KPIs in BSC Designer

Video manual  Video manual is available for KPIs in BSC Designer.

For most business professionals the word "scorecard" is strongly associated with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Strictly speaking, a typical business scorecard consists of two parts: 

KPIs in BSC Designer

The "KPIs" tab in BSC Designer is for the "measurement" part of the scorecard, there you will find:

The 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 scorecard. 

Create a new indicator

A KPI scorecard starts with an indicator. To create a new indicator click the "New indicator" button on the toolbar. 

With BSC Designer it is easy to: 

The panel below allows adjusting an indicator's settings. 

Value of an indicator

The Value field shows the current state of an indicator. 

The properties of a KPI in BSC Designer

Next to the value field there is a "KPI Data Source" button. Use it to choose a data source for an indicator. 

Min, max, and performance

The 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 respectively. 

To illustrate the difference between these fields let's take the indicator "Number of qualified leads" as an example: 

Stop-lights

A 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.

Stoplights and dynamic in BSC Designer

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). 

How does BSC Designer help in this case?

Planning progress with Target Wizard

In 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. 

You can learn the details about how BSC Designer calculates the score in "Scorecard and KPIs 101" article.

Optimization formula

What 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" drop list. 

Select one of the predefined formulas

With an "Optimization" option it is possible to select more complex optimization functions that were discussed in a separate section of the manual.

Measure units

In 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 ones

Relevant importance

There 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.

For example:

The maximum weight of all indicators on one level is defined in File > Document Properties > Main > Max Weight. You can select the "Balance weights" Balance strategy tree 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

One important comment about the example above. 

A 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 child indicators. 

Disable Indicator

All 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 formulas" option.

Conclusion

Needless to say that most options of the indicator are customizable:

KPI scorecard helps executives focusing on important performance figures. Certain visual means help in understanding the state of the indicators even better:

From 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.