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Monitoring business performance and tracking relevant insights in today’s digital age has empowered managers and C-level executives to obtain an invaluable volume of data that increases productivity and drives down costs. In fact, data has become the raw material on that every strategic decision is based upon while reporting software creates the environment to act on generated information swiftly and accurately. Enter the world of a KPI scorecard dashboard.
Tracking the success KPIs based on your needs and the time frame you select while comparing your values can be done with simple yet effective scorecards. Here, we will look at the definition of scorecards, see how they differentiate from dashboards, and dig deeper into KPI scorecard examples from business scenarios that are possible to apply to different departments throughout your organization—tools you can also use as a roadmap for online data analysis.
Let’s get started.
What Is A KPI Scorecard?
A KPI scorecard is a term used to describe a statistical record that measures progress or achievement towards a set performance indicator. It gives decision-makers the ability to combine specific metrics in order to gain an overview of a complete performance scorecard.
A dynamic scorecard dashboard provides an easy-to-understand visual representation of KPI performance and, as such, empowers decision-makers to make strategic tweaks that will streamline their organization.
Data is only valuable if it’s presented and analyzed effectively. KPI-based scorecards are designed to enhance the data analytics process and help users derive additional value from very specific functions, tasks, or objectives. This makes a scorecard in business analytics a data-driven microscope for sustained organizational success.
Scorecard analytics is essential to gaining a practical understanding of your KPIs and learning whether what you’re measuring is adding any value to your company.
The Benefits & Features Of Scorecards
Now let's examine some key scorecard report benefits and features. There are a number of business scenarios in which they are useful, whether a specific KPI scorecard, performance scorecard template, or BI scorecard that utilizes a KPI software for generating valuable insights. Since there are 2 main (or umbrella) types, we will now explain the characteristics and benefits of each one.
1. Traditional scorecard
Traditional scorecards provide an at-a-glance, general overview of an entire company, department, team, or person. This ‘broadness’ is completely dependent on the goal that is set, whether from a client or an internal manager. Benefits of these performance tools include:
- Time period: This kind, or a KPI scorecard, has a time period as a basic necessity. Time periods can show previous time periods or just an overview of a static one.
- Grading systems and totals: The performance level is based on a grading system, for example, of an employee that summarizes his or her scores to the overall objectives through an employee scorecard template we will discuss later.
- Comparisons: They can vary between people, departments, set goals, previous ones, or budgets.
Now that you have a fundamental understanding of traditional scorecards let’s take a look at the advantages of working with balanced-type scorecards.
2. Balanced scorecard
A balanced scorecard template offers a comprehensive snapshot of a company’s components, cogs, and operations as a whole. A balanced scorecard KPI, for example, presents data not only on the external sales and services of a company but also on its many internal functions perspectives.
The four key areas of a balanced scorecard include:
- Finances: It includes relevant financial KPIs to assess a business's fiscal health, such as the sales, costs, and income involved in different activities. Typical financial objectives relate to profitability, growth, and shareholder value. This is measured by assessing progress on a monthly or quarterly basis.
- Customers: Delivering value to customers through innovative experiences, products, and services is a top priority for any organization. That said, tracking how you are doing in that regard becomes critical. Metrics for this purpose include customer satisfaction, acquisition, and retention.
- Internal processes: While customer-based indicators are a relevant point, it is the internal actions that make your product or services good and hence, your customers satisfied. For this reason, internal productivity metrics such as absenteeism rates, overall labor effectiveness, and others represent an important section of a balanced scorecard.
- Innovation and learning: The first three sections we just mentioned are the basis for businesses to define the most important parameters for competitive success. This section includes actions the company takes to grow effectively, such as sales in new markets, development of new products, or employee training.
Often, such a KPI-centric tool is referred to as a balanced scorecard dashboard. It's possible to present a number of values from one central location. A KPI balanced scorecard includes top indicators per perspective (usually the most measurable KPIs). Objectives are clearly written (i.e., cut spending or increase revenue) while targets are included as numeric future values to show the comparison between the current status and target or compare with the previous values. It must also include current values within a set time frame.
