accurate
organizations can and do monitor.                  support the workflow inherent in the                picture of important data, more
Every department, business unit,                   intelligence process. Very few, include a           quickly. By displaying a complete
corporate office, government agency,               strong data visualization component to              unbiased accounting of the facts, legal
and other institutions have goals to               help CI professionals manage ongoing                compliance is met, greater
achieve and progress to mark.                      work and measure the effectiveness of               understanding occurs, and share prices
Measurement against goals is done                  everyday competitive intelligence                   tend to reflect a well-run company.
according to need and at varying                   assignments.                                             Traditional dashboards mimic the
frequencies. If they are accurate, regular              This is changing as the digital                dials you’d expect in a cockpit. They
measurement against goals, targets, and dashboard technology evolves. It is                            give you a single view into many aspects
strategies ensure that management can              important to understand this                        of the operations of an organization at a
take timely action.                                technology and its potential within                 glance. Together multiple dials can
     Traditionally, many hours are spent competitive intelligence applications                         make up a scorecard of a particular area
manually pulling together summary                  like the ones highlighted in this article.          of business. For example, Figure A
analyses for management progress                                                                       depicts a product development
checks and decision-making. Collecting                                                                 scorecard. The data fed into this display
the data from multiple sources,                    AT-A-GLANCE INTELLIGENCE                            can come from multiple sources.
recompiling and reformatting it in                      Digital dashboards show the                    Similarly, scorecards can be created to
various chart styles, and distributing the aggregate meaning of large amounts of                       monitor competitor activity.
results throughout an
organization are all tasks
that can lead to error                                                     PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT SCORECARD
over time as an
increasing number of
hands touch the data. As                                                                                       40   60

                                         2001      2002    2003    2004      2005
a result, reports are stored                                                                          20                       80


in multiple locations and                                                                                  0             100

are often difficult to                                                                       NPD
                                                                                            INDEX

update. In addition, most
CI departments still rely
on manual and time                   INNOVATION             NEW PRODUCT LINES        IMPROVEMENTS            REPOSITIONINGS      NPD EFFICIENCY
intensive processes to
measure the status of
ongoing assignments and                          10   15                      20       30                      40   60                       40   60                              10     15

measure the value-add                    5                      20   10                          40   20                   80       20                       80           5                        20

provided by their day-to-                    0             25             0                 50             0         100                 0             100                    0               25

day work.                                    INNOVATION
                                                INDEX                              INDEX
                                                                                                           IMPROVEMENT
                                                                                                               INDEX                         INDEX %
                                                                                                                                                                                  EFFICIENCY
                                                                                                                                                                                    INDEX

     Most of the
competitive intelligence
                                  Number of potentially      Number new product      Improvements to        Re-positioned and     Effectiveness of
software packages                  useful product and          and service being     existing products      re-priced products    NPD process and
                                                               processed at the        and services                               speed to market
available on the market               service ideas
                                                              business case stage
today focus on the
                                   Figure A: Product development scorecard

Volume 7 • Number 4 • July-August 2004                                                                                                                            SCIP 2004 www.scip.org 57
out of the box


     From the scorecard you can quickly     areas needing immediate attention, and                          key ratios, and competitor analysis data
read if the dashboard needle in any dial    provide a single point of access for all                        to be included, and change the
is in the green, yellow or red areas.       responsible parties to the same dataset.                        companies you are analyzing on the fly.
Instead of muddling through multiple        But the technology can be applied to do                              When you are finished, you can
tables and bar graphs, a gauge is easy to   much more.                                                      export the results directly into
read and readily interpreted. You can            In the area of content management,                         Microsoft Excel. Those requiring access
identify areas needing your attention       digital dashboard technology can help                           to the information within your
right away. And dashboards can be           analysts monitor the volume of a                                organization will likely already have
constructed with drill-down gauges to       specific category of information located                        access to the actual web-based interface
allow easy access to underlying details.    within their CI system. At a glance,                            to see the data. But an export feature is
     Click on a gauge and the sub-          users can view the amount of news                               important to look for when you
gauges pop-up. This shows what factors      items versus internal data versus web-                          consider sharing results outside of your
are driving each higher-level gauge, and    based information available by topic                            department or organization.
what the results are for each one. The      category. This helps define the makeup
dashboard can be setup to show              of source data and identify any gaps in
different time periods according to the     data collection practice.                                       MANAGERIAL APPLICATIONS
requirements of each department,                                                                                 In addition to monitoring
business, or agency.                                                                                        competitor activity, dashboard
     Time period dashboards can also be     ANALYTICAL APPLICATIONS                                         technology can be employed to monitor
created. For example, you can have a             Dashboard technology also readily                          internal CI function progress. For
weekly or a monthly dashboard. As you       lends itself to analytical applications.                        example, from a single interface a CI
click on each latest time period, the       The web-based interface shown in                                manager can view the status of all
results are shown by the needle’s           Figure B gives one example. In this case                        ongoing CI assignments in a particular
position. Click back and forwards to        competitor financial profile data is                            research department. The display would
trace progress according to the different   rolled up into a pictorial display that                         indicate the level of completion for each
time periods.                               can be instantly customized in terms of                         project with the ability to drill down to
     You can also design dashboards to      details included and display format.                            further details related to the status
show progress towards a goal. For           You can specify the reported financials,                        indicators (e.g. task-level status).
example, you can set one needle to
show the current results and another to
                                              Knowledge.Works
point to the goal. Each needle is
typically represented by its own color to       Reported Financials
                                                Quarterly financials
make it easy to recognize the status of           Balance sheet
                                                                                      Quarterly Financials Results      Microsoft     Borland    Oracle
                                                                                      5339
actual results versus planned activity.            Cash & Cash Equivalents                                                                          Cash & Cash Equivalents
                                                                                                                                                    Total Current Assets
     Over time dashboards have evolved             Net Receivables
                                                                                                                                                    Net Profit
                                                   Inventories
to include custom formats that better              Total Current Assets               4271                                                          Return on Total Assets

