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Executive Scorecard vs Dashboard when funneling vast quantities of enterprise data?

 Why “Executive Scorecard”  vs "Executive Dashboards" when funneling vast quantities of enterprise data?


Recently I had the chance to present "Executive Scorecards & Dashboards" at the Chicago itSMF LIG meeting & Chicago Vivit user group meeting both providing great turnout and fanfair. 


We had a chance to talk about IT Executive Scorecards based on data pulled from the HP BTO Portfolio  into a data warehousing solution, in particular SM, AM, DC, PPM.  Based on the feedback and user questions, I thought it would be a good idea to help bring clarity and define the differences between Scorecards & Dashboards.  Both help with our most pressing challenges of IT - the need for financial & performance transparency. Both involve different approaches to the communication of enterprise performance data for management decision making. Knowing the difference is essential for IT managers charged with developing the right reporting solution for the business.



Executive Scorecard – Visual representations of information organized in such a way (e.g. by individual, department, and business unit) to ensure a focus on business goals. Information is typically not presented in real time. Summary data usually funnels vast quantities of enterprise data over larger intervals and measures against baselines (e.g. last year) and benchmarks (e.g. industry performance). They can be tied into communication systems (e.g. e-mail) to send out alerts when results are not in the expected range or when actions/initiatives are overdue.




Below I’ve included a slide from my presentation on ITIL Metrics to help define the differences of a Dashboard or Scorecard. (Grow @HP Course ID: 00117881)



Comparing Dashboards and Scorecards --  Examples of Dashboard and Scorecard Metrics for a Call Center.




The differences between dashboards and scorecards are best demonstrated by looking at real examples of the kind of metrics that would occur in each. Consider a manager responsible for calls at a large customer support call center. Whether the manager needs a dashboard or scorecard depends on what they want to do with the data they collect – the management decisions (operational or strategic) they want to inform.





A dashboard can be used to monitor and manage the current activities of the call center. For example, by looking at the total number of calls and the total number of staff, management can make an operational decision to reduce or increase staff to accommodate call volumes.


The purpose of a dashboard is to allow for an immediate understanding of the state of the business. The data is typically displayed in real time allowing immediate response to changes in business activities. In this way, dashboards allow for tactical (as opposed to strategic) decision making. Dashboard data tracks key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor the vital signs of the business. They have drill down capability from summary data to underlying reports, enabling users to investigate the root cause of problems or changes.


A scorecard for a call center might have the strategic target of reducing resolution time to four minutes to improve customer satisfaction while reducing cost. Call data can then be recorded and assessed relative to this goal. When performance falls short, management can execute a pre-defined management strategy for dealing with missed targets (e.g. Identifying individuals with low call resolution rates and re-training or disciplining them).


Scorecards (or a Balanced Scorecard) also provide insight on business operations but involve a much more structured approach. They are designed with the aim of measuring performance relative to a specific set of business goals and strategies. Rather than provide a snapshot of the business, they track business

activities as trends over time to inform the business strategy. Scorecards need to be supported by a management process that defines actionable results oriented tasks They can be used to monitor and assess performance at the individual, departmental, and enterprise level. Industry performance benchmarks and risk factors can also be incorporated into scorecards.


Key Takeaways: The decision whether to deploy a dashboard or a scorecard should depend on the specific business needs of the organization. Keep the following in mind when considering the choice between a dashboard and a scorecard:


  • Dashboards support tactical decision making and scorecards are strategic. Dashboards monitor real-time business performance to inform operational decision making. Scorecards always monitor business performance relative to a specific objective and over larger periods of time to inform strategic management.


  • Dashboards provide business snapshots and scorecards analyze performance trends. Because dashboards and scorecards support different types of decision making, they measure and summarize different kinds of data. Dashboards aim to provide real-time operational data, while scorecards record data over periods of time and plot performance against defined business objectives.


  • Dashboards require operational expertise and scorecards require a robust management strategy. Even if the enterprise knows what it wants to measure relative to strategic objectives, a robust management is required to change organizational behavior in the direct pursuit of those goals. The effective use of dashboards requires managers who understand the ebb and flow of business data and know when to act on changes in business activities.


Bottom Line - Dashboards and scorecards involve different approaches to the communication of enterprise performance data for management decision making. Knowing the difference is essential for IT managers charged with developing the right reporting tool for the business.


I hope this helps!

Tags: AC| BI| BTO| CIO| DC| View All (8)
mcorderobrajuka | ‎09-19-2010 01:06 PM

Very interesting !

But... as of 09/19/10, your link on your presentation on ITIL Metrics doesn't work... Any chance to get it from somewhere else ?





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About the Author
Software technical product manager for HP Strategic Analytics--Executive Scorecard (XS) and Financial Planning & Analysis (FPA). Generat...

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