What is a KPI-based management and Balanced Scorecard Concept?
KPI management is an effective business concept that is based on measuring the performance of a company. The Key Performance Indicator (KPI) can be defined as “effectiveness measurement indicators” that show important company activities which achieve Strategic Goals. This appears to be very simple — you define what you want your company to become (i.e., how is it going to grow, what are the priority objectives) and then create indicators to measure how fast you are achieving the Strategic Goals; such as what are the vulnerabilities and strong sites of the processes, what is needed to be changed and what works just fine as it is.
Balanced Scorecard is a control and executive corporate system that allows a company to develop an effective method by using not only a good measurement system, but by also paying attention to other aspects of business theory. It is part of the KPI based Management and it was put together by Harvard Business School professor Dr. Robert S. Kaplan, along with business consulting specialist David P. Norton in 1990.
Perform precise planning. According to Balanced Scorecard, the business needs to turn the strategic planning process into one of the key functions. It needs a precise theory that produces exact measured values which make it possible to create realistic forecasts.
Balance your business activities by using not only financial measures, but also with marketing, process and human resources. The Balanced Scorecard concept focuses on an organization’s strategy from four different points of view or perspectives, with each of them potentially containing its own sub-perspectives and exact goals. The perspectives are the following:
- Financial perspective;
- Customer perspective;
- Innovation and learning perspective;
- Internal process perspective.
A well-implemented BSC provides linking between internal business processes and a company’s strategic goals that is needed to attain advanced strategic effectiveness with the company’s success as the outcome.
Balanced Scorecard is aimed to link the strategic and operational activities of the company so effectively, that every employee (even at the lowest hierarchy level), can understand exactly what the strategic goal he or she is helping to achieve when working on any task.
BSC Designer is a software tool that provides automatic use of the Balanced Scorecard concept and other KPI-based management systems. Its most important advantage is the ease in which it can be understood and used, as well as all of its powerful features. BSC Designer makes it possible to create projects that would support any KPI-based Management concept (including Balanced Scorecard). It automates most implementation and maintenance processes, leading to a reduction of costs for the concept’s use and also improving its benefits.
BSC Designer is available in three desktop editions that have different pricing schedules which include: BSC Designer Light (freeware with very limited functionality), BSC Designer Standard (allowing for many more functions and having a mid-level pricing) and BSC Designer Pro (a fully-functioning tool for real professionals that absolutely warrants its higher price). We provide different editions of our tools so that they can become good solutions for almost any business activity, from small home businesses to huge corporations.
BSC Designer Online is a great solution for multiple project uses. It is perfect for users who travel a lot and for transnational and online businesses. BSC Designer makes it much easier to coordinate through the Internet. This powerful edition can be purchased though special credits, allowing customers to use it with a limitation on time and the number of projects that they can work on. You can check out the difference between functionality of the all four editions of BSC Designer (both online and desktop ones) in this comparative chart.
Basic KPI Management Functions
Basic KPI management provides a group of functions and tools that forms the entire set of software products called BSC Designer. Those functions are available in all four editions of BSC Designer: Light, Standard, Pro and Online.
All four editions of BSC Designer provide you with an easy-to-use and understandable tree of subcategories and indicators. The tree can be presented in both simple and column view modes. You can create and edit indicators’ and categories’ names and descriptions with just a few clicks! Read more about the Tree of metrics
Manage the importance of categories and indicators by changing their weight values. By default, the weights are set to “1,” but you may change the weight of every element in a range from “1” to “10”: the higher the weight value, the more important the elements are. You may also change the Max Weight number to customize the range of weight values. Read more about Weight concept in BSC Designer here
Look at stop lights and other signal icons to capture the indicators that happen to require your attention more than others. Signal icons also portray the dynamics of performance changes. Find more information about stop lights and other signal icons
Manage measure units of the indicators, select “Score” or “%” as the measure unit or create your own (for example, “$ / hour”).
Learn more about measure units
Manage indicators in time, using the calendar and time points. Each of the indicators may be changed once per day. After the project is filled with values for different time points, the dynamics are shown in the Time Chart which is available for each of the indicators and categories (including the entire project). Learn more about Time points management
Standard and Pro Edition Functions
“Standard” functions – group of functions available in BSC Designer Standard and Pro editions. It includes several different types of reports, diagrams and charts, as well as other useful features.
