in BSC Designer
most business professionals the word "scorecard" is strongly associated
with Key Performance Indicators
(KPIs). Strictly speaking, a typical business scorecard
consists of two parts:
- The "management" part
that includes business goals and strategy maps, and
- The "measurement" part
that is supported by the indicators.
"KPIs" tab in BSC Designer is for the "measurement"
part of the scorecard, there you will find:
- The indicators with their performance figures
- The panel to edit the settings of an indicator, and
- A number of visual charts and diagrams
interface of "KPIs" incorporates many functions, including those ones
that allow you to drill down to the data from other scorecard projects,
calculate performance and progress for indicators and for the whole
Create a new indicator
KPI scorecard starts with an indicator. To create a new indicator click
the "New indicator" button on the toolbar.
BSC Designer it is easy to:
- Move indicator in the KPI tree,
- Change its name,
- Change an icon associated with it,
- Add a detailed description,
- Assign a person to be responsible,
- Specify a required update interval or
- Add a specific initiative.
panel below allows adjusting an indicator's settings.
Value of an indicator
The Value field
shows the current state of an indicator.
- The value of an indicator is time-specific. Choose a
date in the calendar on the right to enter a new value or view an
- Most indicators are updated monthly
or quarterly, go to the "Update interval" option in
"Initiatives" to choose an appropriate update interval.
to the value field there
is a "KPI Data Source" button. Use it to choose a
data source for an indicator.
- The data can come from a database, it can be
calculated, and it can be imported from MS Excel or from other
scorecard project. There is a section of the manual that explains all
of the supported data sources in the details.
Min, max, and performance
pairs of the input fields "Min ... Max"
and "Baseline ... Target"
allow specifying the range of values for an
indicator, so that the program can calculate the performance and
the progress of an indicator
- The results of these calculations are displayed in
the KPI tree.
illustrate the difference between
these fields let's take the indicator "Number of qualified
leads" as an example:
- What might be the minimal number
of leads that a business generates weekly? Managers might have a bad
week, when no leads were generated, so we put "0" in the "Min"
- What might be the maximum number
of leads that a business generates weekly? It depends on the business,
let's use 30 leads for this example.
- If the only goal of the manager is to monitor the
current business performance, then we have enough data for the
calculation. Taking into an account "Max," "Min," and "Value," BSC
Designer calculates the performance. If
business generates 12 leads per week then the performance is 40%.
Sometimes you might want to enter only the current value and compare it to the baseline and target. In this case use "Simple mode" check box.
small "stop-light" near the value field
indicates the state of the indicator visually. Click on the stop-light
icon to customize the thresholds for this indicator. For example, you
can tell the program that 40% performance is actually a red zone for
this very indicator.
Baseline, target, and progress
Using the "Max" and "Min" fields is fine for the monitoring purposes,
but what if business executive has some strategy to increase the number
of leads. In this case, he or she might need to track not the
performance, but the progress. To
track the progress one needs to compare the current value to
the starting point (baseline) and to the end point (target).
- The goal of an executive might be to start with 12
leads per week (baseline) and to achieve
the level of 20 leads per week (target).
does BSC Designer help in this case?
- Managers generate 12 leads per week. BSC Designer
calculates that the performance is 40%, but the progress is 0%, as the
number of leads did not improve yet.
- Managers of the company did an excellent job and
improved the number of qualified leads from 12 to 18. What is
the performance and
the progress achieved?
The performance is 60%, as we measure it on 0..30 scale; the progress
is 75%, as we measure it on 12..20 scale and we have almost achieved
the target goal 20 lead per week.
Planning progress with Target Wizard
the real business situations a manager doesn't expect a sudden growth
of the number of leads. On the contrary, a slow growth along a
6 month period is expected. It means that the ultimate goal (20 leads
per week) is actually distributed along the 6 month period. To reflect
this simple idea on the scorecard, there is a "Target
wizard" button next to the target field.
