A composite view displays multiple pieces of architectural data in formats that are relevant to a specific decision maker. By drawing information from numerous sources, this presentation technique provides a holistic view for the audience. Contrasting two or more snapshots next to each other allow for an easy comparison of composite views. These views will be comprised of related architectural views that directly support each other (i.e., system functions in an SV-4 that support activities in an OV-5). The view can be graphically displayed in three dimensions to tie the pieces of architectural data together.
Purpose and Audience
Composite views allow decision makers to view important relationships in data without reading through large pieces of architectural data. Most business owners are interested only in their particular business area and its immediate interconnections. By placing relevant parts of architectural data directly in front of the audience, it is easier to gain a comprehensive understanding of the data in an efficient manner. The audience that will find these views most useful are:
- Process Owners who have direct staff oversight or technical systems expertise and require high level conceptual briefings.
- Designers-implementers of the initiative, who require information detailing specifics of implementation.
- Builders-System architects who require details on how to implement and use products.
The example composite view figure illustrates a simplified example of a Composite View. The activity "Determine Accession Type" is supported by the system function "Maintain Candidate Data" via User Interface. The information to support this system function includes "Accession Type Information" and "Other Candidate Information". The activity is carried out by a "Human Resource Specialist".
Example Composite View
The figure below illustrates a final version of a different Composite View. Four architectural samples are displayed, and a three-dimensional Capability label lets the audience know the common tie.
Another Composite View
Composite views are ideal for explaining interconnections between Architectural Descriptions. The audience will more easily understand relationships in data by viewing manageable slices of mappings all at once. The developer of these views can interchange Architectural Descriptions easily, highlighting the most important parts for the audience. Composite views are neither wordy, nor oversimplified. Additionally, they can be used by a wide range audience.
Dashboards integrate abstracted architectural information for a given business context and are generally geared to displaying information required by a specific stakeholder. A well-constructed dashboard consists of a status, trend, or a variance to a plan, forecast, or budget (or combination thereof). Dashboards are generally user friendly, providing easy access to enterprise data to enable organizations to track performance and optimize decision-making. High-level decision makers generally like dashboards because dashboards are frequently used in other business contexts besides enterprise architecture, and decision makers have a familiarity with this presentation tool. In addition, the dashboard is formatted so key stakeholders can review valuable, insightful information at a glance to manage their organization's performance goals effectively.
Purpose and Audience
The visual qualities of a dashboard allow executives and managers to identify which of their business areas are successful and which are problem areas needing immediate attention. Like all enterprise architecture presentation techniques, the dashboard must be designed with the stakeholder audience in mind and should be geared towards the audience's specific goals. One of the most important goals in creating a dashboard is to deliver a highly intuitive tool that yields greater business insight for decision makers.
Since dashboards display highly aggregated and abstracted information, they are typically targeted to senior decision makers. However, they are also a great tool to share with junior architects to ensure they understand key business drivers and concepts as they take a deeper dive into their respective areas.
The visualization techniques table illustrates various visualization techniques that can be used to create a dashboard.
||When to Use
||Pie charts can be used for representing small sets of information. However, they are generally considered poor data visualization for any data set with more than half a dozen elements. The problem with pie charts is that it is very difficult to discern proportional differences with a radically divided circle, except in the case of a small data set that has large value differences within it. Pie charts also pose a problem for labeling, as they are either dependent on a color or pattern to describe the different data elements, or the labels need to be arranged around the perimeter of the pie, creating a visual distraction.
||Pie charts should be used to represent very small data sets that are geared to high-level relationships between data elements. Pie charts present summary level relationships, and should be used carefully for detailed analysis.
||Bar charts are an ideal visualization for showing the relationship of data elements within a series or multiple series. Bar charts allow for easy comparison of values, share a common measure, and are easily compared to one another.
||Bar charts are best suited for categorical analysis but can also be used for short duration series analysis (e.g., the months of a year). A presenter needs to be aware of the risks in using bar charts if there is a data set that has one element with a large outlier value; this will render the visualization for the remaining data elements unusable. This chart scale is linear, and will not clearly represent the relationships between the remaining data elements.
||Time series line charts are most commonly used with the time dimension along the X-axis and the data being measured along the Y-axis.
||Use line charts when you would like to see trends over time in a measure, versus a side-by-side, detailed comparison of data points. Line charts are ideal for time series analysis where you want to see the progress of one or more measures over time. Line charts also allow for comparative trend analysis as you can stack multiple series of data into one chart.
||Area charts can be considered a subset of the line chart, where the area under or above the line is shaded or colored.
||Area charts are good for simple comparisons with multiple series of data. By setting contrasting color hues you can easily compare the trends over time between two or more series.
|Tables and Lists
||Tables and lists contain large amounts of data that can be categorized into a list or divided into a table but cannot be easily compiled into a visual or numerical analysis tool.
||Tables and lists are best used for information that either contains large lists of non-numeric data, or data that has relationships not easily visualized or does not lend itself to easy numeric analysis.
An illustration of the use of these techniques to create a dashboard.
A dashboard is effective in demonstrating the number of systems supporting an activity or modifying a data element. It can provide data from a variety of sources to create a multi-disciplined and multi-dimensional performance feedback. It combines standard components and building blocks to create an executive dashboard that meets particular needs.