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WHITE PAPER

Unleash the Hidden Power
of Your Data
How Corda’s CenterView™ can uncover mountains of
revenue and simplify your life.
R

Converting raw data into graphical depictions
For most people, data trends and exceptions to those trends are much easier to un-
derstand when they are presented visually. Information presented in a visual format
allows users to more quickly perceive patterns or properties that they may not have
anticipated and, consequently, to draw valuable conclusions more intuitively, holisti-
cally and rapidly.

The process of converting raw or numerical tabular data into a graphical depiction
is known as data visualization. The premise behind data visualization is that look-
ing directly at rows and rows of numbers and other data sets is rarely the best way
to understand the data. One of the main goals of data visualization is to support
decision-making through the use of properly designed graphical representations of
information. Data visualization technology has recently experienced a rapid evolu-
tion from simple charts and graphs to powerful and visually appealing “executive
dashboards.”

These dashboards replace drab, static tabular information with dynamic platforms.
Similar to a dashboard on a vehicle, executive dashboards employ data visualization
techniques to organize and present information graphically, making it easy to under-
stand at a glance. Increasingly, businesses are using dashboards to graphically display
actual performance compared against target performance goals for topics such as
sales numbers, customer satisfaction rates, employee performance assessments,
merchandise and inventory levels, network performance, Web site hits, and so on.

What a dashboard looks like and how it functions depends entirely on the business
that uses it. For instance, a financial services organization might want graphs showing
current stock prices or graphs that display how different portfolios compare against
each other. A manufacturer might implement a dashboard that tracks whether vari-
ous plant processes are within targeted time or performance parameters.

Executive dashboards also use flexible graphical interfaces to provide customized
views based on roles within a company. For example, the CFO would prefer a view
displaying benchmarks and other performance indicators, while the CMO would be
more interested in how marketing dollars are spent.

350 South 400 West / Suite 100 / Lindon, UT 84042 / 801-805-9400 / www.corda.com

The proper use of color constitutes an important function in well-designed dashboards. WHITE PAPER Staying in the Driver’s Seat The simple fact of the matter. and others • Ability for users to layer multiple graphs on top of each other Once a business knows what to look for in an executive dashboard. If one turns red. is that not all dashboards are created equal. If all systems show green. When dealing with the data visualization aspects of dashboards. there is a problem that needs immedi- ate resolution and the decision-maker can dig into that problem area without getting bogged down with departments that are working fine. XY. radar. improving results and enabling organizational change when necessary. Mapping applications can be incorporated in a dashboard to display. Dashboards must be carefully selected while keeping in mind the ultimate goal of delivering accurate. PNG. EPS. One example of a way in which color-use can enhance the functionality of a dashboard is through using a display that looks similar to a series of stoplights. the trick is finding the right product that will allow for all these capabilities. consequently reducing costs. instead of pixilated. Visual appeal shouldn’t be a “nice bonus. the situation is fine. in terms of groups. The dashboard helps pinpoint areas of concern or special interest by focusing on trends. callout notes. pie. scalability and speed • Data visualization in various chart types including bar. then such a company would be wise to look at Corda Technologies’ CenterView™ executive dashboard. decision-making has never been this straightforward If a company is committed to having data visualization of the highest quality and utilizing only the most effectively designed executive dashboard system. line. time. cities.” it should be a standard component of the dashboard and should act as a representation of the overall quality of the system to its users. for example. WBMP • Integrate easily with any Web application server • Generate charts. JPEG. graphs and maps that are truly Section 508 Compliant (Section 508 is an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act that makes electronic and information technol- ogy accessible to the blind and visually impaired) • Ability to contain a variety of charts. Properly designed executive dashboards also offer robust and innovative data visualiza- tion solutions—including interactive maps that lend tremendous geographic relevance to data. instead of sloppy. which states have the highest sales and which ones need improvement—then drill down into the states. It is also designed to be able to scale with a business as it grows and expands. All these benefits give companies an effective way to communicate strategy by aligning resources and making KPIs more broadly available to the decision makers who need ac- tionable data the most. Best results are generated from high-performance server based dashboard solutions that integrate data into a dynamic display. and an important consideration for all businesses in the market for an executive dashboard system.com . SVG. 350 South 400 West / Suite 100 / Lindon. departments. UT 84042 / 801-805-9400 / www. zip codes and even individual store sites. This display might track key performance indicators such as daily sales or hourly factory output. timely and rel- evant data to decision makers in a format which is instantly understandable. TIFF. sharp. instead of crude. Corda’s dashboard can connect to virtually any and all data sources or silos that already exist within an organization. popup text. Data visualization has never been this good. variations and exceptions. bubble and stock graphs. Below are some additional features to look for when comparing dynamic dashboard ap- plications: • Produce images in Macromedia® FLASH.corda. information is better understood when the presentation is clean. and drill down capabilities • Made for rapid deployment • Flexibility. and sophisticated. etc. graphs and maps images fed with on-demand dynamic data • Create text boxes. Data visualization solutions such as Corda’s CenterView executive dashboard takes the guesswork out of decision making and fulfill all the functions and requirements necessary to keep everyone “in the know” about the performance and operations of their company. PDF. It can connect to multiple sources at once and drive real- time data from those sources to the dashboard.

