The dashboard in the picture shows, in a highly visual way, the general state of the business for a company called Adventure Works, a bicycle and cycling accessories dealer. Information about the whole Adventure Works business is displayed in elements on the dashboard. (These elements are also known as Web Parts). We've numbered the Web Parts:
. A scorecard usually shows actual figures compared to targets and often includes visual indicators that show progress against Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs). The goal? To help you see, at a glance, the status of business drivers such as financial performance, customer satisfaction, or the status of operations.
A strategy map
. Each shape in the strategy map represents some aspect of the Adventure Works business. The strategy map compliments what's shown in the scorecard and shows how different aspects of a business relate to and influence one another. As the status of the business changes, the colors of the shapes in the strategy map are updated to reflect those changes. For example, a strategy map can demonstrate how back orders for a product affect profit margins or how employee salary affects attrition.
The Web Parts can be populated with information that's pulled from different data sources— that's one benefit of PerformancePoint Server. And, as the information changes, the numbers and indicators shown in the dashboard change too. Because the information is regularly updated, Adventure Works employees can be confident that they're always viewing current information and are therefore obtaining an up-to-date picture of the business.
If you're familiar with different theories on Business Intelligence, you may recognize that the dashboard in the picture would be a great way to show the health of a business that uses the Balanced Scorecard method. Detailed discussion of that method is beyond the scope of what we'll cover here; however, we have included links to more information in the Quick Reference Card at the end of this course.