The benefits of a balanced model include:
- Enhanced strategic planning: It can improve strategic communication between the cause and effect relationship. That means that building a strategy and identifying outcomes can be clearly correlated by structuring a complete picture.
- Improved management decisions: By using KPI scorecard software, a company is forced to create scorecard metrics for its strategic objectives. This will ultimately ensure that managers measure what actually matters and thus increase the quality of information needed to make better KPI reports and data-driven decisions.
- Advanced performance reporting: A structured approach by using performance scorecard examples that we will explain later enables companies to enhance the KPI management processes that bring transparency of information internally and externally by creating meaningful management reports.
- Increased organizational transparency: The use of these tools also helps in creating a renewed sense of internal cohesion and transparency across the entire organization. If everyone has access to a digestible sample scorecard for performance analytics and understands the value of the KPIs that are being measured, it will become easier to connect, collaborate, and share insights. As a result, you’re likely to see your productivity and internal innovation levels soar, which, in turn, will push you ahead of your competitors.
With a simple scorecard template, you get to real grips with your strategic planning, communication, and decision-making processes. It will ensure that you can squeeze every last drop of value from your KPI data, creating actionable insights that will propel your commercial success rather than merely treading water or shooting in the dark.
Oftentimes, scorecards and dashboards are used as synonyms, especially a balanced scorecard dashboard, but we have to differentiate the two since they do have some similarities and can be connected, but they are 2 different sets of data analysis and performance tracking. Let’s take a look at that in more detail.
Scorecards vs. Dashboards In Business - What Is The Actual Difference?
Many people talk about the 'dashboard scorecard,' but does this expression even make sense? There are numerous differences between scorecards and dashboards, and now we will concentrate on the most prominent ones to get a distinct picture of the two.
- Purpose and updates: The purpose of an online dashboard is to monitor performance, while a scorecard is concentrated on managing the performance. Professional dashboards have integrated intelligent alarms that monitor data on a real-time basis, while scorecards do that periodically (daily, weekly/monthly/quarterly). Let’s say you’re sitting in a meeting, presenting data to relevant stakeholders. A dashboard will immediately set an alarm (during the meeting) if a specific business anomaly occurs. A scorecard will tell you the same information, but one week later. You can also see how many values you miss until you reach the set targets, and, therefore, you can decide on which steps you need to take.
- Decision nature and influences: A live dashboard is used daily in companies as they provide and offer an easy-to-access operational view of success while scorecards focus on companies' policies. Data in dashboards are used to provide more efficient day-to-day management of teams, expenses, and resources, while scorecards always compare the performance to the set target values. While there are numerous types of dashboards that can also be used for different needs and interconnect with scorecards, it might make sense to use both to get the most out of the business information and overall picture.
- Measures and parameters: Scorecards are most commonly focused on tracking KPIs in comparison to a set target. However, since their data is not updated on a real-time basis, they can only look into this information periodically, as mentioned earlier. That means that scorecards will often aim at the overall progress (towards meeting targets or measuring the efficiency of a particular department) and strategic measures relative to KPIs, thus enabling managers to make informed decisions on a larger scale.
- Audience: Another difference between these two analytical tools is the audience. While both of them can and should work across departments to achieve performance-tracking success, they serve different purposes for different audiences. On one hand, and due to their long-term perspective, scorecards are mostly used by C-level executives to optimize the productivity of the company. On the other hand, dashboards can be used across departments to track day-to-day operations.
- Data collection: As stated before, the scope of performance scorecards is to measure the progress of the organization in areas such as finances, customers, and internal processes. This means the data collection process can include a wide range of areas and operations. On the other side, dashboards are concerned with KPIs that need to fit on one screen and not include any distractions. Therefore, the collection of data is more focused.
It is common to use the term dashboard scorecard since the two can be interconnected, as mentioned, but here is a visual summary of scorecards vs. dashboards to get a clearer overview of the differences:
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From this table, it’s clear that dashboards and scorecards have some distinct differences. Perhaps the most significant is the long-term, almost “slow-release” nature of scorecards. While it is possible to extract some real-time information from scorecards, these are primarily designed for developing innovative long-term strategies that will ultimately make your company more adaptable to change.
