To solve this problem, IBM has quietly put a new dashboard product into beta and plans to roll it out in mid-October. Code-named Teton but slated to be called IBM Workplace for Business Strategy Execution, the product is "an executive dashboard for everybody," according to Jeremy Dies, Offerings Manager, IBM Workplace, in IBM Software Group.
Workplace for Business Strategy Execution is built on top of the Workplace Services Express portal. It utilizes portal, collaboration and application integration technologies and can leverage portlets, dashboards and analytic tools from multiple vendors.
To import data to the Workplace for Business Strategy Execution application, an administrator can use portlets or Web services.
According to Dies, it's easy to make an analogy between a corporate dashboard and a car dashboard, but in this case, the analogy is valid. "A car dashboard gives you great operational data, but doesn't tell you why you're in the car or where you're doing," he said. The new tool, he said, helps workers outline a project's objectives, monitor progress, and assign accountability for specific steps.
Dies bristled a bit when asked if IBM considered the product a BI tool for the masses. "The basic flaw in the BI arena is that people keep thinking that everyone will eventually use BI. They don't realize that there's a huge population out there that will never want to use true BI."
The product may be called IBM Workplace for Business Strategy Execution, but Dies said "it is an add-on you can use regardless of your collaboration infrastructure."
According to Dies, IBM views the dashboard as "the line-of-business hook that IBM Business Partners can use to sell WebSphere Portal. It will show the business value of Portal, and will help our partners 'templatize' dashboards."
According to IBM, the dashboard tool will be priced at about $100 per user. The beta can be downloaded here.