Any employee who regularly receives spreadsheets or database reports is a candidate for a dashboard. For example. and if they have a question or concern. department heads. including analysts. In the midst of improving communication for CXOs and their subordinates. instead of having to spend untold hours discussing the perfor- mance of branches or stores with several employees. executive dashboards still keep a firm hold on rights management. key users can get updated data from their company whether they are waiting to catch a plane in the airport. Thus. Organizations and decision makers need the power to recognize and quickly capitalize on trends. 2. Thus. before one company installed an interactive manufacturing dashboard to track package delivery failures it took 83 person-hours per week to generate the report on this data.250 printed pages. Information can travel from the bottom to the top. for example. as well as horizontally. The results were compiled in an enormous report consisting of 1. or other mobile devices. a sales manager or a mid-level manager. they would either drill down in to more detailed data or contact appropriate subordinates. Companies are confronted on a daily basis with the overwhelming task of communicating with employees at various levels and in various departments. there are several ways in which the dashboard will effect improve- ment and progress. Executives at large companies do not need to wonder whether the figures before them are the most recent or current information available. CXOs need different information than. Key people receive infor- mation from a number of sources. all that real-time information can go on the road with anyone via Blackber- ries. Furthermore. save time.000 foot” view of their responsibilities. Business leaders don’t have to rely on anyone physically telling them how the company is progressing because they are able to find out for themselves exactly what is going on throughout the organi- zation. Subordinates also need access to the accurate information for their level of responsibility if they want to be in a position to respond to inquiries from the executive level. but use of an executive dashboard dramatically simplifies this process. Executive dashboards also improve communication because they give key leaders the most up-to-date information. in an organized and logical fashion. due to their real-time enterprise capabilities. It can be a complicated process to keep all these channels of communication from becom- ing crossed and confused. key people can access the data that illustrates how certain locations or even geographic regions are faring based on the key performance indicators that an executive dashboard provides. all users can enjoy the benefits of increased access to the data they need in order to make critical decisions for their company without worrying that such data is falling into the wrong hands. or during a game of golf. it also makes it more accessible. In many instances. After implementation of the dashboard. Not only does an executive dashboard improve communication by making data easier to comprehend and more up- to-date. sitting in a meeting. PDAs. With executive dashboards they can rest assured that the data is as up-to-date as possible. UT 84042 / 801-805-9400 / www. Dashboards improve communication within organizations. WHITE PAPER Improve communication. simple answers to questions at the click of a mouse. Executive dashboards save time and manpower for companies. The following are the key areas where companies can expect to see concrete benefits from use of an executive dashboard: 1. They are absolutely secure in terms of limiting the amount of access individuals have based on their role within the organization.corda. A CXO would want a “30. Executive dashboards’ real-time enterprise capabilities allow this to happen. it took one single person-hour per week to generate the same report. It is also important to note that executive dashboards aren’t necessarily for executives only. take the guesswork out of business Once companies have made the decision to adopt an executive dashboard into their internal workings. a dashboard can reduce or completely eliminate the need for confus- ing conversation and instead allows straight. expediting the process of creating charts and graphs to the point where updated infor- mation is available instantaneously. Clearly. For example. 350 South 400 West / Suite 100 / Lindon. and others. in the middle of a business lunch.com .