We have established the definition, general characteristics, benefits, and the difference between a scorecard and a dashboard. Now we will discuss and focus on business scenarios they can and will improve if used correctly and how.
When To Use Scorecards? Real Examples Explained
Now, it’s time to look at some real-world KPI corporate scorecard examples.
Our first example of a balanced scorecard in business below could be used for a large or mid-sized company. We have made an overview of the financial goals, learning and growth, and customer and internal objectives.
1. Balanced scorecard – how is my company performing?
Let’s see what the first of our balanced scorecard examples is telling us by starting with the time frame and financial objectives.
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We have set the target date as December 2018, and we can see on the top of the example above that the current time frame combines the first 11 months of the year. In the example, we can see how and if our targets are being met (or not).
In the financial objective, we have set our yearly targets to increase the total revenue, net profit, profit margin, and profit per customer. The first column shows that our target was set at € 5.458, and our current target shows we have reached € 6.197. The final column shows that we have achieved the target and even exceeded 13.5%. Mission accomplished.
Now let’s take a look at our goal to increase the profit margin. We can see that we have one month left to reach the set target of 25.5%, but we are on a margin of 23%. It is unlikely that we will be able to do so in just a month (we miss almost 10% to achieve it), so our line color on the right side of the business scorecard example shows the corresponding likelihood (you can also see the full legend at the bottom of it). Overall, we can say our financial objectives are performing well, with setbacks in the profit margin that we can use for next year’s planning and company adjustments.
Let’s go to the customer objectives: increasing the number of active customers and signups, sustaining customer retention, and improving overall satisfaction. We see that these targets are not likely or very likely to achieve. It would be possible to increase the number of active customers by launching a marketing campaign that will focus on this goal, but we see that other targets are unlikely or even very unlikely to reach. We can notice that we even lost customers, and our goal was to sustain retention. We fall short of 14.6%, and to reach this target within a month would be extremely hard, not to say impossible. Our customer satisfaction also dropped by 14%, and to improve it in such a short time frame, we can comfortably say it will not happen, and the red line on the right clearly sums it up.
The same analysis we can apply to the learning and growth and internal objectives. Some of the targets are very likely to achieve, and some are unlikely. This can help in our strategic planning for the next year and to see what kind of setbacks we had and how to improve them. If we dig deeper into the daily operations and performance, we might be able to define specific causes that have affected these results.
That being said, our next example will focus on the specific performance of an agent working in customer service.
2. Performance scorecard - benefit from employee scorecards
One of our performance scorecard examples provides a general overview of individual or departmental overall performance. Let’s see this through a visual example.
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Meet Sophie. She works in customer service in Texas, and her overall performance is superb. She has 18 points above target, and she is the second-best customer service agent in the year 2018. Let’s explore what she can teach her colleagues and where she could improve herself even more through an employee scorecard example.
The manager of the department has set the weighting of her grading system based on percentages that are important to the overall positive performance of the department. Her specific performance is divided into the gradings set by averages, customer focus, and the weekly call cycle (also the average number). These main gradings are distributed even more into detailed aspects during a set time frame, in this case, the year 2018. Her target numbers are followed by her actual, so she and her manager can clearly see the exact difference in performance. The next column shows how much she is off-target (also exceeded), and the overall score. If her manager goes into details, s/he can suggest how to adjust her response time and calls per hour to increase efficiency. We can see that her customer retention is 20 points above target which means she could talk to other colleagues who don’t perform that well and share her best tips and tricks. Her solved issues are also on a high level of performance which is extremely important in a customer service role.
Her manager can easily conclude that Sophie is a top performer, and this employee example shows exactly in which aspects.
This employee scorecard example can also be used during and throughout a project or at the end of the project looking back. It is a compact view for project managers, department leaders, and top executives to see how efficiently, successfully, and within expectations the project or employee performance is progressing. If you want to go deeper into call center data analytics, we suggest you read our article on call center reporting.
