Janelle Estes has an interesting article Seamlessness in the Cross-Channel User Experience describing how to support users as they start, work on and complete a task across multiple “channels”, such as a desktop, mobile app, the digital world and the real world.

She provides helpful examples of companies that support this experience well, including Home Depot, where a user interested in a particular product can:

  • Search for it on the Home Depot website.
  • After selecting a particular model, find a local store that has it in stock
  • Request an email with that information
  • Upon arriving at the store, use a mobile phone to read the email, and find the aisle number and quantity in stock.

The article is well worth reading and has implications for the BI space as well. A well designed dashboard might:

  • Allow users and analysts to perform discovery about their daily job, e.g. find accounts receivable that are overdue
  • Upon drilling down to a particular customer with an overdue account, view an actionable display that includes:
    • Customer contact information
    • Details about the overdue invoices, sufficient for the customer to track them down
    • Invoice age bucket information
  • This information could be produced in a form compact enough to be emailed to the customer with a note.

I can imagine any number of such task-oriented dashboards that improve focus, clarity, productivity and effectiveness.  A key phrase to use might be actionable dashboard.