How To Select The Best Balanced Scorecard Software For Your Company?
Here is a checklist of the 12 features your Balanced Scorecard software should have. Studies show that combining the Balanced Scorecard with the right business intelligence tools can generate results up to four times greater than using either approach by itself.
The Balanced Scorecard is a management tool for company leaders. It allows them to continuously monitor and manage all of the company’s most important value-creating processes and key performance indicators. Therefore, having up-to-date information is essential for its successful management.
There are several web-based software packages that have been built with this in mind. These software solutions allow the company to collect, arrange and manage real-time information relevant to the company strategy and portray it in a way that helps the decision-making process.
However, not all software is created equally. There are certain features that they must have in order to offer the best support.
Key Features for Balanced Scorecard Software
Web-Based – Ideally, the software should be able to be accessed through a web browser (preferably it should be compatible with a wide range of browsers). This means being able to access the Balanced Scorecard and company data from any computer or mobile device, without having to download anything.
Easy to Use – The best Balanced Scorecard software solutions allow users to enter data manually into the web interface, upload from a CSV or Excel file, or automate data collection with a database connection. Keep in mind that, the easier the software is to browse, the easier and faster it will be adopted by the organization’s members.
Strategy Maps – The Strategy Map is a key component of the Balanced Scorecard. Therefore, the selected software should allow users to easily design Strategy Maps just as one would create a PowerPoint slide. Once created, this Strategy Map should update automatically as new data is entered into the system, and allow users to track key performance indicator performance and trends.
Cascaded Scorecards – Aligning the organization to the strategy requires the organization to cascade the Balanced Scorecard to its multiple units, departments and key executives. The selected software should allow for unlimited cascaded scorecards, as well as have the ability to extract information from lower-level scorecards to feed higher-level ones.
Communication – The selected product should allow users to enter comments on each component of the scorecard (mainly performance indicators, objectives and strategic initiatives), either general, or period-specific. This way, users will be able to complement the data with qualitative analysis and suggested courses of action, and these comments will be available for all other users to see, offer additional insight and follow-up on. Additionally, the software should also offer reminders when indicators need new information, as well as notifications in case an indicator’s performance falls below the acceptable threshold.
Scoring and Weighting – A scorecard tool should allow users to define the acceptable thresholds for their indicators and objectives. It should also be able to weigh the structure elements, either automatically (in equal parts) or custom-set, in case an element is more relevant than its peers for predicting strategy success.
Strategic Initiative Management – The Balanced Scorecard software should also be able to manage the company’s initiatives. It should be possible to create tasks and milestones, assign them to individuals or groups, and tie their performance with the objectives or indicators they impact. It should also be able to create sophisticated Gantt charts.
Report Writing – This is an essential requisite for monitoring the strategy. A good solution will allow users to select pre-fabricated reports or customize their own. It should be able to slice and dice data and create presentation graphs to be used in Strategy Review Meetings by the executive team.
Integration to Desktop Tools – The Balanced Scorecard software should allow users to export the data, graphs, reports, and scorecards to desktop applications like Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Briefing Books – The tool should be able to create online briefing books to consolidate data for management. They should be able to contain graphs, reports and additional documents that may provide valuable insight into the company’s performance. Once the briefing book is created, it should be easily viewed on-line or exported to common file formats.
There are countless Balanced Scorecard software solutions available on the market. They come in all shapes and sizes ranging from desktop applications to ERP modules. Selecting the right one for your organization will depend on your specific requirements. However, the chosen software should be easy-to-use and implement within the organization.
At TRISSA we offer cost-effective Balanced Scorecard software that allows our clients to successfully monitor and orchestrate their strategy. We also provide our clients the expertise they need to help them clarify their strategy, translate it into operative terms, align their organization and establish an effective follow-up mechanism that will allow them to achieve greater results.
Author: Trissa Strategy Consulting
Source: Intrafocus. "The Balanced Scorecard and Technology." September 2012. Online document. July 2013.