3. Warehouse KPI scorecard - Monitor your picking & packing
Our next example is a warehouse KPI scorecard that aims at monitoring the entire picking and packing process in 4 main areas: financial, effectiveness, utilization, and quality. By monitoring the performance of these areas in detail, businesses like e-commerce or retailers can efficiently manage their supply chain as well as save money and time with effective processes. Let's take a deeper look at this supply chain KPI scorecard.
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Starting off with the financial area, we first see the pick and pack cost per order. This includes all costs related to picking and packing, for example, the workforce, the packaging materials, or the equipment. As with all other indicators in this dashboard, the costs are compared to a target of last month’s performance. In this case, costs were higher than in the previous period, so it is worth taking a deeper look to lower those numbers. One way of doing this is by analyzing each line of work in detail. Here we can see that line A had higher costs than B and C. A good course of action would be to test different methods on each line and see which one had lower costs in the end. Next to this metric, the dashboard displays the costs of return, this should always be as low as possible since returns are one of the most expensive processes for your warehouse.
Moving on to the utilization section of the pick & pack dashboard is the cost of packaging materials. The goal here should be never to use more materials than you need to since this can increase the overall costs and give your business a bad reputation for not adopting sustainable practices in regard to materials usage. A good strategy here would be to predefine packaging measures depending on the size of the order. This way, you make sure you don’t waste materials by packing small items in huge boxes. Paired with this, we see the equipment utilization, which should never be higher than 90%, as this would mean your employees need to wait in line to use the equipment, delaying your entire order processing.
The effectiveness section of the logistics dashboard aims to monitor the performance of your employees as well as the efficiency of your logistics processes. This is done by measuring the amounts of orders pick and packed per person in an hour and the average length cycle of picking and packing an item.
Last but not least is the quality section. Here, we see the picking accuracy and the return rate; both of these indicators directly impact the costs of returns as well as customer satisfaction. No one wants to order something online and get the wrong item delivered. For this reason, you should closely monitor them to ensure that everything is efficient and you can provide a good quality service.
Let’s go quickly to our next performance template and see what kind of scorecard we can create that can be included in a comprehensive social media report.
4. Marketing KPI scorecard example for social media
This is one of the KPI scorecard examples that is focused on marketing activities performed on social media. We can see an overview of four different social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Let’s see how we perform against our set targets.
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On Facebook, we have defined that our followers’ target number is 2500. We can clearly see that the actual number is 2400 and that we miss 4% to reach our goal. If we compare it to the previous period, we can definitely conclude that we have increased the number of total followers by 2.3%. The same can apply to the number of impressions, link clicks, and engagement. The graph below shows us the trend of our CTR during a 6-month period. If we see that all of our other metrics have achieved our set targets, we can create a campaign that will focus only on increasing the number of followers and therefore complete all of our Facebook objectives.
While every social media platform is different concerning user demographics, engagement times, features, and functionality, by getting your content marketing efforts just right, you stand to boost brand awareness and increase your audience across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Cohesive and consistent, the operational metrics included within this particular example will empower you (as explained in our Facebook case example above) to benchmark your performance across every platform and understand where you need to make improvements.
Here, it’s possible to understand where engagement levels are dwindling, for example. If you notice a negative shift in engagement on a specific platform and you’re below target, you’ll be able to examine the reason why. It could be the times you post, for example. By comparing your performance across platforms and conducting research into best content posting times while consulting additional customer scorecard KPIs to gain a panoramic picture of your consumer-facing communications data, you will be able to boost engagement levels and exceed your targets consistently.
The success of your social media and marketing strategies will have a significant impact on your overall levels of growth as well as long-term success. These metrics will prove invaluable in driving innovation and gaining an all-important edge over the competition.
Similar social media KPIs can be found in other platforms as well, enabling us to adjust our campaigns accordingly.
5. Manufacturing KPI scorecard template
We’ve considered customer scorecards, marketing, and logistics examples, and now it’s time to explore the use of manufacturing-based KPIs. Typically found under the branch of a supplier scorecard dashboard, our manufacturing example provides a high-level snapshot of essential data.
