Digital Dashboards


Jon Robb talks about using RSS to build digital dashboards:

The concept is simple.  In addition to getting new posts from news sites and other weblogs, RSS feeds can contain data from corporate systems.  Sales data, financial data, supply data, data from partner systems, etc.  Using this method, employees could get up to the minute data from multiple applications on a single webpage -- a personal digital dashboard.

I think this is a great concept, but I have a few thoughts:

  • First, the idea of using RSS (or something like it--I might want more structure) for dashboards is great.   I'd love to see constantly updated dashboards with all the relevant informaiton that a manager needs and, of course, this would be different for every manager.  I once heard someone describe the perfect content of the dashboard as the answers to the 10 questions that manager asks every morning to do their job.
  • Why wouldn't I just use a portal tool like the Novell portal product to aggregate the the data on a personalized basis for people.  I'm all for experimentation and weblogs and all, but the fact is that in an enterprise you want things to be simple, straightforward, and not cause too many support calls.  Having everyone use Radio just for the new aggregator wouldn't be a good move.  Now, if there was a reason to have them all doing weblogs as well (and I'm sure that there are) then that's a different story.  Still not sure I'd pick a desktop based product over a server based product though. 
  • To be useful for this purpose (and many others) I also want to be able to control more easily the layout of the news that gets aggregated.  For example, I don't want the daily sales figures getting all mixed in with the NYT technology page list.  I want is in a box in the upper left hand corner that turns RED when the figure is below target. 

Still, I'm intrigued by the possible uses of RSS, etc. in the enterprise.