There is no one size fits all solution for the Balanced Scorecard automation. Some companies create basic KPIs in Excel and report their scorecards via PowerPoint; some buy complex performance management software. Every business chooses the tool for their needs, learn why people use BSC Designer, and how they use it to automate their business scorecards.
Automate scorecards with BSC Designer
I have been trying to figure out how to automate scorecards. I learned about this product and decided to use and implement this software for trial. It gave brilliant results and I would opt for the professional edition in the future. I suggest managers to use BSC Designer software – it will optimize your time and perform good results.
Mark Mifcom, M&M Import/Export, San Diego, CA
A note from developers:
Mark, thank you for your note. Surprisingly, but our main competitor in scorecard automation are spreadsheets. Unfortunately, spreadsheets are not suitable for scorecard design, especially when the project grows. BSC Designer allows automation of scorecards focusing not only on KPIs (which is in most cases an obvious task), but on strategy maps, business objectives, and dashboards.
- A recent survey showed that the business scorecard project automated with a spreadsheet as being more likely to fail, while scorecard projects supported by a professional business performance software helps businesses to perform better.
For those who are limited in a budget and are starting with their business scorecard project I suggest starting with a freeware edition of BSC Designer – BSC Designer Light. In this tool you’ll find all of the basic functions one need to manage with KPIs. Once a project grows, one can update software to Standard or PRO. The Balanced Scorecard project file will be the same. The difference is that in the interface of the software one will find more functions.
In BSC Designer any type of a business scorecard can be automated. And for sure, the most popular one is the Balanced Scorecard. Other users reported that using this framework one can actually translate top level vision to employees.
We are looking for the ways to improve the BSC Designer product even more. If you tried building scorecards with BSC Designer, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. What reports, chart, automation feature, or importing function do you need?
Choose Balanced Scorecard (BSC) application
In the meantime and prior to taking a final decision on what BSC application to adopt, it was decided that colleagues will, by way of benchmarking, look into other software applications available on the market… Initially, 32 software applications had been suggested for benchmarking, but later they were short-listed to 12…
To make sure a software application meets our needs, 16 criteria have been used in doing the benchmarking. On the basis of the following criteria: cost, interface language, upgrading, customization, and training, the subcommittee decided to opt for BSC Designer for its multiple-language feature and cost-effectiveness…
Check the full text in “Strategic Planning: The Quest for a Balanced Scorecard“.
“Perspectives” Volume VI, Issue 1, April 2009,
by Abderrahim Agnaou, Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI)
A note from developers
It was really interesting to read about the application choice process used in this university. We are glad that the final choice was BSC Designer. I’d like to discuss some details that other visitors of our website would benefit from.
One of the key parts of strategy execution best practices involves company employees in the process. We believe that it is not possible without automation software. And what is more important, the automation software must speak your language. That’s why BSC Designer is localized to the most popular European languages, as well as to Arabic and Chinese. We did the localization with the help of Alconost, who are professionals in software localization. The most challenging task was the translation of specific strategy management terms. I believe that the localization was a success, as among users of BSC Designer are business professionals from all over the world.
As for the cost, we are trying to be flexible here as well. There is a BSC Designer Light, as a free edition that can help to start with KPI/BSC projects. We know that it is primary used for prototyping and teaching purposes. Once the company decides to take the next step in the BSC process, it can follow one of the suggested implementation plans and choose the correct number of Standard and PRO licenses. Finally, if company decides to use BSC Designer Online, then it is possible to enjoy the software as a service model, paying just a monthly fee without any additional maintenance costs.
As for training, we follow this principle: if a customer asks a question then we will answer it in detail. If another customer asks a similar question, then we need to create a good video and text instruction that will answer the question. As a result, all major functions of BSC Designer video manuals are available.
Also, our experts can help with some theoretical questions of the Balanced Scorecard, and the best idea to find the correct information is to check our articles library.
Visually appealing, impact-full Balanced Scorecard software
We are hoping to create a business environment for our company that is well controlled, easy to manage and fun to operate.
Roy Travers, Managing Director, Talent Consulting, Harare, Zimbabwe
We have found that:
(a) The amount of support given by your technical department is excellent, almost to a flaw. The response time is generally good and feedback is effective,
(b) Functionality of BSC Designer product is logical, and fairly easy to understand,
(c) Add-ons such as dashboards etc. are visually appealing, impact-full, and relevant.
The training guides, various links, tutorials and so on are useful and assist in the overall understanding of the product. The marketing of the product is good and access to your various websites is easy.
Purchasing of the product is relatively hassle free, efficient and non-threatening. We were pleasantly surprised by the quick response time following our purchase and will not hesitate to recommend your product to other interested parties.
We are still at the early implementation stage and will be in a better position to comment further on your product when we have had more experience in its use.
