Difference between Balanced Scorecard and Enterprise Dashboard

Update: The topic of “dashboard” vs. “scorecard” is still alive and kicking about in business intelligence circles. Take a look at this recent post:

What is the difference between a scorecard and a dashboard?

A Dashboard Spy reader who is getting involved in a balanced scorecard reporting project asked me the difference between enterprise dashboards and balanced scorecards. He was getting confused between all the different approaches that his team could take. We had an interesting conversation with a couple of interesting screenshots that we passed back and forth. I thought it valuable enough to share with you today.

An interesting webpage on the difference between balanced scorecards and enterprise dashboards can be found here: Dashboards vs. Scorecards.  The page states correctly that the difference lies in the degree of “balanced scorecard formality”, that is, the balance scorecard approach has strict elements:

Components of a True Balanced Scorecard: While both Balanced Scorecards and Dashboards display performance information, a Balanced Scorecard is a more prescriptive format; a true Balanced Scorecard should always include these components: Perspectives (groupings of high-level strategic areas), Objectives (verb-noun phrases pulled from a strategic plan), Measures (also called Metrics or Key Performance Indicators/KPIs), and Stoplight Indicators (red, yellow, or green symbols that provide an at-a-glance view of a Measure’s performance). These specific components help ensure that a Balanced Scorecard is inherently tied to the organization’s critical strategic needs.

They provide the following example of a balanced scorecard dashboard:

Balanced Scorecard Dashboard

This is contrasted against the more loosely defined standard of an enterprise dashboard:

Dashboards – More Loosely Defined. The design of Dashboards, on the other hand, is much more open to interpretation. Most Dashboards are simply a series of graphs, charts, gauges, or other visual indicators that a user has chosen to monitor, some of which may be strategically important, but others of which may not. Even if a strategic link exists, it may not be clear to the person monitoring the Dashboard, since the Objective statements, which explain what achievement is desired, are typically not present on Dashboards.

As an example of a dashboard, the company took a subset of the above balanced scorecard and presented it as a more high-level KPI dashboard. It focuses on presenting a manufacturer’s sales KPIs.

Manufacturing sales KPI dashboard

Tags: Balanced Scorecard vs. Enterprise Dashboard, Manufacturing KPIs and Metrics, Enterprise Dashboard Design, Balanced Scorecard Methodology, Difference between scorecards and dashboards

Dashboard Spy Reader bonus link: Download article from the Harvard Business Review – The Balanced Scorecard – Measures That Drive Performance

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