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Why Dashboards Are Not Enough!

April 8, 2021
Picture of James Smith

Written by James Smith

Customer Success Manager


You’ve most likely heard the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, today I’m here to tell you why those thousand words don’t quite cut it when it comes to transforming your business in the digital age. Companies in the private sector and government agencies of all sizes tend to have data everywhere – some data exists in spreadsheets, systems/databases, both online and offline. To make sense of things and try to enable enterprise decision-making, these same organizations rely heavily on a variety of tools that give them reporting capabilities. This could be spreadsheet-driven analysis and charts, or a BI reporting tool, but regardless the results tend to be the same and contain the same limitations. You end up with a static picture, rather than a 360-degree view of the insights you are trying to extract.

 

To illustrate the problem, imagine you are buying a house. You’ve seen pictures of the front and back of the house, even photos of each bedroom. Everything looks perfect and you think to yourself, “could this be the right one? It looks like we should buy it!” But then you go on Google Maps and use the street view to look around the neighborhood and “explore” the area. When you do this, you notice that down at the end of the street, a good distance away from the house, is a sewage treatment facility. “It’s a long way off, and I’m sure it can’t be that bad. After all, the house is basically our dream house,” you tell yourself. You decide to go take a look and see the house. In your tour, everything looks exactly like you hoped it would from the pictures. You’re pretty sure you want the place, but you decide to meet with the neighbors and chat with them before making your purchase offer. Well, the neighbors inform you that from late spring to autumn, the scent from the treatment plant wafts over the neighborhood and the smell is overpowering. You can’t smell it yet because it is early spring, and the temperature is still nice and cool. You decide not to buy the place—and you are glad that you didn’t just rely on a picture to make a big decision.

 

The challenge is that it is very difficult to convey context, narrative, and all the bits of information you really need to make a decision (or at least a well-informed decision) with charts in a dashboard. Wise business leaders already know this, which is why they have different systems to fill in different parts of the puzzle, they consult with their employees (much like the neighbors) to get access to the knowledge of people who are closest to the problems they are trying to solve. These business leaders also know that it takes a lot of time to gather the right information, context, and narrative to enable these informed business decisions. Finding ways to get all the right decision inputs faster may be the most important factor in determining the success or failure of public and private enterprises over the next twenty years. There have been some pretty big tremors, signaling a tectonic shift in the market in the last several years as companies strive to close this gap between all the inputs of business decisions, and the time it takes to make them. Microsoft is leaning into this with their suite of products such as the Power Platform, which allows you to build business applications and couple them with things like visualizations in Power BI, bringing in collaboration via Teams. Salesforce is tackling this by purchasing Tableau and (pending) Slack. This then allows Salesforce to try and offer a more complete picture by leveraging its platform to create business applications, then couple that with a narrative via collaboration in Slack, and get powerful reporting and dashboards from Tableau. Both of these are compelling offerings that begin to address the key challenge I’ve outline in this piece.

 

CORAS has been built from the ground up to solve these enterprise decision-making challenges. Our platform empowers business users to create applications to solve their challenges, without the use of code. These applications are inherently collaborative, which means the conversations happen right where the work is happening instead of off in another silo. They also offer self-service reporting, empowering these business users to create their own visualizations and dashboards. The CORAS platform allows you to make connections to data that doesn’t already live within the CORAS system, meaning all of that external, important decision data can be brought in and related to facilitating rapid enterprise decision-making. As if this weren’t enough, the CORAS platform’s artificial intelligence can help you see relationships you didn’t know existed, creating links between everything you need to know to make the right business decisions, faster. CORAS’ mission is to transform the future of business decision-making. Check out our story here!