Teaching Balanced Scorecard and KPIs – Case Studies

Among users of BSC Designer we have many teachers that need to explain business performance concepts to their students. On this page educational professionals and business consultants share their experience about teaching the Balanced Scorecard, and KPIs concepts. Learn more about their recommendations.

Do you have a question? Feel free to ask and share your thoughts in the comments.

Teaching BSC concepts with your products has been very easy

BSC Designer is used internally for ISO 9001 2008 improvement control and quality. Also, training in BSC applications is held at the San Pedro Sula University Management School.

Margaret Abbott, Director, Abbott Consulting & Training (ACT), San Pedro Sula, Honduras

I have found your product to be the best in the market for various reasons:

1) Pricing and Availability
2) Friendly approach and support
3) Language possibilities

Teaching BSC concepts with your products has been very easy since you have been able to present a product that can be used at various levels of complexity.

A note from developers

Thank you for your opinion. BSC Designer is recognized by many professional business performance consultants. According to the geography of our users it is applied world-wide; not only in the US, but also in Europe, Africa, Middle East. I agree that this wouldn’t be possible without proper localization of the software not only to the main European languages, but also to Arabic and Chinese.

As for support, we are happy to help our clients with the software and the basic business consulting needed to choose the best approach for their business performance management. We provide valuable information in articles featured on our website; and for sure we will answer questions via a contact form. We know how frustrating it is to receive poor technical support, such as when a template response is used or a person that you are talking to has only a set of limited scripts and have no idea about the product. Our technical support operates by email and answers all the questions in a professional manner within a maximum 48 hours (normally within just few hours). Test us, send us a question.

Finally, I like your knowledge about various levels of complexity. I believe that each business solution should be chosen according to requirements of a specific customer.

The big picture about Balanced Scorecard

If one needs to feed data from Excel and present it on the dashboard and strategy map, why should he or she buy into an expensive ERP system that does everything, but not what’s needed. In this sense BSC Designer is really powerful, but one doesn’t need to use all of the features at once. Some people focus on KPIs management and  others only use software to track their progress and monitor a performance. The good news is that once a user understands that he or she needs a strategy map, then there is no need to search for another tool. One can just go to a strategy map tab and that’s it.

Develop quantifiable indicators for chosen perspectives

I teach computer security and information assurance at a community college. As part of our program, I engage our students in free consulting projects with non-profit organizations, usually local governments in the area, with the objective of having the students conduct risk assessments and develop continuity/recovery plans. A major issue in preparing and presenting plans is clarifying the linkage between plans and action – answering the ‘what do we need to do to get this done’ question.

The BSC Designer tool is designed so that my students can quickly grasp the concepts of the BSC process, develop quantifiable indicators for their chosen perspectives. Going forward, our plan is to use the Professional version to develop strategy maps that will allow us to give our clients a roadmap on how to implement the recommendations, thereby increasing the value of the experience to both students and the local government.

I chose BSC Designer because of its ease of use, clear graphical interface, excellent customer support, and not least, its cost.

Thomas Foss, community college professor

A note from developers:

Thank you for the detailed feedback! The topic of the linkage between plans (business objectives) and action was improved significantly in the latest version. Objectives there can be linked by a cause-and-effect connection, which allows not just putting them on the map, but by linking them together. Following this one can answer a “why” question specific for any KPI or an objective.

Specify cause and effect connection for business objective

As for risk assessments with BSC, I must say that it is a tricky topic. Historically there are two group of people, one that prefer to address business performance from the viewpoint of risks, and another that follow business frameworks similar to BSC. If we can look in this, then it is obvious that everything depends on specific implementation. Risk indicators can be easily converted into BSC KPIs as well as any business objective can be represented as a Key Risk Indicators.  Following requests from users we have even implemented Risk Diagram in BSC Designer. I am glad to see that you teach your students how they can use the Balanced Scorecard approach to address risk assessment problems.

Teaching Balanced Scorecard course with BSC Designer

I suggested using BSC Designer software in a government organization for measuring and reporting of KPIs and the Balanced Scorecard.

Alberto Torres, Project Management, UAEM, Toluca, Mexico

I think BSC Designer Light edition that I’ve tried is a very simple tool. It allows starting with KPI management, but the number of functions in a free edition is limited. Highly desirable that this version would allow the issuance of a report and a graph. Even if they were simple, it would allow generating information for distribution to others.

I suggest evaluating the software for use in our government institution. They might choose the Standard or Professional version. I am also involved in the academic area, the BSC Designer Light edition with more functions would be very useful.

A note from developers

Alberto, thank you a lot for your feedback. We are willing to help professionals in academic area to teach scorecard and KPIs concepts. That’s why the light version exists. It has all functionality to build a basic scorecard and to show how it will interconnect with KPIs. This version is great to create a prototype.

If an educational organization or a company decide to use advanced features of the product then it makes sense to choose a Standard or PRO editions. As any professional tool BSC Designer requires a certain budget to purchase a license, but these investments will be returned in a form of increased efficiency of the business very quickly.

Choosing software tool for the Balanced Scorecard

The good news is that once a project was started in BSC Designer Light a company can continue using created projects in BSC Designer Standard, PRO, Online or Android. All these editions use the same .BSC file format.

With the PRO edition there are many more ways to share information. Reports that you mentioned are only the basic mean. There are also dashboards and strategy maps that can be exported and shared as well. Moreover, if a project was uploaded to BSC Designer Online it is much easier to share the project.