A note from developers:
Thank you for your feedback. With the Balanced Scorecard the software needs to be followed by a detailed training course, if not, users fail to understand this complex concept. That’s why we provide various articles on the topic and training guides.
One of the goals of the software is to show end-users a big picture of what’s happening in the business. That’s why with every release we are trying to make it even more visually appealing and provide users with more information about the Balanced Scorecard project.
Lately, we have improved dashboards and strategy map functionality. It is important for anyone who use the Balanced Scorecard and various KPIs to understand the difference between performance monitoring and progress tracking. For sure, the software supports both approaches.
We do recommend you to try the latest version of BSC Designer and hope you obtain great results with the Balanced Scorecard concept.
An excellent tool to handle strategic data
In the first step, I used BSC Designer to handle some strategic data in my IT-Department (money, user, availability, development). When I’m more firm using the tool, I would like to introduce it to our financial department for their needs.
Robert, IT-Manager, Gemeinde Wettringen, Germany
Being new to BSC, I was surprised by the easy handling of BSC Designer. Even for a newbie like me, it helped me to understand rapidly, not only how the product works, but to apply the concept of the BSC.
For until now, I have mostly “played” with the program enough to derive what advantages it will give to me, and for the moment I’m more than satisfied with the feedback I get from the program. I’m rather sure that BSC Designer will even become a daily tool for me.
A note from developers:
With BSC Designer it is easy to start a project. Although there are many functions in BSC Designer that support various sides of the performance management (KPIs, Dashboards, Strategy Maps, Alerts, etc.), a user doesn’t need to start using everything right away. We know users that find the KPIs tab especially useful and focus their daily activity on this tab. Others prefer to work with the strategy map, and they create several maps; some of them are detailed process maps, and others are general strategic maps.
As a developer we understand that there are various ways to achieve the same business objective. That’s why we provide necessary performance management tools. The choice of the specific tool depends on your current business needs.
I believe that one of the most important applications of BSC Designer is using it to see the big picture. There are a lot of operational tools in your business that already provide a huge number of measures, but it is important to focus on what really matters. For example, in Google Analytics there are a lot of metrics. One can use “monthly visitors count.” From the first look it sounds relevant, but actually this metric makes more sense if you can see the change of the monthly visitors in dynamics so that you can have an idea about whether or not your website visitors are growing or not.
Another important application that is often overlooked is an alignment of KPIs with business objectives and action plans. That’s what makes BSC Designer a tool that you will use every day. Don’t think about it as a project management software, but as a control center that you use to effectively manage operational goals and plan future improvements.
Balanced Scorecard Software Organizes Important Material
We use the Balanced Scorecard concept in our marketing project. Particularly, it includes KPIs for supply accountability, and KPIs for hygiene accountability. Our current business objective is formulated as increase lines of business to increase production.
Kent Haynes, Pres, Durango co
I have used the Balanced Scorecard concept without software and there is a lot of material to keep track of. The software makes it easier to keep it all in one place and organized. I just need to know more about what the software can do and how it works. I am just not that familiar with it yet.
A note from developers:
Hello, Kent. You are right, Balanced Scorecard software (for example our BSC Designer) helps to manage things so that you can finally focus on what matters (design of the strategy, guiding policies, KPIs, dashboards, visual maps, action plans) instead of spending time on organizing things.
BSC Designer has a lot of features that one needs, so I suggest you use the following plan to explore all features of BSC Designer.
- Start with BSC Designer PRO. Even if you don’t have a budget for PRO edition, start with it. Compared to the Standard edition it has much more features. I suggest that you explore all of them. You will have a 30-day trial period to do this. Then you can decide if you want to use PRO, Standard or the free Light edition.
- Start with Samples. In the installation directory of BSC Designer you will find a folder called “Samples.” There you will find some sample BSC projects to review. Once the project is opened check out KPIs, Business Goals and Strategy Map tabs in BSC Designer.
- Create your objectives. Follow some examples and try creating your own projects. Don’t start with KPIs, start with business objectives. Go to the “Business Goals” tab and make sure you have several top-level business objectives which contain more detailed objectives. When you switch to a strategy map, BSC Designer will build up a map automatically. When you will manage it with a program, you could crate everything you need right on the strategy map. Here is a detailed guide about creation of strategic maps.
- Add your action plan. Now after you have answered the “Why?” question of the strategy, it is time to add more details into the “How?” part. With each business goal you can associate an initiative that one can follow.
- KPIs! Now you know what you need to do and why you need to do this (don’t forget to link business objectives with each other showing their cause-and-effect connections). The question is how do you know that you are on the right track? It is time to add KPIs. You don’t add KPIs from lists taken from the Internet, as they are pointless if they are not connected to your strategy. You need to come up with KPIs that are relevant to your business objectives and action plan. Read more about good KPI design in this article.