At Proctor & Gamble, executives decided that providing a data-rich environment to its managers meant creating a "decision cockpit" that focuses on a specific business function or market segment. The idea, says P&G's director of business intelligence, Patrick Kern, is "to get at operational business strategies, like how to run a plant from day to day".
While a decision cockpit sounds like a dashboard, P&G's approach includes blogs, search and collaboration tools, including the ability to "follow" blog authors in whose thoughts or research a colleague might be interested. If the answer to a question is not available online, a manager can locate and contact an expert. The cockpits also include visualisation tools and exception reports to speed up decisions by making the meaning of the data obvious at a glance. A decision cockpit now covers around 56% of the company's business processes according to Mr Kern. As a result of this approach, P&G has drastically reduced the volume of email previously used to distribute reports. Moreover, Kern says, now that knowledge workers can retrieve information themselves, they are making far fewer requests for custom reports than in the past.