Insurance Technology Featured Article

Dashboards Bring Enterprises Enhanced Operational Awareness

November 13, 2012
By TMCnet Special Guest
Cristian Landivar, Software Developer, JDi Data

Operational awareness and the ability to quickly access work-flows and records are two imperatives in the insurance claims management process. Claims professionals and insurance adjusters need claim data on the fly to make decisions as situations develop. The answer to the problem is as easy as implementing a dashboard function into their claims management software.

But what’s a dashboard? If you ask around for a definition, you’ll probably get as many answers as people you ask. Some will compare it to the gauge panel on a vehicle, others to the control center monitors used by NASA to track space flights, and then everything in between.

With so many definitions, it's not surprising that the solutions given by software designers are varied and broad. So to narrow our definition and elicit the essence of a dashboard, let's start with one question: What are the essentials of a dashboard?

Here is a starter list of the most important features: 

  • Eye Candy: First, the most obvious. A dashboard must have color graphs, charts or other sorts of visual indicators. Using colors and eye catching graphics is a plus if not a must.
  • Instant Satisfaction: A dashboard should provide instant understanding of its underlying data. A user should be able to understand and use the indicators without having to think too much. 
  • Just-In-Time Data:  A dashboard should display fresh information at that instant. In the case of the speedometer in a car. The user wants to know the current speed of the car, not the speed three hours ago or last week. In the case of an enterprise, users may want to know the status of their workflow at that instant to make decisions as the situation develops.
  • Operational Awareness: The above characteristics then bring us to this main and most important function of a dashboard. The dashboard is a depiction of the current and actual situation of the company, operation or system. Having the above characteristics at their optimum will give the user better operational awareness. If the data is not fresh or the graphics are too complex, this awareness is lost.
  • Data-Jumping:  Last but not least, this is the natural after-the-fact function of a dashboard, especially of an interactive dashboard. After-the-fact because the user has already been updated of the operational situation and now wants to act by jumping to a piece of data or workflow right from the dashboard. Reducing clicks required to find a record reduces time spent searching and increases productivity of the system.

This breakdown makes it a bit clearer of the value it brings to any enterprise. It’s for sure a great improvement from the old traditional reports that were the norm of applications of the past. How did we live without dashboards for so long, you ask? It's been a slow progress from the old reports menu and their long and slow reports. Ten years ago, most systems had an extensive report menu with all kinds of options, but only one look:  a plane table of row after row of text. These reports were usually the domain of business analysts and not the rank-and-file users. They were usually pulled every quarter or end-of-year.

n those days, businesses did not have a need to react or know their current situation, they had plenty of time to analyze and consume their historical data.

Now, this is not only a nice to have but a real necessity for most operations.

It has been a long road to the dashboard, but now that they’re here, one thing is certain: they are here to stay. Leave a comment or start a conversation; I’d like to know your definition of a dashboard, or your opinion of the role they play in our new breed of cutting edge applications!

JDi Data has provided quality insurance claims processing software that improves the management of claims, risk and customer service since 1992. Our mission is to surpass legacy software company limitations by containing claim costs, streamlining critical internal processes, and providing insightful business information that enhances operational efficiency. Our team of strategic thinking professionals, 21st century skills, industry knowledge and unmatched experience delivers the most complete solution possible.

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Edited by Braden Becker

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