2021 Dashboard Awards highlight trend to BI “Dash Apps”

One of my favorite parts of the annual IBIS event is the Dashboard Awards as every year I love to see the amazing dashboard solutions organizations have created with BI tools.

This year was no exception with 3 winners that again blew my socks off with both their business use cases and creativity.  Congratulations!

Here are the categories and the winners:

The 2021 Best Business Dashboard Award

The Best Business Dashboard award for 2021 was awarded to McKesson for their Drug Distribution dashboard. During the pandemic, we have all become acutely aware of the significance and importance of distributing lifesaving drugs quickly and effectively around the country and so McKesson needed a way to track this easily so that all stakeholders could instantly see the status and take action if there were any delays. They were under a time crunch to do this after first attempting to create the solution in Tableau but struggling with some of the data access and seamless connectivity to third party shippers. To solve this, two BI specialists, one who knew the data and business side and the other who knew all the BI tools, teamed up and created a dashboard solution in SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence using add-on Need4Viz components in just two weeks! The result was accurate data and seamless integration, and it was deployed in production two weeks later and acclaimed a huge success.

The 2021 Limitless BI Dashboard Award

The Limitless BI Dashboard award went to Future Metrics this year for their Negative CO2 Emissions dashboard. Future Metrics specializes in consulting around the use of wood pellets as an alternative and more sustainable fuel source to traditional carbon fossil-based fuels. The Negative CO2 Emissions dashboard they created is to help them convince both the energy sector and local/national government entities to see the cost and environmental benefits of converting existing heavy polluting power plants (particularly coal) to sustainably sourced wood pellet alternatives. The dashboard shows the immediate cost savings that can be achieved and cleverly depicts how many homes can be powered while at the same time how much less CO2 will be emitted shown by decreasing number of cars on the road.  The winning dashboard also shows that the CO2 that gets emitted from the wood pellet fuel can be captured and pumped back underground resulting in an actual negative CO2 emission overall.  All of this was created without code using Squirrel365 against Excel data sources. This dashboard is enthralling and is already being put to much use around the world.

The 2021 Most Valuable Dashboard Award

This year’s Most Valuable Dashboard award went to Salesforce for their Business Value Discovery Tool.

This is a powerful application for helping both salespeople show the Return On Investment (ROI) for subscribing to their software solutions and for customer prospects to clearly see that ROI and cost justification over time. The application presents the user with both slider and data input options that allow them to enter the specifics of their current software application costs and show how these will be reduced over time with a cloud based annual subscription. It factors in every aspect you can think of and more and makes brilliant use of visualization, interactivity and write back to database. It was completely built in just a couple of months with 1 to 2 people with the no code Squirrel365 tool using InfoBurst Dash for caching, database connectivity and write back. The original estimate for building this application using regular development tools was 3 full-time developers for more than 12 months.

What can we learn from these dashboard award winners?

One of the common threads with all 3 of these remarkable winning dashboards is a trend we are seeing to use no code BI development tools to build what are really dashboard applications rather than just dashboards. This came out in several of the keynotes and sessions at IBIS and the term “BI Dash Apps” emerged to describe this evolution of dashboards to applications more aptly.

A “Dash App” has a dashboard user interface with cool visualization and interactivity but also is a complete application in its own right accessing and, more often now, writing back to databases as in the case of the Salesforce Business Value Discovery Tool.

One of the biggest appeals of “Dash Apps” is that they can be built fast and with minimal or no coding. If you use tools like Squirrel365 and InfoBurst Dash, as Salesforce did, the licensing and deployment costs can also be very attractive.

The McKesson Drug Distribution and Future Metrics CO2 Negative Emissions dashboards are also clearly “Dash Apps” providing standalone solutions but without writing back to a database.

If the InfoSol Dashboard Awards at IBIS 2021 are anything to go by, get ready for a lot more “Dash Apps” and BI Dash Apps in the months ahead.

Big Congrats to McKesson, Future Metrics and Salesforce!

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