and makes sense. and presents data to business leaders. executive dashboards provide the best way to ensure that business leaders are always kept “in the know. They don’t have to sift through pages of confusing or complicated numbers to find the figures that they need. as a typical large company will use as many as 68 different data sets.com . WHITE PAPER Part of the reason why executive dashboards can so dramatically expedite this process is due to their cross-platform capabilities. 350 South 400 West / Suite 100 / Lindon. therefore. executive dashboards often go one step further and help business leaders by giving them clear-cut signals as to what is going well in the company and what needs to be fixed. It is. A partner to human expertise Business leaders and all those making key decisions for businesses should keep in mind that executive dashboards provide them with the data necessary to be informed and appraised of the workings of their company. With an executive dashboard. The challenge of this task should not be underestimated. a better competitive edge and a simplification of data that offers better peace of mind. The benefits to the business leaders and the entire organization will be numerous and significant. in the best interest of companies and their executives to select and imple- ment an executive dashboard system of the highest caliber. are implemented to provide enterprise-wide access to dashboards for all of the data users and consumers. Business lead- ers don’t necessarily need to take the time to personally identify such problems when the dashboard does the work for them.corda. business leaders can view the key performance indicators for their company with the click of a mouse. Rather. Executive dashboards can provide explicit markers. Business leaders who rely on important data to aid them in the process of making key decisions for their companies can depend on executive dashboards to deliver that data not only in a timely fashion but also with a keen attention to the relevance of the data. such as Corda’s CenterView executive dashboard. This ability is invaluable for busy executives with only a limited amount of time and attention to devote to each of the numerous important decisions that come across their desk on a regular basis. give them this capability. and simplify the decision-making process as a partner to the human expertise of high-level business leaders. Executive dashboards take the guesswork out of business. UT 84042 / 801-805-9400 / www. Reports generally need to reliably handle mas- sive amounts of data from a variety of sources and systems and turn it into meaningful information. they can see those figures and data represented in a way that is clear. better operating efficiencies. The right knowledge at the right time = greater opportunity For all the reasons stated above. it is more critical than ever that business leaders have their finger on the very pulse of their organization. keep- ing them more up-to-date and saving their employees dozens of hours of valuable time. such as executive dashboards. Rather. business leaders can rely on the executive dashboard to provide them with the information they need about the operation and performance of their company in order to act in the correct manner and make appropri- ate decisions. such as green lights or red flags. Additionally.” In an age where executives are increasingly being held to the fire for company performance and profit. compiles. the distribution of this information can be accomplished–without changing existing databases–across networks and the Internet using only a Web browser. such as increased revenue. key users can expect to obtain reports compiled in a fraction of the time. precise. Furthermore. Dashboard systems. Data dissemination is greatly enhanced when interactive data visualization solutions. Instead of spending valuable energy and efforts on the task of coming to such conclusions. 3. it is an invaluable tool that can aid. it cannot give answers as to what that data ultimately means for the company or how it should affect decisions. While an executive dashboard ac- quires. which pinpoint successes or problems within the company. They do not necessarily provide executives analysis of such data. Conse- quently. The human element of decision-making is a vital part of business activity and should never be minimized or forgotten. expedite. Business leaders are employed fundamentally for their ability to look at trends and patterns and use their knowledge and expertise to make the right de- cision for the company.

and Quality and Customer Satisfaction on the scorecard. “The Operator of the restaurant can view the scorecard and instantly understand how they are doing according to the five factors. UT 84042 / 801-805-9400 / www. and coloring such as green. which makes it easier to understand and use. We had to devise a way to collect. and consistently providing the resources their key people need to play to their strengths and improve. average transaction size and so on. The scorecards are generated dynamically and populated with information pulled from data warehouses. a charting and graphing software to create an application called the Drive-Thru Per- formance Report. they log on to the Chick-fil- A Intranet to obtain the information that is relevant to them. The chain needed a way to grab their attention and present the information in a very easy. “The Drive-Thru Performance Report was the capstone of a larger effort. Senior Manager of Technical Architecture and Operations. It relies on the dynamic nature of Corda’s underlying technology to display the information.” The Operators set the benchmarks or goals. understandable way. Chick-fil-A uses PopChart to graphically display the five main success factors including. WHITE PAPER Case Study Chick-fil-A Increases Productivity Using Corda CenterView Data Presentation Solutions in their Restaurant Scorecard As Chick-fil-A’s slogan says.” CORDA Technologies feels the same way about corporate data. We do this by using trend lines.com .200 restaurants in 38 states. When they have the opportunity to sit down at their computers.74 billion. the scorecard is instantly updated. condition and display the data. purchased PopChart®. just the best ways to present data. Background: With about 1. their time is extremely valuable because they are constantly being pulled in every direction in the store. “I want my sales to increase 15% this year. Talented staff. Corda’s PopChart was a great delivery mechanism. visionary executives and properly implemented technology have all played a key role in the success of the company. We use a custom java code to extract the data appropriately and pull the data out of our data warehouse.” If they go in and change that number. it didn’t invent data.” Taylor said. the scorecard has a customized background on it with the chain’s corporate 350 South 400 West / Suite 100 / Lindon. It has strong capabilities and performs well at displaying the data graphically and interactively. The company has also implemented an innovative restaurant-level scorecard. Additionally. People.corda. Financial Return. such as. the home office acts as a services firm for the 1. Vision. sustaining its 37-year streak of consecutive sales gains. The restaurant Operators are busy people. They also needed to add a dynamic component to some of the information for real-time delivery. “We Didn’t Invent The Chicken. Excellence and improvement have been words to live by.” Data visualization and presentation at Chick-fil-A has seen a remarkable evolution and Corda has been an integral part in providing the tools to turn data into actionable infor- mation. Challenge: At Chick-fil-A. Just The Chicken Sand- wich®. yellow and red for individual metric items that communicate quickly where the problems and success areas are. How did they do it? By focusing on who and what works well.” Taylor said. “Reporting on this type of data in this format was new to us. Solution: Chick-fil-A’s relationship with Corda Technologies began a few years ago when Chris Taylor. Sales and Brand Growth.200 individual restaurants and their Operators. Chick-fil-A recently reported 2004 system- wide sales of more than $1. “We have literally dozens of additional metrics that flood into the scorecard that culmi- nate in the five success factors. which is ev- idence of a departure from their historic methods of reporting metrics. in fact Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A was recently honored with the Best Drive-Thru in America award for the third year in a row. The Drive-Thru Performance Report lets the individual restaurant Operators see how their peak hour of drive through sales performance compares with the rest of the chain or other stores in their same segment over the previous five days. The report allows Operators to track and measure traffic count.

