Balanced Scorecard keeps progressing. An increasing number of companies came to understand benefits of BSC which are not restricted to increasing net profit. Only successfully implemented Balanced Scorecard initiates changes in any company. However, as known, implementation of BSC is quite a complex process, and there are so many companies that failed to make an effective use of Balanced Scorecard and strategy maps concept. Obviously, there must be a person in the company who is responsible for BSC implementation and strategic planning.
Recently, many successful and world famous companies have started looking for strategy management officers. This is a relatively new position, and it mainly appeared due to progress of Balanced Scorecard ideas in the business world. As known, every successful company must have strategy otherwise it has very few chances of retaining competitive advantage in the market. Thus, in simple words, a strategy management officer assumes responsibility for development and implementation of company strategy. Sure thing, he or she is not the only employee in the company who takes charge of all strategic issues on the company. A strategy management officer is rather a coordinator. This person must have profound knowledge in strategic planning but at the same time he or she should be able to use theory in practice, i.e. have some hands-on experience in strategy development and implementation of strategy.
Strategy management officer is mainly responsible for:
- Development and activation of company Balanced Scorecard. It is impossible to list all responsibilities implied by BSC development in one article. It would be fair to say that a strategy management officer should control the entire process: from formation of a BSC team to choice of KPIs and implementation of BSC in the company.
- Alignment of strategies. As a rule, mostly huge companies and corporations make a decision to implement BSC. At that, some of them start implementation process on a department level, while others begin from top to bottom. Naturally, every department should have own strategy which must comply with company strategic goals. In other words, every decision in the company should contribute to implementation of strategic goals. Strategy management office analyzes strategic plans submitted by heads of departments and checks them in the context of compliance with company strategy, values, goals etc. Strategy maps are really helpful here as they display cause and effect ties which make strategy maps easy to read and comprehensive.
- Develop strategy. Well, this is perhaps the most important stage in strategy implementation since if a wrong strategy is chosen the company will drive at nowhere. Strategy development is quite complex process consisting of numerous stages. A strategy management officer has to organize the initial discussion and establish an effective feedback system in order to agree on a unified strategy. Every employee in the company should be given a chance to express his own vision. Strategy development requires involvement of both top managers and heads of company departments. Strategy must be development taking into consideration company’s strengths and weaknesses, so SWAT analysis is recommended for any company that is on the verge of developing a new winning strategy. Both internal and external factors influence the process of strategy development, and strategy management officer needs to evaluate them in order to develop a well balanced and realistic strategy.
- Strategy review. It is very difficult to make long term forecasts in the modern business world. That is why strategy or strategies of a company sometimes need to be amended, depending on changes in internal and, what is more important, external environment. Appearance of a new rival, changes in market conjuncture or financial crisis are very serious reasons to amend company strategy and Balanced Scorecard. Strategy management officer is responsible for continuous monitoring of markets. He or she should also control situation inside the company, paying a special attention to efficiency of chosen business processes.
- Strategic communication. Implementation of Balanced Scorecard in any company implies the fact that an effective and efficient communication system must be established. What do we mean by strategic communication? Well, this is definitely not a friendly chat between two department chairmen. Strategic communication is provided by an effective feedback system. Analysis of obtained results is very important in BSC maintenance. The sooner evaluation results are analyzed by strategic management officer, the sooner relevant decisions will be made. A feedback system should work in two directions: from bottom to top and vice verse. All initiatives and suggestions from ordinary personnel must reach top management, as well as orders and resolution of top managers should come down to lower management level as soon as possible.
- Strategic initiative management. No strategy is static. As said above, it is constantly evolving. All strategic initiatives must be reviewed and evaluated. Strategic management officer is responsible for review and approval of strategic initiatives.
- Integration of company strategic priorities with its other function. A company strategy should be the reason for company existence. It should not be imposed from the top. Thus, every strategic goal should not conflict with everyday tasks and duties of ordinary personnel. The company develops in a variety of directions, each of them having own representation in a strategic map.
Balanced Scorecard requires sufficient monetary and human resources. The position of a strategy management office is very important, especially if the company made a decision to implement Balanced Scorecard. Use of special software is highly recommended in the work of strategy management officers. As they will have to operate huge volumes of information, BSC software automates processes of gathering information. Besides, it offers a strategy management officer a real picture of what is going on in the company.
AKS-LABS offers strategy management officers efficient BSC software - BSC Designer. This is a very effective tool that automates the process of BSC creations, choice of key performance indicators, introduction of amendments to set of KPIs etc.
BSC Designer is a simple but very powerful tool used for strategic planning purposes. This software will help strategy management officer have his/her finger on the pulse. BSC implementation is full of pitfalls and hardships, and BSC Designer is a great helping tool that makes this process fast and efficient.
As already said abode, BSC implementation starts with strategy development. Once the strategy is developed a set of key performance indicators in the four (or maybe more) perspectives is developed. With BSC Designer this process takes a few minutes. This software makes it possible to create own indicators or choose templates (if such templates are supplied with the program). Very often, different companies pay different attention to key success factors, and thus some indicators are more important than the others. Strategy management managers can set own weighs for indicators, as well as categories of indicators. Whenever any changes are introduced total performance is automatically recalculated.
Users can switch between strategy tree and strategy map views. A strategy map is a perfect demonstration of what needs to be achieved to implement strategic goals. Strategy maps also show cause and effect ties between measures and KPIs. As strategy management officer is responsible for alignment of company strategy with department strategic goals, BSC Designer can help trace any discrepancies within seconds.
The program provides description to every KPI, so even if a strategy management officer forgets something he or she can always look up definition of a required KPI in the relevant pane. BSC Designer also offers various analytical tools for key performance indicators. It is possible to use different models for tracing changes in KPIs. This helps make necessary decisions before small problems evolve into catastrophes.
In fact, BSC Designer is a collection of helpful tools that make work of a strategy management officer easier and faster. Each category and set of KPIs for various business areas comes with a detailed description. Besides, if BSC Designer is used by several employees, explanation of new indicators and categories can be saved in the program, so that new users can analyze changes and new elements of BSC.
Strategy management officers are always interested in very precise and clear information. They love reports crammer with graphs and figures. Well, BSC Designer is perfect software in this context. Once you have a look at the report generated by BSC Designer, you will understand that this is the most complete report on company BSC that can be ever made. The report displays information on every indicator, category, dynamics of changes, analysis of each perspective etc. A strategy management officer should not waste hours for calculations and making of presentations. BSC Designer report offers the most complete information that can be further presented to company board and top-management.
Unlike similar software, BSC Designer does not require its users to have special IT or financial knowledge. The program is designed in such a way to that even a non IT-savvy person can successfully operate it. Purchase of BSC Designer is like ordering a special operating console which will display company’s progress (or regress) on the way to implementation of strategic goals.