NGS Provides a Quick 'Dashboard' View into Business Performance
by Alex Woodie
New Generation Software launched new software this month for developing and serving graphical "dashboard" views that allow people to quickly absorb data pulled from iSeries servers. The new product, aptly called the Business Performance Dashboard, is based on the company's flagship NGS-IQ business intelligence software, and enables executives and other decision-makers to view key performance indicators and other performance data in colorful and interactive Flash presentations.
Instead of reading page after page of static reports, executives can get to the heart of the matter much more quickly with the Business Performance Dashboard, says Bernard Gough, president and CEO of New Generation Software. "A picture--or, in this case, a dashboard--is worth a thousand words, because it instantly conveys how the enterprise is performing much more effectively than a report with absorbent amounts of numerical or tabular data," he says.
The Business Performance Dashboard instead enables executives to quickly get a handle on the state of their business through an array of charts, tables, gauges, maps, and other visualization tools. For example, if a sales executive's favorite key performance indicator is "days sales outstanding," he can quickly view whether that number is getting better or worse through a red and green gauge, similar to the one on your car's dashboard.
Dashboard presentations take the form of MacroMedia Flash files, which can be generated from a Web server or distributed via e-mail. Underlying these Flash presentation is either a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or an XML file, which can be regularly updated with data from the OS/400 server as often as the user likes.
A series of pre-defined NGS-IQ dashboard templates for sales, marketing, finance, and human resources are included with NGS's Dashboard package, along with the iSeries data mart. The company says it plans to generate more templates for other areas of the business throughout 2005.
No programming is required to use the Dashboard, NGS says, and any business analyst familiar with his company's business (and Microsoft Excel) can quickly begin generating presentations. In addition to generating presentations with the templates provided, analysts can create their own by using NGS's development tools. It takes analysts about half a day to learn the software, while users require no training to view presentations, the company says.
Business Performance Dashboard supports Windows 2000 and Windows XP running either Microsoft Office 2000 or 2003. Licenses are tier-based. A two-developer, 20-user license for the software on a P10 machine costs $7,000. For more pricing and product information, go to www.ngsi.com.