Business Value Dashboards – A New Solution To An Old Problem

What’s important to a CEO is very different from what’s important to an IT manager, or a systems administrator. Business people generally don’t understand the ins-and-outs of the technology used to run their business, much as technologists don’t (present company excluded, I’m sure) understand the ins-and-outs of how a business is run.

I was at an IT conference earlier in the year, where one of the speakers was talking about what he called “business technologists”. Essentially, a business technologist is someone who understands both sides of the story and is able to effectively communicate the full picture – generally upwards, to management. Someone who translates high CPU usage on CUSTOMER-SERVER-01, to that server going offline, which results in a service offered to customers being unavailable, which costs the business x number of dollars per minute in lost opportunity. Suddenly you’ve got the ear of management.

Now, wouldn’t it be great if there was some product or technology out there that can perform a similar sort of functionality to these “business technologists” I speak of? Luckily, we live in the future, and there is indeed something like that. It’s called the Business Value Dashboard (BVD), and in its simplest definition, it – well, it maps business value against IT metrics. On a dashboard. This is a relatively new concept, depending on how you look at it – around about 2013-2014, Gartner started publishing webinars and whitepapers and fireside chats, talking about this new phrase that they’d coined.

In the years since multiple vendors have jumped on the BVD bandwagon and begun offering SaaS options. These vary from large organisations like HPE, down to smaller companies like TeamQuest, who in 2015 acquired PureShare – a company Gartner had been keeping their eye on for their work on BVDs. It’s important to note that if you do decide to start looking into BVDs (and note that it is mostly larger organisations with enough data collected to properly dashboard and analyse), that you don’t think of them as a silver bullet. They are incredibly useful, sure, but at the end of the day you still need your business people talking to your techies to determine (as a team) what metrics are most important to the business, and dashboarding that in a way that makes logical sense to the relevant decision makers.

For this, “business technologists” really help. And as luck would have it, we have a  few of them here at Starboard IT. If you’re interested in discussing this further, you can email me at russell.whitters@starboardit.com

If you’re looking for consultancy services to help align IT solutions with business requirements, contact Starboard IT to find out what we can do for you.