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With a mix of balanced insights designed to help COOs make informed strategic decisions across the board, this tool features relevant indicators for a balanced scorecard. Split into four definitive sections—Effectiveness, Quality/Performance, Production, and Cost/Revenue—this powerful tool drills down into manufacturing KPIs that go the extra mile.
Here, COOs and senior operational staff can benefit from a definitive “at a glance” snapshot of insights centered on the effectiveness of elements, including equipment as well as project delivery and revenue per employee.
Moreover, powerful metrics like production volume provide excellent decision-making tools. This interactive metric offers a working snapshot of what your factories are capable of producing over a certain timeframe (monthly, annually, etc.). By comparing your data discoveries to previous timeframes, you can assess your performance and make effective tweaks that will help you drive down unnecessary costs, streamline your production delivery processes, and create a viable plan B should any of your equipment let you down unexpectedly. Moreover, visualizing these metrics on a TV dashboard will make sure everyone on the team has a strategic overview of the most critical aspects of sustainable growth.
To complement this metric, the dashboard's production downtime KPI will help you continuously enhance your manufacturing processes while making them more financially efficient. If your machinery is out of operation, you can’t produce your products, and you cannot turn a profit. So, in a high-level operational sense, reducing your production downtime as much as possible should be a top priority.
With this digestible and easily quantifiable visual created with online business intelligence software, you can get to the root of the problem swiftly by understanding what percentage of your downtime is attributed to which specific issue or inefficiency. As such, you can take decisive measures to drive down your overall production downtime while making strategic tweaks that will minimize issues, including servicing problems, missing parts, or broken machines.
When it comes to manufacturing, efficiency, and consistency are key. If you’re able to keep everything running fluently while trimming down any unnecessary costs or processes, you will increase your output and improve your bottom line consistently over time.
6. Procurement KPI Scorecard For Purchasing
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By providing a summary of the 5 key areas any procurement department should track to ensure efficient spending, this procurement dashboard scorecard is the perfect overview tool to measure progress against the previous period and spot trends as well as improvement opportunities.
Starting off at the top, the costs savings section covers metrics related to the performance of costs-saving actions. This is arguably one of the biggest objectives for the procurement department, and it is done through different efforts recognized as cost savings and cost avoidance. The first one includes tangible savings that can be accounted into budgeting, and the second one includes any additional expenses that can be avoided, such as investing in equipment maintenance to avoid future costs of damages.
Moving on to the next sections on this scorecard, we get insights into important areas such as operations, supplier and department performance, and spending under management. Each of the metrics included in these sections provides the procurement team with insights regarding their performance. For instance, we can see that the supplier availability is a bit lower than it was last quarter. This is something that needs to be looked into as a lower availability can bring higher consequences, such as an increase in costs for not being able to meet customers' demands. On the other side, we can also see that there is a deficit in employee cost savings compared to last quarter. This is also something that needs to be analyzed in order to find the reasons and optimize.
Lastly, the template provides insights into the maverick spending by the main area. Maverick spend is defined as off-contract spending or spending with a non-preferred supplier. Meaning you cannot benefit from discounts and deals you originally negotiated with your usual suppliers. If this becomes a common practice, maverick spending can lead to high costs for the organization. Ideally, you should keep it lower than 15% and observe it for the different departments.
7. COO KPI Scorecard
Our next example focuses on high-level metrics a chief operating officer (COO) needs to track to ensure all operations are running smoothly. COOs are second in command after the CEO, and they are responsible for managing a business's day-to-day internal operations across departments. In this case, the template is focused on a logistics company, and we will discuss its value in detail below.
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As seen in the image above, the template focuses on 4 key areas: distribution and transport, order management, inventory, and finances. Each of the metrics tracked in the four areas is compared to a benchmark of the previous week and complemented with a trend line of the last 10 weeks to help users identify trends and patterns in the data.
Starting with the distribution and transport area, we get insights into the on-time deliveries (OTD), average dwell times, trailer utilization rate, and average costs. These are important indicators to track as they directly affect the quality of service provided to clients. For instance, we can see that the OTD decreased by 3% compared to last week. A deeper look into the development of the past 10 weeks shows this rate has been decreasing for a couple of weeks. This is something that the COO needs to look into, as it can significantly impact customer satisfaction and retention.
