CIO dashboards

Why Use CIO Dashboards? (A CIO Dashboard FAQ)

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CIO dashboards can be an excellent way to track important metrics at a glance, save time, streamline workflows, and more.

In this post, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about CIO dashboards – what they are, why they matter, and how to make the most of them.


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What Is a CIO Dashboard?

A CIO dashboard, like any other dashboard, is a UI that provides a fast, visual way to track key stats and metrics.

To be useful, of course, they most track a CIO’s core job duties, such as IT service management (ITSM), cybersecurity, and technology-related projects.

While a CIO dashboard may be useful for gaining a bird’s-eye view of IT, some CIOs may use several dashboards, each with its own specialty. One may focus, for instance, on IT operations, while others may focus on enterprise resource planning (ERP).

The choice of which dashboard to use will depend on several factors, including:

  • One’s own job role
  • The organization’s operating model
  • The industry
  • The structure of the organization and the IT department

Ultimately, what matters most is building a dashboard that adds value to one’s own workflow.

What Do CIO Dashboards Monitor?

CIO dashboards can be used to track:

  • Key projects and initiatives
  • Digital transformation progress
  • IT operations
  • Cybersecurity
  • Business performance
  • Products and services

As mentioned, every CIO dashboard is unique and will depend on one’s own job role. That being said, many CIOs perform the same types of activities, so most dashboards tend to monitor the areas covered above.

Why Use a CIO Dashboard?

Since CIOs are business leaders with a wide range of responsibilities, tracking all of the moving parts can be quite a challenge – yet monitoring those activities is essential, and a dashboard allows one to do just that.

Dashboards:

  • Offer easy, quick access to the most important information
  • Prevent CIOs from getting lost in details 
  • Provide metrics that can be used as talking points in discussions with other C-suite leaders and department heads
  • Save time and simplify workflows

In short, dashboards offer the right information at the right time, which improves decision-making and performance.

What Should One Look for in a CIO Dashboard?

To actually deliver on the promises covered above, it is important that these dashboards:

  • Integrate with an organization’s other IT systems, such as CIO platforms, ERP systems, HCM systems, and IT systems
  • Can be customized to a high degree
  • Include reporting functionality
  • Offer visualization functions, which offers a more immediate grasp of statistics and data

In many cases, it may be best to build one’s own dashboard. 

In others, it may be useful to install a pre-built dashboard, such as Northcraft Analytics, which offers a number of analytics apps.

What Other Dashboards Can Benefit the CIO?

In general, the more comprehensive one’s insights are, the more effective one’s decision-making is. 

For that reason, it is a good idea to invest in more than one dashboard, above and beyond a CIO dashboard.

Others to look at include:

  • Human Capital Management (HCM) dashboards, which offer insight into employees, workforce metrics, employee productivity, and other related metrics
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), which, as mentioned above, cover the allocation of resources within an organization
  • Change management, which tracks the status of organizational change
  • IT services and governance, among the most important areas for CIOs to monitor

In a best-case scenario, it may be possible to integrate all of these dashboards into a single hub. Certain providers, such as Domo and Northcraft Analytics (see link above), offer this type of functionality.

What Other Tools Can CIOs Use to Stay Informed?

Dashboards are only as useful as the data that goes into them, so it is important to maximize the quality of that data as much as possible.

On the one hand, this means collecting data regularly and preparing that data properly – through, for instance, cleaning and structuring. 

On the other hand, CIOs should be leveraging the most modern techniques when it comes to analytics.

This can include:

  • Using AI to recognize patterns in the data
  • Implementing predictive analytics to understand what’s coming next
  • Using prescriptive analytics to inform decisions

These techniques can be implemented within dashboards and other CIO tools, which further adds to their value.

What Are the Biggest Obstacles to Creating an Effective Dashboard?

There are several:

  • CEOs or CFOs may not see the financial value of investing in such tools, so they may limit spending on dashboards and other relevant data tools
  • The organization’s data-driven processes may be siloed, making it difficult to feed all of that data into a single dashboard
  • Legacy IT systems may make it difficult to integrate multiple IT systems and data sources

Lastly, the organizational structure itself may limit the value of a dashboard – if, for instance, a CIO has limited authority, there is no reason to track certain types of metrics, such as change management metrics or business performance metrics.

On the other hand, if a CIO has the same level authority as other business leaders, a comprehensive dashboard will be much more useful.

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