We are at a Fortune 500 enterprise, consultants and vendors are lining up to meet different stakeholders. The term analytics is uttered in one conversation, and it is followed by 'dashboard' in the same thread. People seem to have spent a lot of time in enterprises at understanding that displaying 'insights' in nicely formatted beautiful gauges, and charts is key to business. 'Let's get an army of consultants, get that one view of the customer and then let’s build a dashboard!'
Dashboards were nice to display key metrics at the highest level to key stakeholders, but as you get deeper and get more interactive with enormous data sets, what you put into the dashboard becomes restrictive. Let’s face it, the number of variables to track grows, screen real estate is limited and invariably people want to adjust things on the dashboard and interact with it. 'Show me just my region', 'my product categories', 'I need alerts too'. This is where the dashboard construct breaks apart.
Furthermore, even if you did serve up the right insights and exceptions, aren’t you basically just creating a good 'rearview mirror' tool since what you are seeing has already happened? This is where the world of AI, Advanced Analytics, and yes Bots is converging. As Google, Microsoft , Amazon, and Apple enhance their personal assistant technologies, similar technology and human interactivity is converging with the advanced analytics world.
A bot is a simple form of interactive response system. We see bots today when we use web based chat for help desk and support, or when we use interactive voice response IVR’s. The same interactivity can be taken to the next level and instead of the static dashboard, why not have a bot be the interface point for other analytics. Already, the bot is looking at your profile when you check your balance to ask for what you owe on your bill as it is reaching into other systems. Why can this not be the interface for broader analytics? Furthermore, why can this not be the interface into predictive analytics and even prescriptive analytics?
The dashboard construct is limited in how it is put together and how it can be changed and it begs for more interactivity, bots may be the way to change the level of interactivity. Instead of that HTML5 guru piecing together a beautiful dashboard, it may be your personal assistant (bot) putting it together for you!