Actually, the pricing and functionality of BSC Designer Online might be more interesting for a teachers. There is no need to buy an expensive license at once. One can sign up with an account and pay as long as the system is used. For example, it is possible to pay for the usage of the system only during semester when the Balanced Scorecard or KPIs course is taught to students.

Introduction to Balanced Scorecard setup and functions

Features set, friendliness, ease of use as well as accuracy, data migration and reporting represented in a consistent, accurate and understandable manner.

Dr L A Moses, Healthcare Manager, SpesNet Limited,
Centurion, South Africa

BSC Designer is an excellent program that serves as a brilliant introduction to the electronic BSC environment. To download and test drive this piece of software would without a doubt be in the interest of the end-user.

BSC Designer also addresses most of the questions novices might have about BSC setup and operational intricacies. This program is very easy to use and both novices and expert users alike will almost immediately feel at home using this program.

A note from developers:

Dr Moses, I thank you very much for the feedback. As a developer of BSC Designer we know that there are professionals from various business niches that use our software everyday; our objective is to make the software easy to use, and to provide all of the necessary features that one might need for the Balanced Scorecard.

Also, I believe that the software part of any Balanced Scorecard software is relatively simple; as there are no rocket science equations. What’s making the difference is a business approach that should be incorporated into the software, so that it can help professionals to measure and manage business performance with the Balanced Scorecard.

Another point is that the best software without a good example won’t really be useful. It is really hard to find an example of the Balanced Scorecard. We want to change this situation and publish some examples of BSC projects online. For example, for Healthcare we have a Dental Practice BSC that any medical practice can take, and then customize according to its needs and start using it right away.

Dental Practice Balanced Scorecard

Still, we do understand that it is business software with a lot of features and users need to understand things intuitively and quickly. For this purpose there are video manuals for BSC Designer that help and answer a lot of typical questions. Finally, if users have a problem and don’t know how to solve it, we are always happy to help in our support center, just fill in a contact form and we will respond very quickly.

BSC Designer facilitates visual understanding of the performance management

We use BSC Designer for education and promotion of the Balanced Scorecard approach within strategical, organizational and basic IT needs.

Yeshi N., Consultant, HEXAGON, Italy

I personally think that BSC Designer is a good product, mostly to learn and propose to potential clients the approach of the Balanced Scorecard.

Within this framework clients and managers may have a visual understanding of performance management; the free version is very good for demo and proposal, the paid version allow more in terms of deployment of performance management systems, therefore in an IT perspective.

These tools do not require IT expertise but provides a correct methodological approach, can help to move from approach to implementation of NORTON/KAPLAN ideas.

As a matter of fact the most difficult aspect of BSC approach is to help customers to properly translate their intuition into a strategical plan that eventually will become an operative plan with KPI and hopefully a BSC.

A note from developers

Thank you for your detailed feedback. While the Balanced Scorecard is a really powerful approach, there is always some need for additional education about how to use the framework in business. With BSC Designer we are trying to make the design and usage of the Balanced Scorecard even easier. Some customers have even reported that learning from BSC Designer is better than from costly training.

Visual understanding of performance management

When we are talking about the Balanced Scorecard, the first thing that is obvious is that BSC gives you more than just talking about KPIs. As you noted, the business performance management starts with a strategic plan, not with KPIs. We are supporting this approach in BSC Designer.

In the software one can start with business objectives, define their cause-and-effect connection and BSC Designer will build a strategic map according to BSC rules automatically. Only by having this big picture can a manager properly translate their ideas into an actionable plan, which can then be aligned with KPIs and business objectives.

As for installation and maintenance, you are right. BSC Designer doesn’t require databases or complicated installation. It can be used equally well by one self-employed professional or by an international company. Working with BSC projects is as easy as working with MS Excel or MS Word documents.

Present University Balanced Scorecard with PowerPoint Slides

We have been asked to show our performance on the BSC. We have our strategic plan and I used your BSC Designer to review our performance at our end first. Our university has a different BSC software, but I used BSC Designer at the departmental level.

Dr Usmani, Consultant, Deanship of Quality King Saud University, Riyadh Saudi Arab

Initially, it was not very clear. I tried putting in our initiatives and their KPIs, but could not interpret the results myself. Later, I used a few solved examples and learned a few things. By that time, the trial period had expired. I think the initial results produced were quite appealing to my seniors as they had not seen the results of any BSC software earlier. This presentation produced from BSC Designer made people believe that I was an expert in BSC which is a good sign for my future. It has also increased my interest in using software for BSC. My thanks to the developers.

A note from developers

It was great to hear that BSC Designer helped present your strategic objectives and prepare a presentation that you used to impress your superiors. I’m sure you tried PowerPoint report for this purpose. Another way to present performance ideas is to share a strategy map, which gives a lot of top-view information. Actually, in the latest versions of BSC Designer we have updated PowerPoint report a little bit. One of the updates features is that a strategy map now comes among the first slides so you could start your Balanced Scorecard presentation from sharing the big picture of what’s happening.

Some slides of resulted report in MS PowerPoint

The presentation that BSC Designer generates is not a one size fits all solution. You should customize it according to your needs. Add in some relevant comments or graphics. You can prepare another reports, take a screenshot and paste it as an image into the presentation.

Right now we are preparing an update, which will add even more features to a PowerPoint report. We plan to put in a PowerPoint report comments that user enters via “Initiatives.” If you have any ideas that can help you to prepare even better Balanced Scorecard presentation, please contact us, we are open for new ideas.

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