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posted Jun 16, 2013, 5:15 AM by Leroy Dyer   [ updated Oct 16, 2014, 3:27 AM ]

Development Lifecycle

In developing a business intelligence project or solution, there are some different perspectives, whereas some believe that there are no specific methodologies one would say that a software development approach should be taken, such as a waterfall model or even an agile approach.

Application development model












































The above illustrates the waterfall approach to a business intelligence project; this can also be applied to dashboard development yet perhaps not to the actual design of the dashboard.

This model can contain multiple iterations and stages revisited if necessary.  


In planning a dashboard requirements gathering should be a main part of the planning stage, identifying the users and uses of the dashboard to be created, identifying the insight required to be shown.  These insights play an important role in the overall selection of the correct key performance indicators and metrics. Displaying and applying these metric are key to the dashboard becoming a success.


The data used within a dashboard is the key driving influence behind the dashboard being designed. This stage of analysis of results is a key issue. The data being displayed may be able to be analysed by using a data modelling technique such as Recency, frequency and monetary valuable insight can be shown. There are various types of dashboards for various levels of operations ranging from performance dashboards to strategic dashboards and real-time monitoring dashboards are also currently deployed across multiple platforms, from gaming to mobile business analytics applications.


In the design of a business intelligence dashboard, an approach called the “Three threes” is often commonly used. THREE APPLICATIONS, THREE LAYERS, and THREE TYPES: By integrating the application of the dashboard for multiple application types i.e.: monitoring, analysis and management this gives the dashboard a use which is more than just displaying data, by adding this functionality to the dashboard, we are able to create a dashboard that can also look at a snapshot in the current area to which it is being applied. By adding multiple dimensions to a dashboard giving the user the ability to drill down and delve into the data to take a closer or more directed look at the data, or even ROLL UP? This gives us a grand overview and perspective on the data.  By determining the role of the dashboard to be applied, the correct type of dashboard can be created.


In the building of a dashboard there are many products supporting dashboard creation.  This needs to be evaluated according to the data or deployment strategy or even tools available to the project. Connecting a dashboard to existing technologies can be a tricky process and not all of the vendors of business intelligence products are able to accomplish this goal. The selection process also can be limited by budget, so understanding the business requirements can also determine which software vendor is used.


The deployment of the dashboard is also a major consideration, deploying in a cloud based environment, or web based environment, creating a standalone application? These are the questions which need to be answered. By determining the access requirements needed by the dashboard the correct decisions can be taken. With mobile BI a media rich or even an html5 environment can be created and deployed on a platform that can be accessed by modern smart phone technologies.


This stage is mainly testing and reviewing the requirement stages to ensure that all requirements have been met, exploring the functionality and metrics applied. By using spread sheet technologies to check the validity of results.

This methodology can be approached as a rigid or agile approach, iterations can be applied to each stage revisiting if required.  This approach is entirely as flexible as required. By taking a methodical approach to designing dashboards and business intelligent presentations a user and company’s goals can be achieved.