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Death of the Airline Dashboard — Which KPI Solutions you really need these Days

I'm genuinely convinced that airlines need new KPI dashboard solutions. And I'm pretty sure that the title of this blog post may confuse you. Am I not the one who runs a company that develops airline dashboards? Am I not the one who continuously pushes the importance of real-time dashboards and KPIs?

Absolutely correct. It’s still me, and I am not running through galloping schizophrenia. But if you have been following the content I put out over the last months, you’ve recognized that I very carefully used the word dashboard. On top of that, I more and more changed the focus to a KPI, information, and especially attention-driven discussion (take a look here)

Indeed, I have no intention to kill the dashboard, and there are places where dashboards —still— make sense. Just think about Operations Control Center, Network Control Center, or any other area where you set up a 1 to n information flow — meaning one information source, centrally available for a broad audience. For these areas, a standard KPI dashboard solution still works perfectly.

Why We Need New KPI Dashboard Solutions

When defining new KPI dashboard solutions, two aspects are of eminent importance. First, I strongly believe that the dashboard information shouldn’t be limited to a selected group of persons at your airline. On the contrary, you should aim for the goal to create a superior level of situational awareness across your entire airline. Accordingly, you should aim for solutions that allow everybody at your airline to take care of your operational performance. Secondly, I am pot-committed that getting your staff to care about the airline’s operational performance is much more a game of “getting the attention” than creating perfect KPIs.

Mobile Apps And The Internet Drive New KPI Dashboard Solutions

So let me break that down for you. In today’s world, we’re blessed with an enormous opportunity. The internet and particularly smartphones enable radical new approaches. And I really want you to think about that and understand that:

The mobile internet and smartphone usage enables you to deploy entirely new KPI dashbaord solutions. It lets you push out relevant (operational) information at a much larger scale to a much larger audience than ever before.

You literally can push out real-time KPIs plus additional operational details to anyone at your airline. Executed correctly, this will massively change your operational performance. Why? Because this concept allows everybody to care about your operational performance.

That means new KPI dashboard solutions should aim for one essential goal. It is about pushing out content to the smartphone of your airline staff. By doing so, you create awareness for your operational airline performance. And subsequently, you can improve your most relevant KPIs.

Airline Dashboards — How The Reality Looks Like?

Now what I see in reality are mainly three types of airlines.

Group One — Relying On Outdated Solutions

The first one still handles that topic as it is 2005. They keep preparing Excel or Powerpoint reports and keep sending out PDF documents to a limited group of people by email. That approach contains three obvious mistakes.

  • Usage of the wrong tools
  • Providing information to a limited group of people
  • It focuses on information rather than getting the attention

I really want you to understand that: If you want to improve your airline’s operational performance, this approach won’t help you. This group literally closes the eyes to reality. Or in other words, they do not incorporate how information is used and attention is traded today. On the contrary, they keep relying on outdated KPI dashboard solutions.

Group Two — Not Paying Attention To The User

The second group of airlines sets up KPI dashboard solutions that allow employees to access operational information and KPIs on mobiles. Sounds good initially. The problem starts when looking at it in a bit more detail. It usually turns out that these solutions do not meet today’s needs of employees. They are complex to use, not seamlessly integrated, poorly visualized, and so on. Although slightly better than the first group, the result is more or less the same: Nobody pays attention to the information.

Group Three — Overthinking KPIs

And finally, the third group — my favorite one (ironic). Airlines spend a whole bunch of time defining KPIs and information. At the same time, they completely forget to think about how to get the attention of their employees.

New KPI Dashboard Solutions Offer So Much Untapped Potential

Airlines have to understand the possibilities today’s technology is providing. And I want to get very tactical with that. When defining new KPI dashboard solutions, airlines have to spend time thinking about how they can utilize these technologies and the contained possibilities.

We are living in an age where attention is the single most important asset.

By setting up mobile apps that gain the attention of your airline’s employees, you will be able to discover an entirely new level of situational awareness and operational performance. It is actually that easy. Define and implement KPI dashboard solutions that focus on the attention of your employees (and not only of executives). On top of that, focus on concepts that constantly push real-time operations information and KPIs to your employees’ smartphones. And finally, sit back and witness how your operational performance boosts.

New Solutions Don’t Need KPI Dashboards Any Longer (At Least For Most Use Cases)

And I am coming back to my initial statement. KPI dashboards and underlying concepts are no longer required in that context. A dashboard neither is the way your employees consume information nor where their attention is. This accounts at least for most of your employees. That’s why I think dashboards still will be used in control centers — but except that you have to utilize today’s technology.

The good thing: Once you understand that and start executing, it will bring you a substantial competitive edge — which is far beyond airline dashboards.

What Do You Think?

Which KPI dashboard solutions are you utilizing? Always happy to receive your feedback and thoughts. Just hit me up on Twitter or get in touch on LinkedIn.

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Benjamin Walther

CEO, Frankfurt

Benjamin is Information Design's CEO and a proven content-maniac. Besides running a successful business and developing pioneering ideas, he's dedicated to writing blog posts and creating content.

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