One of the most useful and detailed reports that reveals the dynamics of the performance and the details for the elements of the tree is the HTML report. It only takes a few clicks to generate an HTML report. You can then print it, send it to anyone via email, upload it to the remote server so you can share it worldwide or just collect it. This report is also available in BSC Designer Online. Check out the full report. Find the full description of HTML Report
Export to MS Excel (Excel Report) is helpful to export the data from BSC Designer to MS Excel so that it can be used to share the project’s data with colleagues or other individuals that are involved who do not have BSC Designer (i.e., outsourcers). By using the Excel project, you can manage the basic aspects of indicators and categories, such as weights and values. In other words, MS Excel Report can be used as an alternative to BSC Designer for those that are not equipped with the tool, however it does not provide the same functionality as BSC Designer. Learn more about MS Excel report
Export to MS PowerPoint or PowerPoint Report — this is a perfect function for making presentations. With just a few clicks, you will be provided with a *.ppt file that contains slides that show the basic information about the project, the project’s overview (a chart that shows names and descriptions of the project’s elements) and a full review of every element in the project’s tree (including Time chart and Gauge diagram). This function could be really helpful to make clear, informative presentations of the activity’s performance to Top Management, as well as to Shareholders and Investors. Read more about MS PowerPoint Report
Optimization graph visualizes the optimization direction of KPIs which also reveals the current value with its percentage for the indicator. Optimization graph does not work with such tree elements as categories and the project; only indicators’ data can be visualized with its assistance. This graph can be very helpful to see what function is being used to measure the metric’s data. In a Standard edition, it could be linear minimizing or maximizing functions, but in the Pro edition you will be able to create your own functions that will also be presented on this type of graph. Read more about Optimization graph
Diamond diagram is a diagram based on the radar chart method. It can be helpful to see which part of the whole project or a subcategory appears to be weak and which parts are the strongest (according to their actual performance and targets). By determining the weaknesses through this diagram, you will be able to pay more attention to them which makes your business performance balanced. Learn more about Diamond diagram
Use KPI attachments to associate files with indicators. Any type of file can be associated with indicators to provide you links to additional information such as: task assignments, charts, detailed instructions and authorization data (long text files), multimedia files (images, sounds, videos) and many more. The attachments are not used in performance calculations, but are aimed to put together links for all of the additional information that relate to the task that is associated with the indicator. Learn more about KPI attachments
Professional Edition Functions
Professional functions are available only in BSC Designer Pro edition. They include additional types of reports and charts, more options for you to customize functions for your specific needs, unique features that link indicators and categories between different projects, database linking to projects using SQL, transferring data, and many other functions to meet almost any demand that your business might need for Balanced Scorecard.
Report for selected item makes it easier to work with HTML reports – it is possible to select any item, such as a subcategory or indicator, and create an HTML report that provides a single description without mentioning the rest of the items in the project. This function is helpful in many cases, including reporting to an upper manager / investor / shareholder about the exact task or group of tasks, as well as how it’s been changed during the last year (for example, financial growth). Find more about reporting for selected item
Overview report makes it clear how the map of operational goals looks like. It does not show any values; simply the names of the categories and indicators and their descriptions that are put together in an easy to understand colored diagram. Read more about Overview report
Dashboard report can be an alternative to the common HTML report, presenting other types of diagrams, such as the “Diamond” diagram’s usage instead of “Time” chart. You can choose what type of report is needed in different situations and for different purposes. While common HTML reports aim to present the performance’s dynamics that might be interesting for shareholders, Dashboard report refers to the current project’s performance values which may be better suited for an upper executive manager. Read more about Dashboard report
The ability to customize the HTML report helps to accommodate your specific needs. You can select the types of diagrams and charts that are to be shown and the order of presenting them — all with just a few clicks! Now you can make the HTML report look just like Dashboard – you may choose the diagrams and charts among all six types that exist in BSC Designer. Learn how to customize the HTML Report with BSC Designer Pro
Gauge diagram is another visualization method of performance. With this diagram, it is easier to ascertain actual performance and compare it to where it should be. It also has colors that clearly reveal the actual performance as “bad”, “middle” or “good” (the boarders of the colors can be set by the user). Read more about Gauge diagram
Pie performance chart is an easy to understand circle graph that shows the performance percentage for the whole project, as well as for all of the subcategories. When viewing this chart, it becomes clear which component makes a business project stronger and weaker. Learn more about Pie performance chart
Secure your data with passwords function of BSC Designer. Different types of passwords can be set to protect pertinent data from being viewed or edited. Since BSC Designer mainly deals with most vulnerable information, this function can be very helpful in securing it.
Read more about corporate data security and passwords in BSC Designer
Weight chart makes the exact weight for every element in the entire project apparent. It can be easily understood that the “Financial perspective” category has a weight value of 40% for the whole project. But sometimes it’s hard to calculate the exact meaning of the indicator that is part of the subcategory, which in turn is a part of another subcategory, the Financial Perspective and the whole project. But with the help of the performance chart, this problem can be solved; you will see the weight of each element (subcategory or indicator) in regards to the whole project. Learn more about Weight chart
The Strategy Map tab combined with the operational dashboard makes it easy to create and edit the Strategy Map (while reviewing the strategy) which is an extremely important component of the Balanced Scorecard concept. In other words, you can use BSC Designer Pro not only as a dashboard for operational tasks, but also as a full Scorecard, which also includes strategy planning tool such as Strategy Map. Read more about the Strategy map
In the Pro edition, mathematical formulas for measuring performance values are not limitedto the basic linear functions (as it is in Standard), but can be customized to fit your needs in regards to finding out how to measure each of the indicators. An easy-to-use Formula Builder makes it possible for specialists (i.e., financial managers) to set formulas for each indicator or to use the standard ones. Read more about Formula Builder
Have the ability to delegate and import indicators which will allow you to easily organize the Cascading Scorecards. Since the tool is installed on every computer that is involved in the chain, the process of building the links between BSC projects will not take much time. When the cascading is used, a CEO can see up-to-date information about their VPs actual performance, VPs could give tasks and monitor for the lower level of management hierarchy, and so on. Check out the example of building cascading scorecards, described in the following articles: Improved Cascading.
Establish linking between the BSC project and almost any type of existing database using SQL Indicators. This tool becomes very useful when you need to connect to ERP’s or other databases that support the whole company’s processes or just a few activities (i.e., accounting). With the easy-to-use SQL query builder, even non-IT professionals can handle it (if the database is in suitable format, please contact our support service to learn more). This function is also available in BSC Designer Online edition. Read more of how to set up SQL indicators