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First Look – myDials 3.0

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myDials is a company focused on optimizing operational performance by delivering timely, relevant, actionable performance metrics, contextual information, guidance and “every person” analytics. On June 8th they announced myDials 3.0. myDials is focused on helping all employees focus on the monitor/analyze/adjust cycle that helps ensure that operations remain in synch with company strategies and plans. They feel that all employees must participate in this process and this is tricky because you need to view financial and operational data intuitively. Most companies end up with lots of spreadsheets and inconsistency as well as after-the-fact analysis. In addition, Key Performance Indicators or KPIs need to be turned into Key Performance Drivers and these need to be compared with targets to find variance. This variance needs to be interpreted and some action taken. myDials functionality includes:

  • Monitoring of KPDs/Targets using dashboards – they have added time context and personalization in 3.0 as well as a metric library
  • Alerting using a rule engine for visual and email alerts
  • Knowledge sharing through embedded information annotations
  • Analyzing – they have expanded drivers, trends, forecasts, control charts and pareto in 3.0
  • Acting – they have added what-if scenarios in 3.0

myDials is a hosted on demand application. The basic view is a dashboard with various tabs. A nice looking collection of gauges and graphs – they call all these Dials – is available and these are collected into ribbons that can be collapsed and expanded. Navigation controls are kept off until you mouse over a dial to keep the interface clean. Dials can show information that describes them with web links to supporting information (inside or outside the firewall) as well as visual alerts, a nice feature.

Dials can be expanded and users can drill into the relevant dimensions. The expansion mechanism is nicely implemented, keeping a train of context – a drill tree if you like. Notes can be added to data points and these will be seen whenever the data is used in a dial – a nice way to share information about what is going on. The context for the whole dashboard can be changed (from worldwide to Europe, for instance) and a set of breadcrumbs is displayed to show where and when you are in the data. Sliders and other controls can be used to move around the time period or to see quarterly or annual roll-up or weekly/daily drill-down for instance.

For each dial a set of drivers can be defined. When a dial is in an alert condition you see which drivers are out of range and can drill into this to see what is contributed to being out of range. These drivers can be defined with complex expressions and different zones (Critical Zone for instance) can be specified using a formula. Alerts can be specified in terms of conditions using the expressions (including calculations across multiple metrics and periods) and notification rules can be specified similarly.

myDialsUsers can enter values directly to create a “what-if” scenario too. The dial then responds to the what-if data and shows what the impact would be (all dials impacted by the what-if analysis show a what-if symbol). Multiple points in a dial can have what if data added to simulate trends. Dials can also automatically display analysis lines across the dashboard. Trend lines, appropriate to the kind of data, are displayed. The kind of trend analysis desired is specified as part of the configuration and then on-the-fly analysis is performed on the data in the dial to display the trends.

myDials is focused on manufacturing, energy, mining particularly (and has some features that support these industries nicely) but is seeing growth in government and healthcare / hospital management.

Like some other dashboard tools I have seen recently, the folks at myDials are keen to ensure that users can take action in response to what they see. I also appreciated the efforts to bring predictive analytics/trending to bear in a way that would make sense to a user and their focus on operational decisions. Because these trends can be used in the alerts users should be able to define alerts that will be triggered when something is about to go wrong, not just after the fact. As always I would like to see more ability to automate the actions being taken as a result of changing data but overall myDials is a nice looking product with a good attitude.

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