When beginning a new business scorecard project people are often looking for some starting point like a good template or an example. We have already discussed some good examples of BSC; as for the templates, there are a lot of them in BSC Designer software.
We can divide these template into two categories:
- Strategy map, and
Here are some case studies with users of BSC Designer that share their best practices and thoughts.
Real Balanced Scorecard Template is a Strategy Map
During my MBA I had to develop several projects that involved BSC and I had to do this by myself, using templates found on the Internet. After some digging I finally found BSC Designer, which made my life easier. It truly goes beyond normal capabilities improving performance. Now it’s simpler and quicker to get things done.
A note from developers
Good luck with your MBA project! One idea that I think is worth discussing apart is the BSC template. Those who start with Balanced Scorecard are searching on the Internet for Balanced Scorecard templates. The problem is that the Balanced Scorecard is not about templates. Well, you can make your presentation looks professional with some PowerPoint slides that we have, but this won’t make a difference in how BSC actually works in the company.
It’s like showing a screen shot of a new App for iPhone that doesn’t actually exists. A screen shot is not an app! The Balanced Scorecard approach cannot be presented using a few templates. In the previous article we discussed these issues in details.
- Then a logical question is: “How should one start with BSC if not with a template?”
The answer is: start with a strategy map. Create a map of business objectives that are linked with each other. If you use BSC Designer software, here is an instruction that will help.
The strategy map will tell a better story than a rectangle diagram with 4 section that is normally promoted as a BSC template. Actually, this diagram was used only in the first work about BSC with a purpose to demonstrate the interconnection between four perspectives, but was not used in later works, because it was not interpreted in the right way by readers. The right way to represent strategic objectives is a strategy map.
If one need a template, I would recommend following the steps from this article as well.
Strategy Map Template for the Balanced Scorecard
I’m in Medical Emergency Management and Medical Operation Planning. We are currently implementing the Balanced Score Card for our department.
The template for the strategy map is useful and easy enough to understand. The KPI library is also useful and helpful especially regarding specific medical KPIs. However some customization is needed.
The user interface of the BSC Designer is friendly and easy to adapt even for some of the beginner in my department. I’m still new to it, but am already beginning to love it. Give me another 2 weeks and maybe I’ll upgrade to the PRO version.
A note from developers
Starting with the version 7.0 of BSC Designer you don’t just have a graphical template for the strategy map. BSC Designer will actually build it for you. Well, it’s not a magic pill, you’ll still need to do some of the job, but you can now focus on the content, rather than on the graphical design issues.
You can follow this link to learn the details, and here is a short summary of how strategy maps now work using BSC Designer:
- Cause-and-effect connections. The purpose of a business scorecard is to give one a big picture of the business. It is not possible to do this if goals and objectives of the business are presented separately in the list. It is necessary to have a map where these objectives are linked with each other. In BSC Designer go to the “business goals” tab. As you can see, all of the objectives have a “Contributes to” field. Use it to show the relationship between objectives.
- Visual representation. Switch to the “Strategy Map” tab. BSC Designer will suggest for you to build a strategy map automatically. It creates a group of four perspectives and puts the objectives into these perspectives. The software will link objective with each in accordance with their contribution relationship.
- Sharing strategy map. It is good idea to share a strategy map with stakeholders. One can generate an HTML report that will contain a strategy map, or generate a PowerPoint report that contains a strategy map as well. Or, it can be simply exported into a picture file!
Once upgraded to the PRO edition, you’ll enjoy all this functionality. BSC Designer will be a great time-saver and will allow you to focus on actual management tasks.
Complete Scorecards with Template and Produce a Report
Finding BSC Designer has been a great help. Using the template available for HR and Travel, as well as designing my own for other areas, I have been able to complete my scorecards in a record time. The program is simple to navigate and produces a report that is easy to read and understand.
A note from developers
Thank you for your opinion about using BSC Designer. We recommend for you to be really careful with using a scorecard template for HR or any other templates. In this way a company copies KPIs that are supposed to work in their business environment, but there is no such a thing a “universal KPI” that can be used in any company. KPI appears as a result of analysis of the current business objectives and strategy. A KPI that worked great for an HR department in company A, might not be suitable for company B.
For example, check out Apple’s usage of turnover KPI, their strategy is something different from what other companies do. Another hardware manufacture cannot and should not copy Apple’s strategy in HR and as a result Apple’s KPIs.
BSC and KPI templates are great if you need to make a presentation (here we are talking about PowerPoint template), when it comes to KPIs that supposed to be linked with a strategic objectives, then templates won’t be helpful. Check out this article to sort out ideas about various BSC and KPI templates.
What actually makes sense and what we do recommend to clients is to follow a specific scheme (can also name it a template) to create a Balanced Scorecard. Here is how it works in BSC Designer Online, you can come up with some predefined strategy map and KPIs, you don’t spend your time on design, you just customize these strategy map and KPIs according to your current task.