Data Sources for KPIs in BSC Designer
One of the major parts of any business scorecard are performance
indicators. They help to monitor the current business performance or
track the progress towards some kind of business goals. It is important
to have an easy to use means to enter data manually or to be able to
access external data sources like data from their company's CRM or ERP
BSC Designer supports different ways to obtain the value of an
indicator. It can be taken from some kind of database, a spreadsheet
file, a web script output, or it can be entered manually.
To access the data source of an indicator you need to follow these
- Go to the "KPIs" tab.
- Choose any indicator there or create a
- Click on the "KPI data source" button
that is located next to the "Value" field.
The "KPI Data Source" dialog will appear. It is a starting point to
specify or modify a data source for an indicator. Several options are
available there. Let's review them one by one.
Data Source Options
- The most used option is a manual entry.
In this case the value of an indicator is entered by a person directly
into the value field. You need to choose an appropriate date in the
calendar control on the right and then enter a number into the "value"
- If you need to update many values at
once, then you might find it more useful to use the "Edit values"
command, which is located in the KPIs menu.
- Sometimes you might need to do some
calculations before you actually have the number you need. In this
case, select the option "Use
formula for the value." In the formula you
can use any number or the reference to the current value, progress, or performance values of other indicators.
- In the latest versions of BSC Designer
an indicator can be a container for other indicators. When an indicator
plays a role of a container it has its own formula as well. For
example, you can choose to calculate a container's value as an average
of child indicators.
- The next two options are "Import from
MS Excel" and "Link to MS Excel."
- Choose "Import from MS Excel" if you
want to migrate your data from an Excel spreadsheet and use only BSC
Designer in the future. Read more about importing values.
- With the "Link to MS Excel" you tell
BSC Designer what data from this spreadsheet you need; the program will
read this data when needed. If the data will be updated in a
spreadsheet, it will be updated in BSC Designer as well. Read more about this option.
- The "Link
to BSC project" option allows
reading the data from another project file of BSC Designer. It is used
for the cascading of your business scorecard projects. For example, in
this way a department manager can obtain a value of an indicator from a
lower-level scorecard of any employee. Read more...
to SQL database" option allows
one to access the data stored in any database that supports SQL
queries. BSC Designer can send a query to the database that is accessed
locally or has a web access. To configure these options you might
require the assistance of an IT administrator of your company. Read more about linking to SQL database.
to a web-based script" option is
for those who want to integrate BSC Designer with some 3rd-party
business system. Instead of giving access to the database you might
want to create a web script that will generate an output in XML format. Read more about linking to web-based script.
- With "Data
series" option you can use
BSC Designer to manage survey answers. The program will calculate an
average score by taking into account opinions of several experts, thus
you will be able to use it for the indicator's value. Learn more about using data series.
As you can see, BSC Designer has many options that one can use to get
important data into a scorecard. We recommend for you to try some of
them with your data right now and see how it works for you.