Case Studies: Strategy Maps

People use strategy map to describe their business objectives, strategies, and support their strategy discussion. Learn about strategy map best practices shared by our users.

Automated Strategic Map Supports Systemic Growth

Our main aim was to get a product or platform that could help us manage our systemic growth using the Balanced Scorecard. BSC Designer provided us with that platform wherein we could enter all our scorecard information and delegate portions of it out to responsible parties.

 Check out LinkedIn Profile Manish Malhotra, President, Unissant, Inc. , Reston VA

We found BSC Designer to be one of the few product that was very well organized and well thought out in terms of balanced scorecard implementation.

The automated strategic map feature is a tremendous help. The product also allowed us to implement complex aggregations to roll out our scorecards at divisional and corporate level.

Having worked with other products in this area, we found BSC designer easy to use and fairly intuitive even for our end user community who are participants in the scorecard adoption.

A note from the developers

Manish, thank you very much for your feedback. It’s really great that you are following the correct BSC methodology. Unlike other products we are not just providing the software platform for KPIs (that is just the measurement part of the Balanced Scorecard), but are also well designed strategy maps.

Strategy Map with business goals grouped into strategic theme; created automatically by BSC Designer.

The automated strategy map feature that you mentioned is one of the attempts to make software even more user-friendly. We know that one of the biggest challenges during the implementation of BSC is buy-in from all participants. With automated strategy maps we don’t require user to be professional graphical designer or to spend hours moving blocks around the map. Software can do almost everything automatically and the user can just introduce some minor changes.

We are going to move ahead in this direction. In the new version of BSC Designer it is possible to work with strategic themes. Thus different business objectives on the strategy map have different color coding according to their strategic theme.

Organize strategy maps and metrics

Helping our clients to organize strategy and metrics using BSC Designer. Each client develops a Strategic Map. Using the provided wizard we can develop its metrics in an easy and practical way.

 Check out LinkedIn Profile Hugo Sanchez, President, DAG Consultores, Nicaragua, Central America

A great and practical option is to deliver and keep a Balanced Scorecard. We are a consulting firm and use BSC-Designer regularly to help our clients to visualize their strategy and keep control of their vital metrics.

BSC-Designer, both desktop and online solutions, are the best applications for our purposes.
We highly recommend BSC Designer to any small and medium company that want to move forward in the implementation of its strategy in a systemic way.

A note from developers

Thank you for the detailed feedback about using BSC Designer software. A strategy map is a great tool not only to present main strategic directions, but actually to measure and manage business performance. In the latest version of BSC Designer we improved the strategy map approach taking in account some requests from our customers. Here is a step-by-step instruction that shows the latest best practices about how to work with a strategy map in BSC Designer.

For instance, we noticed that many customers used not just a business objective, but they also needed to add to the strategy map a lot of KPIs. It was possible in older versions, but now it is possible to align several KPIs with a business objective. BSC Designer will present this bundle on the strategy map providing information about current KPI performance via a stop-light indicator.

Another note is that the process that you described implies that your clients use only a strategy map. I believe that your customers would have much more benefits if you can deliver the source BSC project to them, not just a strategy map. For the client it will be a possibility to work with KPIs, business objectives and to share their strategy with employees more effectively.

You are right; among our customers are big names as well as small and medium companies. Small companies often don’t have a properly designed strategy. In this case BSC Designer software provides an easy to follow framework that permits coming up with a clear strategy quickly and visualizing it on the strategy map right away. As I mentioned above, with the latest version it is even easier now.

Finally, I’m inviting you to check out the details of our partner program, if you prepare a strategy map for your clients, then most likely they will need BSC Designer software to maintain their strategy maps in the future. There are several opportunities for them to get BSC Designer. One option is to purchase a license for BSC Designer PRO that will be a one-time investment with optional upgrades; another option is to sign up with an account at BSC Designer Online, which will be paid monthly.

Create Strategy Map for HR Balanced Scorecard

I would like to thank you for a good product, which has made my job so easy. I think that this program is easy to work with and is very helpful for creating strategy maps.

 Check out LinkedIn Profile Kongkiat Buranasri, Royal Thai Air Force Academy

I especially like the Strategy Map Editor available in the software. I improved my Balanced Scorecard project with it. In my office we are concerned about HR scorecard and I can use BSC Designer to calculate and manage with HR scores. My job task is focused on Strategic Management, and the program makes it so easy! After I’ve installed BSC designer, and I would like to say that it is a very good program. Thank you again for introducing me to see the great BSC program.

A note from the developers

Thank you for your feedback. Here are some ideas that you and other visitors of our website might find useful.

Regarding HR scorecard, we did a detailed research of the topic. Check out the KPIs that we recommend. It is not just another long list of pointless KPIs. Next to each KPI you’ll find a link to an article with more details. These ideas might be useful to improve your HR KPIs and scorecard. They are also available online in the BSC Designer Online project.

Two type of KPIs tell different stories about your HR

Another question is how you plan to integrate the HR scorecard in an organization environment. An obvious thing is that it should use some data as input and it should report some information to the upper levels. One of the possible ways to do this is to use cascading. I was commenting another user feedback and we talked in details about cascading principles and how to do it in BSC Designer.

Finally, don’t forget to upgrade to the latest version of BSC Designer. Strategy map editor was significantly improved there. Now BSC Designer will help you much more with an automation. It can convert your connected business objectives into a nice strategy map. As it is explained in this guide.

Map a strategy and communicate it to employees

With BSC Designer we are automating and documenting our strategic mapping. This software allows placing all important information in front of management. BSC Designer complies with Kaplan and Norton’s design of the Balanced Scorecard.

