Managers and executives love dashboards. For good reason: they provide a concise view of business and IT metrics that are important for making quick decisions.
Traditional IT executive dashboards tend to focus on high-level information, which is fine for most daily needs. However, the business-value dashboard, or BVD, zooms in on specific line-of-business metrics that more closely align IT with the business.
What‘s a BVD?
A BVD is commonly a cloud-based application. As a type of business intelligence, the service draws on a wealth of information from different data sources within an organization. From there, it analyzes the data and presents IT and business metrics through dashboards and reports. If this sounds like a lot of big data, that’s because it is. A BVD includes big-data analytics, complete with pattern matching in logs and other sources.
Manually sifting through all that data is very time consuming and rarely results in useful information. A BVD, by design, distills lots of data and presents it in easy-to-read displays, charts and graphs. From the dashboards and reports, a line of business (LOB) or IT manager can get a clear picture of:
- How operations impact the business
- How LOBs outside of IT define their own performance
- How IT supports revenue streams
Armed with this information, managers can make more informed decisions as to which IT investments will bring the most value to the business.
IT managers can also use BVDs to help track the many moving parts associated with big IT migration projects. And because a dashboard presents a variety of key performance indicators (KPIs), it can point out bottlenecks, helping the manager to quickly fix the issue.
A lesser-known benefit of BVDs is the collaboration fostered between business and IT leaders. These two groups often “speak different languages,” resulting in a communications gap. Because a BVD provides meaningful information that clarifies and simplifies many aspects of IT and business performance, IT managers can provide better service to the business. Both parties can use the tool as the foundation for better planning of strategic goals as well.
Who Uses a BVD?
Because of the focus of BVDs, they’re designed mainly for LOB managers and IT leaders in enterprise businesses. You’ll find BVDs used in midsize-to-large organizations with multiple LOBs and well-developed IT departments, from aerospace to manufacturing to transportation.
For example, a provider of operational technologies and services uses BVDs to consolidate real-time IT data from operations and performance to personnel and financial, as well as LOB information. Previously, the company relied on spreadsheets to report on different business segments, which took days or weeks to produce. But once a BVD is configured, the company can draw updated results as often as every five minutes, and everyone in the company with a need to know can view the graphs and reports. The information is tied together without the need to report on each segment separately.
Although they’re more difficult to find, some BVD solutions go beyond just top-level managers and extend to service delivery, help desk staff and business users.
Which Vendors Provide BVDs?
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) is one of the most established vendors in the BVD market space, but interested organizations should also look at OpsDataStore and PureShare, to name a few. Of the three, the HPE and PureShare products share many similar features, with all functionality built into the platform. The OpsDataStore platform focuses more on environment monitoring, troubleshooting and optimization, and lets customers use the business intelligence tool of their choice and then present information in the Tableau dashboard.
Where Does Your Business Begin?
It’s best to understand the questions you want a BVD to answer before reaching out to vendors, so talk to IT and LOB managers for their input. When you do speak to vendors, find out whether each solution integrates with tools you already run and rely on. Vendors should be willing to let you try their solution during the evaluation phase, and offer at least an hour or two of orientation and training.