The order management area gives us insights into the perfect order rate, the picking accuracy, and order cycle time, as well as an overview of the total number of orders. Here, we can observe a more positive week-to-week development compared to the previous section. For instance, the perfect order rate and picking accuracy are higher, meaning customers might be getting their orders a bit later than expected but without other issues.
Moving on, we have the inventory section, a key area for the COO to focus on, as poor inventory strategies can affect a logistics business's entire operational system. The strategy here should be to ensure the right levels of inventory are available at all times. This is done through the analysis of historical data, where the COO can identify trends and patterns to define a correct inventory volume. In the template above, we can observe that the out-of-stock rate has been increasing for the past two weeks. This is something that needs to be looked into to find reasons and minimize the risks.
Last but not least, the financial section of this COO dashboard scorecard provides insights into the costs and returns related to the previously mentioned operations. Naturally, you want to achieve the highest level of operational efficiency at the lowest possible cost. Therefore, tracking these metrics closely and regularly can help you spot any issues and optimize them to ensure the business remains profitable.
8. CEO Performance Scorecard
Last but not least, we have another C-level-focused example providing an overview of performance metrics for the CEO of a company. As you probably already know, the chief executive officer is the highest-ranking C-level position within a company. The CEO is responsible for making critical business decisions and managing the entire organization. Taking all that into account, it is impossible to ignore the value a professional scorecard has for this executive position. Let’s explore the template in detail.
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As mentioned, the CEO is in charge of overseeing that every department and area is working efficiently towards general company goals. The template above provides an overview of four key areas that are fundamental to the success of an organization. Just like the other examples on this list, this CEO dashboard shows the development of critical indicators compared to a benchmark, this time, the previous observed period. Users of this scorecard dashboard can easily identify any performance pitfalls by looking at the green and red numbers under each value.
Starting with the general or financial area, we get insights into profit and revenue with a breakdown chart showing the development of the past 10 quarters. Overall, we can see a positive development on the financial side, with most metrics showing a yearly and quarterly increase. However, we can also see that the total expenses increased a bit for the current quarter. This needs to be looked into to avoid any further issues.
Directly related to finances, we have the sales and marketing section. Here we can see common KPIs such as the cost per acquisition, the customer lifetime value, and the marketing budget. Each of these indicators is compared to the previous years to get a benchmark value. We can observe a positive trend with acquisition costs decreasing since 2021.
Last but not least, we have the customer service and HR areas. These are critical sections to include in a report for the CEO, as employees and customers are the beating heart of an organization. Here, we can see that, overall, the employee management strategies at this company are developing positively with an increase in satisfaction levels. A similar situation happens with customers with positive numbers for the current quarter. That said, the yearly overview shows a slight increase in the number of issues which can also be the reason for the slight decrease in the NPS.
Monitoring these digital dashboards on a regular basis will help you keep measuring your progress and accelerate the success of your business—a testament to the power of scorecard reporting and analytics.
Gather Your Data With Professional Performance Scorecard Reporting
We’ve shown you 8 real industry examples of how a business performance scorecard can boost business performance. Now, in order to help you benefit from the powers of these visualization tools, we put together a list of tips and tricks you need to follow in order to achieve the kind of results you expect from your scorecards. Let’s dig into it!
- Define clear business goals
As we’ve mentioned before, KPI scorecards are visual tools based on specific goals. Hence, the first thing you need to do in order to create a successful one is to define your main business objectives and strategies. Your goals can be short-term (daily or monthly) or long-term (quarterly or annually) and can also be specific to certain areas of the business or more general to the overall growth of the company. The most important thing to consider here is that your goals should be realistic and achievable.
- Create a strategy roadmap
Once you have your business goals in hand, you also need to define certain measures or strategies to apply in order to achieve them. For this purpose, you can create a strategic roadmap that lists all the measures you and your workforce will implement in order to achieve the general goals. When creating your strategy, you need to consider your budget, operational capabilities, possible opportunities, and correlations between each strategy. Once you have everything defined, you can put it together in a roadmap that will later be analyzed with the help of a quality KPI scorecard.
