Is there a good strategy for how to develop scorecards and dashboards?

This is a continuation of a transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft entitled "Designing a Good Dashboard." The speaker is Mark Flaherty, CMO at InetSoft.

Mark Flaherty (MF): I am a huge believer in the incremental approach. You can start by understanding the vision and work on version 1 of the primary scorecard or dashboard. Deploy that to a hundred people. Then see what can be improved.

Then roll out version 2 to the remaining thousands of people. So implementing an incremental approach to rolling out dashboards and learning from users along the away, that’s definitely the way you want to approach to a BI project.

What is a scorecard?

Whenever you apply a threshold and best practice to whatever performance data you are looking at, that’s a scorecard. For example, in healthcare, the government administration is setting what are the thresholds for how a hospital qualifies to get future business from Medicaid or Medicare.

They have to have a certain level of infection rate, customer satisfaction, and quality of care. Once you apply to those mandates to your data, that’s a scorecard. So it’s a matter of context. You are measuring something and comparing to a particular corporate goal or benchmark.

That’s really what a scorecard is. Quite honestly, the hardest part to make the scorecard is really finding what those KPIs are, not designing one. That’s the real challenge.

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What is the history of scorecards?

The balanced scorecard is a strategic planning and management system that is used extensively in businesses, government, and nonprofit organizations worldwide to align business activities to the vision and strategy of the organization, improve internal and external communications, and monitor organization performance against strategic goals. It was originated by Drs. Robert Kaplan (Harvard Business School) and David Norton as a performance measurement framework that added strategic non-financial performance measures to traditional financial metrics to give managers and executives a more 'balanced' view of organizational performance. While the phrase balanced scorecard was coined in the early 1990s, the roots of the this type of approach are deep, and include the pioneering work of General Electric on performance measurement reporting in the 1950’s and the work of French process engineers (who created the Tableau de Bord – literally, a "dashboard" of performance measures) in the early part of the 20th century.

The balanced scorecard has evolved from its early use as a simple performance measurement framework to a full strategic planning and management system. The “new” balanced scorecard transforms an organization’s strategic plan from an attractive but passive document into the "marching orders" for the organization on a daily basis. It provides a framework that not only provides performance measurements, but helps planners identify what should be done and measured. It enables executives to truly execute their strategies.

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