In "See it Coming," an article in the Feb. 1 issue of Intelligent Enterprise, author Wayne W. Eckerson provides a useful overview of what companies should look for in executive dashboards and scorecards. With a few word substititions, ("MindManager maps" instead of "Performance dashboards and scorecards") his lead paragraph could have come from Mindjet itself:
"Performance dashboards and scorecards represent a turning point in business intelligence software. These tools resonate with executives, managers and operations staff in a way that previous BI tools did not. With a quick glance, business users can see the status of key processes, projects or activities and take action. Critical information is placed at your fingertips without overloading you with unnecessary detail."
Eckerson notes that:
"these tools must embody a business architecture that aligns users and groups with strategic goals, using leading and lagging metrics to translate objectives into visual indicators tailored to each individual, role and group in the organization. Performance dashboards and scorecards must be built on a robust technical architecture that gives users layered access to summarized and detailed data, integrated from multiple sources and delivered in a timely fashion."
As I read that last line about layered access to summarized–and at the same time–detailed data, integrated from multiple sources, I began to think of maps. As few paragraphs later, he discusses "strategy" maps:
"Many executives and managers find that strategy maps are the key to creating effective metrics. Strategy maps help executives identify objectives to achieve the strategy and the metrics to measure those objectives. The maps span different perspectives (including finance, the customer and internal employees) and layers of the organization (such as corporate, divisions, departments and regions). You can then determine how the objectives and metrics relate to one another. These ‘linkages’ are assumptions about what drives the business; they can be modified or extended easily as data is collected for each of the metrics represented in the map."
Eckerson’s article in another example of the shift that is taking place toward the use of more visual means of communicating information. In doing so, it highlights MindManager’s role as a kind of prism through which to capture, organize and share existing information and data.
Typical dashboards are good at showing data, but make it difficult to interact with that data to make decisions and take action. MindManager is all about taking action. Pull data in from multiple sources to view it all in one screen as you would a dashboard, but then dive right into the data and start annotating it and making explicit assignments and actions right in the map. This ability to cut to the chase and get right to action makes MindManager not just the dashboard to view critical information, but the engine and vehicle that uses that information as fuel to drive business success.