- Collect and clean your data
Now that you have clearly defined your goals and planned your strategic roadmap, it is time to collect the data you’ll use to support your scorecard. As mentioned before, KPI scorecards can be related to a specific department or the entire organization. Therefore, the data sources you choose will vary depending on the goal. Whichever internal or external sources you pick, it is of utmost importance that you clean the data and eliminate any duplicate or wrongly formatted values. This way, you’ll avoid basing your analysis on bad-quality data, as this can directly affect the performance of your goals.
- Define your KPIs
Arguably the most important step to creating a successful KPI scorecard is to define the metrics you will use to measure your performance. There are many KPIs available in all key areas of a business. However, only specific ones will actually tell you the insights you need to measure your goals. That said, when choosing your metrics, make sure they are measurable, they provide context to your main goal, and they can evolve over time.
If you want to find the best KPIs for your business goals, take a look at our KPI examples, we cover several industries and functions for real-world businesses.
- Set performance targets
Once you have defined the main KPIs to track your goals, you need to define targets or benchmarks that will give your company something to work towards. These targets are the basis of a KPI scorecard, as they will give you insights into the performance of your business. Common benchmarks can be last month’s performance, a bigger business goal, or an industry average. Just make sure that the values you define are attainable and realistic for your business.
For example, if you want your business to be more sustainable, you can set a goal of decreasing the carbon footprint by 20% in a year. This can be tracked with smaller actions such as less use of materials, as we saw in our pick and pack example, or finetuning the picking accuracy of your orders to avoid unnecessary transportation on returned items. These two smaller goals can be tracked by using last month’s performance as a target value to decrease every month.
- Follow design best practices
Now that you have all the strategic parts out of the way, comes the time to put everything together in a stunning KPI scorecard. As you saw through our list of examples, scorecards are highly visual tools that provide an interactive view of a business's most critical KPIs against predefined targets. To make the most out of them, the design process is a critical stage that needs to be thought out carefully.
In that sense, we recommend you follow design best practices to ensure your data and KPIs are displayed in the most efficient way possible. Some of these best practices include; sticking only to a few colors, using the right types of charts to display your metrics, avoiding overcrowding the template with too many visuals, and thinking about the level of knowledge of the scorecard’s audience when writing labels and titles.
- Use interactive filters
The use of interactive filters can also be considered a design best practice as they significantly enhance the usability and efficiency of your scorecards. Some of these filters enable users to change the time period being observed, drill down into lower levels of data for a deeper analysis, show or hide chart values, and widget linking, which enables users to click on specific data in the scorecard and be redirected to other valuable content, among others.
The use of these filters makes the analysis process way more interactive by enabling users to navigate through the data and extract valuable conclusions from a centralized location.
- Involve all relevant departments
Last but not least in our list of tips to create KPI scorecards is to involve every relevant person in the process. In most cases, your business goals will depend on multiple areas of the business to be completed. By using interactive KPI dashboards to visualize your data, you will facilitate inner departmental collaboration since everyone will have access to the data, leading to increased business productivity and growth.
Tools such as datapine enable users to share their scorecard dashboards with teammates and other departments in a number of ways. These include sharing them through a live, password-protected URL, via an automated email as a PDF, CSV, or other formats, and even setting viewers' rights to make sure the right people have access to the right data. Through this, businesses can take a collaborative approach to their analytical efforts and boost their decision-making process.
- Automate the generation stage
Another great best practice is to automate the generation of scorecards as well as the data on them. This is possible with the help of an online data analysis tool that allows you to automate the generation of reports within minutes. These solutions also automatically update the data on your dashboards so you can always have the latest status of your progress. You can also set intelligent data alerts to inform you if an anomaly occurs. This way, you have enough time to plan your strategic moves and avoid manually checking the data every other minute.