represent the type of data or analyses             Long Term Investments
                                                   Property Plant & Equipment Gross
being illustrated. And they have become            Total Assets                       3203
more dynamic, allowing you to slice and            Accounts Payable
dice data different ways in real time.          Key Ratios
     The following sections include just           Net Profit Margins                 2136
                                                   Operating Margin
a few of the current applications of               Current Ratio
digital dashboard technology in                    Quick Ratio                        1068

competitive intelligence. Moving                   Return on Assets
                                                   Return on Equity
forward we can expect to see these              Competitor Analysis                      0
applications integrated even more                  Share Prices
                                                                                             Q1 2002   Q2 2002   Q3 2002   Q4 2002     Q1 2003

tightly into competitive intelligence              Book Value Per Share
                                                   Analyst Target Share Price
(CI) software packages.                            Price Equity (P/E Ratio)                                                                         Period
                                                                                                            Microsoft
                                                                                                                                                          Q1 2002
                                                      Legend       Table      None                          Borland
                                                                                        Select Company                                                    Q2 2002
                                                      Bar Style    2D         3D                            Oracle
                                                                                                                                                          Q3 2002
CONTENT MONITORING                                                                                                                                        Q4 2002
APPLICATIONS                                                                                                                                              Q1 2003

    Dashboards allow you to measure
and track progress, highlight problem       Figure B: Analytical application — financial profiles

58 SCIP 2004 www.scip.org                                                                                                           Competitive Intelligence Magazine
                                                                                                             out of the box


     While this makes it easy for           NEXT STEPS
managers to manage deadlines and                 This article serves as a brief          Raoul Farcot is a Vice President at
monitor and report on progress, it is       introduction to digital dashboard            Cipher Systems. He is responsible for
also an important resource allocation       technology and the implications of its       managing technology and strategic
tool. Underutilized resources can be        application to competitive intelligence.     research projects for Cipher’s corporate
easily identified and bottlenecks           Just from the examples given it is easy      clients. He can be reached at
resulting from overtaxed resources can      to recognize the importance of the           r.farcot@cipher-sys.com (410) 451-6889.
be resolved.                                evolution of this technology to help
     There are other important              users visualize and monitor critical
managerial implications. Consider the       indicators related to competitor activity.   Terry Kades is the founder of Strategic
difficulty you have measuring the ROI            Currently, most CI applications of      Feasibilities, Inc. He has been integral in
or Net Present Value of each Key            digital dashboard technology are             the development of a comprehensive suite
Intelligence Topic in your pipeline.        custom designed as information sources       of business strategy, analysis, planning
With a custom dashboard tool you can        and reporting requirements vary widely       and enabling software tools and models.
define the criteria you want to measure     across organizations and across              He can be reached at (301) 816-3193
against, and the appropriate metrics can    industries. You can help shape the           or tkades@powerstrat.com.
then be put in place and automatically      incorporation of this technology into
gathered from your CI system. These         CI practice by learning more about the
statistics are then displayed graphically   specific applications that fit your
in a scorecard format tying KIT status      research and analysis needs.
to resource investment to resulting
implications and ultimately ROI.




                           CBI/SCIP
             Decision Support and Analysis Summit
                                    November 8-9, 2004 • Philadelphia, PA

           SCIP members are invited to participate in the upcoming joint CBI - SCIP event: Decision
        Support and Analysis Summit from November 8-9, 2004 in Philadelphia, PA.

            Vision and strategy are layed upon a foundation of intelligence, insight and market analyses.
        Elevate your organization’s ultimate strategy and bottom-line by learning the most successful
        competitive intelligence, forecasting and market research techniques.

            Attend CBI’s Decision Support and Analysis Summit and benefit by learning how to arrive at
        innovative and strategic decisions while networking with industry leaders. Plus, three featured
        tracks of education:

                                            • Competitive Intelligence
                                            • Forecasting
                                            • Qualitative/Quantitative Market Research

               For more information on this event or to register, contact CBI
                    Registration at 800-817-8601. Fax 781-939-2490.
             Email: cbireg@cbinet.com. Or visit the website at www.cbinet.com


Volume 7 • Number 4 • July-August 2004                                                                       SCIP 2004 www.scip.org 59

				
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