- Now, for each control point a manager will see if the
indicator increases its value accordingly to the previously defined
plan, and if some correction is needed.
can learn the details about how BSC Designer calculates the score in
"Scorecard and KPIs 101" article.
if indicator's value should be decreasing with
the time? For example, a manager is measuring "Response Time"
for a customer support, which should be minimized. In BSC Designer you
need to choose "Minimize value linearly" in the "Optimization"
- You will see then, that with an increase of
the value the performance drops, and with the decrease of
the value it grows.
an "Optimization" option it is possible to select more complex
optimization functions that were discussed in a separate section of the
the beginning we were talking about two indicators: the
number of leads and the respond
time. It would be much easier to understand what indicators
are about if one could set "Leads" and "Hours" as a measure units. In
BSC Designer there is a drop list "Measure"
where you can choose one of the predefined measure units or add a new
- In our case the measure units will be "Leads" and
- It is also possible to use some generic measure units
like "%" or "score."
is a "weight" field
among indicator's properties. Some business executives find it
especially helpful as it allows to specify the relevant importance of
an indicator compared to the importance of another indicator.
- Let's create an indicator "Support quality" and put
inside "Time to answer support queries" and "First contact resolution
rate" indicators. Are these two indicators equally important
for the "Support Quality" score? Common business sense tells us that
it's better to give a good answer that will solve the problem than to
just respond quickly with some useless answer. Still, we need to
respond quickly enough, otherwise the good answer will come too late.
- The "Weight"
field helps to explain this idea to the program. The
weight of "Time to answer support queries" might be 3, while the weight
of the "First contact resolution rate" might be 7. In this way
we tell BSC Designer that these two indicators have different impact on
the "Support Quality" score.
The maximum weight of all indicators on one level is defined in File
> Document Properties > Main > Max Weight. You can select the
command in the KPIs menu. BSC Designer will update the weights so that the sum of the weight would be equal to Max weight.
Containers for indicators
important comment about the example above.
- The "Support quality" indicator that we created, was
actually a container for
two other indicators.
container is similar to an indicator - it has the value and the
performance. The difference is that the value of
the container can be calculated using the values of
- In the example with "Support Quality" it did not make
sense summarizing two different measures - "hours" and "leads" to
calculate the value of the container. For that very reason
we calculated the performance of the container as a "weighted
average" of a child's performance and used this performance
for the container's value.
- If the container is something like "Sales in the
region" and inside there are indicators for the revenue generated by
local offices, then for the value of the container it is possible to
use a sum or an average of the child' values. In this case, the
performance of the "Sales in the region" container can be calculated as
a weighted average of the child's performance, or if you have some
specific performance criterion in mind, you can use container's value
and other parameters such as baseline, target, min, and max to
calculate the total performance.
of the indicators on the scorecard are taken into account when BSC
Designer calculates the performance. Sometimes we might need to have an
indicator on the scorecard, but we don't want to take it in into
account when calculating the performance of the project. In this case
right-click on the indicator and choose "Ignore in
to say that most options of the indicator are customizable:
- Stop-light colors and dynamics thresholds can be
- Columns of the KPI tree can be customized
- Even an indicator's icon can be customized!
scorecard helps executives focusing on important performance figures.
Certain visual means help in understanding the state of the indicators
- Various charts show the current value, trend, and the
performance of an indicator
- The indicators can be aligned with business goals and
visualized on a strategy map or a dashboard
- A wide range of initiatives can be aligned with an
- It is possible to assign a person responsible and
required update interval
- Various reports help presenting indicators in a
visually appealing way and share them with others
- With an account in BSC Designer Online you can always
have copy of your KPI scorecard available online
the "Testimonials" section of BSC Designer website you can learn that
this product is recognized by many business professionals as a
must-have tool for KPI scorecard. Most people start the scorecard
project in a spreadsheets program. This is fine for a prototyping
stage, but when the project grows and changes, spreadsheets are getting
really hard to update and maintain. BSC Designer is a professional
software for business scorecards, you can use it for a prototype stage,
for a single scorecard projects, as well as for a complex business
scorecards with many KPIs and cascading.