Performance Dashboards by Wayne Eckerson

If there’s only one BI book on your shelf, make it this one.

UPDATE: Performance Dashboards is now in its second edition. Check out my review here.

Wayne Eckerson is a researcher with The Data Warehousing Institute. He’s created a great book, Performance Dashboards (Wiley, 2005, 978-0471724179),  to address the current trendiness of performance management and enterprise dashboards. Eckerson takes a vendor-neutral stance and supports his assertions both with research and case studies.

The book provides a comprehensive view of performance dashboards and their role in the organization. What I found particularly illuminating were two “big-idea” concepts that alone are worth the price of the book.

The first big idea is Eckerson’s definition of a performance dashboard. While business and IT management may be inclined to define a performance dashboard as merely a high-level representation of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), Eckerson describes a robust three-tier architecture. Using his definition, what is commonly known as the “dashboard” is only the tip of the iceberg. Wayne defines three categories of performance dashboards- operational, tactical, and strategic- each having a tiered three-layer architecture.

The second big idea is is contained in Chapters 4 and 5. Chapter 4 is entitled “Assessing Your Organizational Readiness” and defines criteria that an organization can use to assess their readiness to adopt performance dashboards. Chapter 5 is entitled “Assessing Your Technical Readiness” and presents a Business Intelligence Maturity Model. While “organizational readiness” addresses the entire organization, the “Business Intelligence Maturity Model” specifically addresses the IT organization’s current position on the BIMM scale.

The book can either be read cover-to-cover or by choosing specific topics. As such, it can be a valuable read for IT professionals at all levels as well as business users, managers and executives. My hunch is that readers will be delighted with the new insights they glean, but frustrated with their ability to bring higher business intelligence and change to their organizations. Perhaps the book can provide a common reference so organizations can establish consensus and move forward.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book with my own funds. It was not a free review copy. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Author: Dallas Marks

I am a business intelligence architect, author, and trainer. I help organizations harness the power of analytics, primarily with SAP BusinessObjects products. An active blogger, SAP Mentor and co-author of the SAP Press book SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide, I prefer piano keyboards over computer keyboards when not blogging or tweeting about business intelligence.

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