Adnan Khan, Leading Consultant, Pakistan – Africa

In this software the scorecard implementation process starts by applying required performance measures and filling the gap between planning and actual improvement. In this way the right information is provided to the right people at the right time.
BSC Designer supports a structure for implementing of the Balanced Scorecard system that helps to transform corporate data into actionable information and knowledge. Then it helps to communicate this performance information to employees. All together this helps people to make better decisions by offering an access to actual performance data.

A note from BSC Designer developers

Thank you for your thoughts and ideas! Users of the latest versions of BSC Designer have even wider opportunities to start with the Balanced Scorecard. For sure, they could start with measures, metrics and KPIs, but this is not an approach that works today really well. Simple metrics will work in an excellent way as a tactical dashboard, but they are not helping to create a coherent strategy that will help company to achieve its goals and objectives.

We recommend to start with a strategy map. The idea is to map there major company’s objectives and show how they are linked to each other. In this way it is possible to see why something need to be achieved and how company is going to achieve this.

Monitor KPI, plan action and track progress

Then comes metrics and KPIs. They will measure a progress towards set business objectives or simply monitor your current state. In this sense BSC Designer can be used as a hybrid of a dashboard and a strategy map.

You mentioned that with BSC Designer decisions makers can have access to performance data. Actually, in this way they have an access to strategic information and action initiatives as well. Strategy is not only about what objectives to achieve and how to achieve them, it is also about why one needs to achieve them.  In this sense, BSC Designer provides a view on different aspects of the strategy.

As for daily usage of BSC Designer, it helps to inform involved team members about important changes. It is not just allows to communicate performance information in a form of various reports, but helps to notify team members about important changes. Use Alerts tab in both BSC Designer PRO and BSC Designer Online to create and manage notifications that you want to send to your team. For example, a person responsible for KPI can receive a notification when a KPI is in the red zone or a new initiative was added.

A strategy map linked to 4 perspectives responds crises

We are using BSC Designer for restructuring the approach to local response mechanism in crisis prone areas in order to reduce risk and aid affected people.

Banat Temesvar, Advisor, UN

I have started to map out the framework of a strategy map. My role at the present is to propose options for a shift in strategy to position the organization to be more effective in responding to immediate crises and to aid public sector providers in sustaining service in stressful times. The link to the four perspectives is the most valuable insight, enabling me to present strategy options that are meaningful to all interest groups in the organization.

A note from developers

Thank you for sharing a detailed feedback. I believe I can suggest some ideas that will help to use the Balanced Scorecard concept even more effectively. From your feedback I can conclude that one the main goals of your organization is to be able to respond to immediate crises. You are on the right track with creating a strategy map (by the way, with the latest updates in BSC Designer you will enjoy creating a strategy map in the software even more). The strategy map in your case will give a good plan towards improving the overall response of your organization to crises.

Another aspect is that you need to monitor the current state of your initiatives. A more suitable tool for this purpose is a dashboard with important metrics. Actually, you can combine both approaches. We have a good article that analyzes these ideas.

What’s the difference between a Dashboard and a Balanced Scorecard?

Moreover, with BSC Designer you can automate a “response mechanism” that you mentioned. Imagine, that you have some KPIs that help you to monitor the current situation. The software can automatically send a notification to persons responsible for a KPI, if the value of KPI got into the red zone.

Tool to define strategy, communicate it, align resources and efforts, measure progress

I need BSC Designer as a tool to help us define our strategy, communicate it, align resources and efforts, measure progress and make the necessary adjustments on strategy and/or targets to keep the things on track.

 Check out LinkedIn Profile Luminita Popescu, Managing Director,

Man and Machine RO SRL, Bucharest, Romania

We are now in the process of assessing our needs and align them with your product capabilities.

In the next step we’ll have to define our strategy and quantify it in the BSC Designer software, according to the 2011 goals and objectives and taking into account the actual and future internal and external constraints. Strategy maps will be used to communicate the whole picture to the people involved in the strategy implementation. We’ll define the initiatives, indicators, etc. accordingly and align by these our internal resources.

Permanent measurement and communication is a must to be able to make the right adjustments to avoid and correct the deviations and also to adjust the strategy and targets on the fly. My opinion is that all these aspects could be achieved with this software.

A note from developers:

Thank you for sharing your opinion. You are right about choosing BSC Designer fora specified task; the latest version of BSC Designer provides even more features that help with the defining of a business strategy and communicating it to involved employees.

Here is a step-by-step algorithm that one can follow to build a correct strategy map:

1. Create a strategy map with business objectives linked by a cause-and-effect connection. Learn how.

2. Align action plans with KPIs and business objectives. Learn how.

3. Plan improvement of KPI values. Learn how.

I find it especially challenging one idea that you mentioned. Logically, that once a company has a strategy defined, it wants to communicate it to the people involved, and to its employees. On the step 2 (Alignment) mentioned above, a company’s managers can find more details about how one can communicate the strategy to employees.

Communicate the strategy to employees

Here is a short summary of these ideas:

  • Begin with a strategy map with business objectives and KPIs linked to those objectives.
  • Then use “Alerts” tab to create a notifications that will be sent to responsible employees when a new action plan is added. Similar notification can be sent to a manager when an employee attaches a report to a KPI.
  • Ensure that the big picture is translated into smaller local strategy pictures. Each of the departments needs to have its own strategy map with its local objectives and KPIs.
  • A web-based edition of BSC Designer now has all the necessary features to design and represent a strategy map, so managers can use it to formalize a department’s strategy.
  • To ensure a cultural shift from “I’m doing my job” to “I’m helping my company achieve its business objectives,” make sure that all new activities in the company are properly represented on the strategy map. If not, then probably new activities are not aligned with a strategy and as a result will be useless.

In the latest version of BSC Designer all users can enjoy automatic generation of the strategy map according to the principles of the Balanced Scorecard framework.

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