MicroStrategy to roll out 'dynamic' dashboards

MicroStrategy Inc. Tuesday plans to unveil performance management dashboards that combine data visualization and animation to make it possible for more users in an organization to track business performance easily, the company said.

The MicroStrategy Dynamic Enterprise Dashboards included in the latest release of the company's business intelligence software, MicroStrategy 8.1, are designed to allow users to flip through many different perspectives of company performance without leaving the dashboard screen so they can quickly identify performance problems and find their causes, said Mark LaRow, vice president of products at the McLean, Va.-based company.

"Most managers who make decisions every day don't follow an analytic sequence," he said. "The most convenient way for people to really make decisions is to see lots of views of the data at one time."

The new dashboards include a library of advanced "widgets" built with Adobe Systems Inc.'s Flex Builder 2 integrated development environment, which renders in Flash Player 9. The widgets allow dashboards to animate data, displaying it in a way that can be more meaningful than static graphics, according to LaRow. With Adobe Flex Builder 2 and MicroStrategy's software development kit, users can create their own Flex-based visualization widgets and add them to their MicroStrategy visualization library, the company said. Flash rendering allows MicroStrategy users to create self-contained, portable dashboards that offer full interactivity regardless of access to a company network, LaRow added.

The Web-based interface in the new dashboards also allows users to create new dashboards using a drag-and-drop tool without involving IT staffers. "The issue of having IT required to build all dashboards or all reports has become an incredible sore point with CIOs," LaRow said. "They can't stay ahead of the backlog. Users can't design their own reports and dashboards [because] it takes too much time to learn it. The best answer today is to provide people output that is densely packed with information but easily reconfigured."

MicroStrategy plans to unveil the dashboards during its MicroStrategy World 2007 user conference in Las Vegas. The dashboards will ship by midyear.