An information dashboard is just the sort of cutting-edge decision-support tool that thousands, if not tens of thousands, of companies are now attempting to create. Those companies have embraced the idea that decisions based on fact will consistently beat those based on gut. Plenty of obstacles stand in the way of better decision support, from backward-looking metrics and ill-advised goals to antiquated budgeting approaches and technophobic executives. For management teams that can make use of the data--and these days there's always plenty of data--there are huge opportunities to improve efficiency, develop innovative products, get closer to customers, and outsell competitors.
Whether driven by Total Quality Management programs, Balanced Scorecards or another methodology, information-driven companies tend to succeed by establishing clear goals and expectations that are aligned from the top of the organization down to departments and individual employees. When results start coming up short, executives can manage the exceptions along the way rather than hoping for the best and reacting to surprises at the end of a quarter.
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