Are the shields up or down?

I walked out of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens on Saturday night with my kids and the real rebellion began. I knew that JJ Abrams was not going to get everything right. But he’s good. Very good. Not good enough for my kids, though. While we all enjoyed the movie, both the new and the old pieces, there were the little details that bothered us. Before I go on, you should know that we are a big Star Wars family. We are also armchair film critics. My daughter, for example, notices things like ‘he was holding the gun in his right hand then it was in his left hand. What’s with that?’. Then she sits through the credits to check who the editing director was and says something like, ‘Mmph. Figures.’ So, this was a high-energy outing.

So there’s a scene where they need to get the shields down. I’m comfortable relaying that bit of information without a spoiler alert because, if you know anything about Star Wars, you know that someone’s going to have to get some shield or other down at some point. Anyway, they’re looking at this really cool touchscreen dashboard with controls and graphics straight out of Star Wars. They have a little conversation. Someone does a little finger dance on the screen and we’re supposed to understand that the shields are down.

But this dashboard is so fancy and visually stimulating that none of us could figure out if the shields were, in fact, up or down from the action on the screen. So, that, and other arguments were what filled our time on the way to the car. On the ride home. The next morning. Okay, we’re still arguing. But the point is that only an expert could have known what they were doing with those shield controls. Clearly, someone had spent a lot of money building this management system atop this massive information system. But they were concerned more with making it look impressive than making it usable.

One of the things that makes smart BI smart is the intuitive nature of the dashboard. It’s not enough to pack the dash with collaborative tools and graphics with lots of information. The tools need to be able to analyze mountains of data and deliver the insights that you need at a glance – with customized infographics, for example. Once you have the big picture, you should be able to instantly dig into the root causes of both successes and problems. Even with the most powerful solution under the hood, the dashboard is where you come in. Getting your business intelligence right, and right when you need it are what’s important. Not just what’s under the hood. After all, when speed is of the essence, your business can’t always rely on hyperdrive.

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