A picture says a thousand words, which is why performance management without quick, interactive graphical data visualisation has very little impact.

So says Paul Morgan, MD of ASYST Intelligence, who adds: “Performance management (PM) and data visualisation go hand in hand. It is far easier to manage and drive organisational and individual performance if you can deliver relevant and useful information about what’s happening in the business in a visually appealing way.
"That’s because a dynamic graphical representation of data has much more impact than a spreadsheet with some colour high-lighting. And, because it has bigger impact, it gets employees, executive, supplier and customer buy-in.”
He points out that while PM tools as a rule have the ability to graphically represent data and deliver it via colourful dashboards to users across an organisation; companies need to have a central data store in place to support these PM applications before they can use them for data visualisation.
“This is a problem for companies that are still struggling to implement enterprise data warehouses and disseminate information throughout their organisations because of poorly integrated systems. We are also increasingly seeing the manual input of information into PM systems but without the underlying reporting structures in place, the information cannot be distributed in a meaningful fashion to whoever needs to see it.
“As a result PM can sometimes look lacklustre because people aren’t getting information that is relevant and in a format that makes sense to them. People want a quick, at-a-glance, accurate overview of what is going on in the areas of the business that they are concerned with. If PM tools are unable to deliver this, they lose impact,” says Morgan.
“In addition, time to deploy is critical. People like to see results quickly, and they will be more likely to buy-in to the concept of performance management if they can rapidly see and measure results of organisational or individual changes.
"If performance information can be deployed quickly in an eye-catching way across the organisation, everyone in the business can see how their area of the business is performing. It creates a sense of competition. That’s why data visualisation drives performance management.”
Morgan says that there are data visualisation tools available that allow companies to deliver information about business performance in an attractive, interactive way – and they can do it fast.
Solutions such as Business Objects’ Xcelsius can take dry data from Excel spreadsheets and other disparate databases and display the information with high impact. Dashboards can be very rapidly developed and customised according to the area of the business and type of information being represented.
“These kinds of solutions bring PM to life almost instantaneously, get buy-in fast, and add momentum to a company’s organisational objectives. They should be an imperative to any business focused on managing, monitoring and driving performance management,” Morgan adds.