” Taylor said. which is what we want. Highwire™. save and share pages without the worry of losing any of the information that is being displayed on the Web. This will always be visible to help ensure they take care of their people right away. if a store is not connected. Also they are able to repro- duce a Web page with enhanced features such as the replication of headers on each page to make better sense of a table that runs over several successive pages. Wayne Salter. and one we have become very accustomed to. There are usually a small number of computers in the stores. Additionally. Highwire converts Web pages into PDF’s so people can print. and the reports need to be accessible to them as well. we were very excited about it the first time we saw it because we recognized the value we could gain by being able to convert Web pages into printable PDF documents. if they can get something to show on the screen. “Highwire has been invaluable. “We are building out a huge Wide Area Network that needs a lot of monitoring. Chick-fil-A has taken several steps to both improve communications between the home office and store Operators. if they pass it through Highwire it comes back as a PDF. Salter said the next project on that front would include Corda’s OptiMap™. for instance. UT 84042 / 801-805-9400 / www. it will show a red light or if an entire region is down we will be able to identify it quickly and take the necessary actions to fix the problem.” Salter said. people don’t really have to think about it. Salter said Highwire has been a very quick and easy solution to printing only the sections of a Web page the Operators want to print because extraneous links and banners waste ink and paper. “We have seen a large use for Highwire. Now. WHITE PAPER branded scorecard imagery. What’s Next? The Chick-fil-A Technical Architecture and Operations team includes the Networking group. especially since there are plenty of people at a store who don’t use the computer at all. So. Taylor’s team also uses PopChart to communicate with its restaurant Operators regard- ing the progress of new stores that are under construction (see example at right). they can print off the reports and put them up on a bulletin board to share with their team members. Each piece has different measurements that show whether they are on.” “I can’t even list all the places where we use Highwire. Chick-fil-A has also benefited greatly from another Corda solution. This is called the “Under Development Timeline Chart. etc. We have decided to make it intelligent and to have the nodes at the individual stores report on their status. Conclusion: In recent years. which is a five-piece puzzle that represents the success fac- tors. payroll. above or below target.” Taylor said. which is a software solution that ties data into interactive maps. With Highwire. The next step is to plug this live data into OptiMap and display the informa- tion in a map of the US with points for all our stores. a unique server-based HTML to PDF conversion solution. Highwire has become a standard part of our corporate environment. This will allow us to quickly identify problems. “People all over our organization benefit from Highwire from the application developers to the analysts to the store Operators.corda. Features such as these have proven to be a great step as the corporate home office seeks to improve communication with the Operators. Over the past year they have been rolling out persistent connections to all of their stores that were previously dial up connections. The trouble was that it was difficult to get Web-based reports to look right when printed because HTML doesn’t print well. and to empower those store Operators with the data they need to take their restaurants to the next level.” It shows the construction progress for stores because current Operators are interested in other Chick-fil-A stores opening up around them. a Chick-fil-A Integration Services Senior Analyst. Corda Technologies software products have been the optimal data visualization and presentation solution to help them achieve their goals. said.com . 350 South 400 West / Suite 100 / Lindon. the idea of being able to quickly print off reports is very important. which are frequently shared with the managers who are doing labor schedul- ing. They are planning to put the map generated with OptiMap on a wall monitor in the main operation office so people can see the live data displayed geographically.