Here’s an “early” article from CIO Decisions on business dashboards. The article “Diving Into Dashboards” was set up with the follow premise: “Are you gearing up for a dashboard project? It could be dangerous. Let these CIOs guide you down the right path.”

It’s interesting to read this now that business intelligence dashboards have become so popular. The vision for business dashboards has been around for a long time. These guys are the dashboard software trail blazers.

The article is available here:

Diving into Dashboards

An excerpt:

WHEN EASTERN MOUNTAIN SPORTS INC. launched the first of its Gearage stores, warehouse-style outlets targeted at the extreme sports set, CIO Jeff Neville wanted to make it easy for company executives to monitor the success of the edgy new concept.

But when it came to building a strategic dashboard, Neville hit a brick wall that even the best-equipped climbers could- n’t scale. The company hadn’t established guidelines for evaluating the performance of Gearage stores. How should the stores be compared with other EMS outlets? And who should be responsible for the metrics that did exist?

Using a dashboard to track the new stores was a good idea, but there wasn’t a business process that made it a great idea. It was a good learning experience for EMS. Now we understand you just don’t throw stuff up on the dashboard because it’s cool.

The $200-million outdoor retailer in Peterborough, N.H., learned what many other midsized organizations have dis- covered: An effective dashboard is more than just a pre tty interface.Giving executives real-time visibility into the core metrics that drive costs, revenues and efficiencies means conquering IT and business process challenges that are more complicated than they first appear.

“It’s like the check-engine light in your car. It goes on, but it doesn’t tell you what’s wrong. There’s no ability to drill down, at that point, we call it a ‘flashboard.’”