- Set a reviewing schedule
Given that a KPI scorecard involves strategic goals that can be tracked for longer time periods, it is a fundamental best practice to set up reviewing schedules to evaluate and reassess your current strategies. This can be either monthly, quarterly, or even yearly, depending on the activities being evaluated. The important point is to clearly identify areas of improvement and implement them to optimize all efforts and resources.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Using Balanced Performance Scorecards
As seen throughout this post, KPI scorecards are valuable tools that enable businesses to improve their performance in various areas. So far, we have shown you some examples, benefits, and best practices to follow. Before finalizing this insightful guide, we will go through some common mistakes businesses make when implementing scorecards into their work. Rather you are working at a big enterprise or at a small business trying to go big, these mistakes can happen, and here we tell you how to avoid them.
- Lack of focus: As we mentioned in our best practices section, the first step you should follow when implementing a performance scorecard into your organization is to think about a general strategy. A common mistake made by businesses when it comes to the use of these tools is not to outline a clear strategy and plan. Not using a clear strategy can send mixed messages to stakeholders and frustrate the entire performance measurement process. For this reason, it is important to set long-term strategic goals as well as short-term tasks to reach them, as this will help to assess progress and tackle any areas that need improvement truly.
- Keeping them at an executive level: Another common mistake is to keep your KPI scorecards at an executive level. While these tools are mostly used by decision-makers regarding the performance and progress of different activities, it is important to involve the entire organization in the process. Keeping employees and other relevant stakeholders involved and informed will make everyone work as a unified front for the same cause. That said, involving everyone in the process means you need to make sure that the right level of knowledge is present. This leads us to our next point.
- Not enough knowledge: The next common mistake is to assume employees have the knowledge to use data-driven tools such as a performance scorecard to their advantage. Studies say that only 24% of employees feel confident about their ability to “read, work with, analyze, and argue with data.” With that in mind, it is necessary to assess the level of knowledge at a company level and provide the necessary training to make everyone across departments feel confident to use scorecards.
- Measuring too much or not enough: Even when having the necessary skills and strategy, businesses still fall into the mistake of not measuring the right data. There can be various mistakes when it comes to selecting the right KPIs to include in your performance scorecards, this can be measuring too many indicators that can confuse your analysis or measuring oversimplified ones with no true value just because they are easy to track. To avoid this, it is important to monitor a well-thought-out selection of KPIs that are specific to your strategy and will help you spot improvement areas to keep growing.
- Looking too much at competitors: While it is important to perform competitor analysis when setting KPI targets and goals to achieve, many businesses make the mistake of basing their performance targets fully on what competitors or other successful companies are doing. This is a mistake because every company is different; what might have worked for others might not work for you. To avoid this, you need to focus on your business needs, and based on that, you can get inspiration from what others are doing, adapting it to your reality.
- Not using the right tools: All the aforementioned errors can be linked to one thing: not using the right tools. Many organizations fail when using data for performance tracking because they don’t manage it in the right way. Modern KPI tools have a self-service approach that allows businesses to collect, monitor, and analyze their most relevant performance indicators in a matter of seconds. The use of these solutions allows for a more accessible and collaborative approach that will empower everyone to work with data.
Gather Your Data With Professional Performance Scorecard Reporting
Scorecard reporting encompasses all of the information we’ve discussed in our real-world examples and practical information.
This unique style of reporting is also invaluable for offering persuasive information and arguments for strategic decisions in all departmental updates or gatherings while showcasing how much into detail a manager should go surrounding a specific task or business function.
As such, scorecard reporting is a great way to present a complete overview of the status and any additional information a C-level executive might want to share with their team.
We’ve explained the dynamics of a KPI scorecard, explored real business scenarios relating to businesses of all sectors and sizes, touched on BI dashboards of wide varieties (from a customer to a safety KPI scorecard and beyond), and explained balanced scorecard performance measurement examples.
During our data-driven journey, one thing became clear: scorecard-based KPIs and metrics are the most effective means of benchmarking your success while giving your business-based activities definitive direction.
By investing in scorecard dashboards and data analysis software, it’s possible to push the envelope in terms of productivity and innovation more than you ever thought possible. Now, everyone within the organization can gain access to the level of accessible information that will optimize their performance while contributing to the evolution of the company as a whole.
Keeping the score of your performance is no longer a far-flung luxury. It’s now a living, breathing reality that will not only ensure you survive but will help you thrive in an ever-changing digital world.
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