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Management Reporting: Ideas for Impact (Scorecards)

July 20, 2021
Jul 20, 2021 7:00 PM

Unlike last week, this week we'll talk about a reporting tool that most people have heard of - scorecards.  Practically speaking, a scorecard is a static view of results compared to a goal, benchmark, or prior period, with indicators (arrows, color coding, etc.) indicating whether the results are favorable, unfavorable, or in alignment with the comparison point.  The intent is to quickly understand two key areas:

Improvement Opportunities.  This is the obvious one but you have to remember with a scorecard - there isn't a lot of detail included.  If a measure is 'red', come prepared with the data to support what's going on.  Think about the questions that are likely to be asked.  The bottom line is - you should know what's driving a low performing measure and what you're going to do to fix it.

Successes.  Sometimes we forget to look at and drill into the successes because of the focus on continuous improvement.  Although not true in all cases, for many there are tangible actions that can be leveraged in other areas to help drive success.  Learn from what's working, not just your opportunities.

In the simple example above, you'll see some of the more common metrics for illustrative purposes, but keep in mind that this should be specific for your organization and context.

Similar to what you've seen before, you'll notice that it's a mix of data - financial, business operations, assessments.  It's perfectly fine to have a mix of different data types, although they should be grouped together, where possible, to enhance the visualization aspect.   Prior to developing any scorecard, it's critical to get input and feedback from the primary audience to ensure relevance and clarity of the measures.  There are some considerations with this type of report:

Benefits.  Scorecards are really simple.  They don't include a ton of extraneous data, so they are easy to interpret and understand which areas need focus.  They enable more time to be spent on the conversations around the data rather than trying to explain or justify data (assuming you have done the work ahead of time).

Drawbacks.  Scorecards aren't incredibly visual outside of the color coding, arrows, spark lines, etc.  If you need to visualize data differently for metrics, a dashboard might be a better tool to infuse the context you may need as part of telling the story.

If you don't have the capabilities to develop dashboards, a scorecard might be a more feasible place to start.We do a lot of work with our clients in this space, so don't hesitate to reach out if you're in this same situation: Measuring!ChrisChristopher LeBrunDirector of Professional Services, Performitiv