Data gathering challenges
Gathering data into a Performance Scorecard reporting system can often present unique challenges (Niven, 2005). One of the first challenges that companies face when implementing a Balanced Scorecard is the availability of data for all performance measures that were set in the performance scorecard. Many times, between 20 and 30 percent of the data that needs to be gathered for analyze is missing (Niven, 2005; Kaplan and Norton, 1996).
According with Niven (2005), when this situation is the case, the data gathering and reporting process should not stop, but continue for the existing and ready to report data. For the missing data a new initiative can be set in place, in parallel, in order to acquire the outstanding data.
One important aspect regarding the measures devised and selected for building the performance scorecard is to be easily measurable and match the organization current data collection capabilities. Otherwise, if this is not the case, significant resources might be necessary to be dedicated in order to streamline or even change the reporting system, to cope with the data gathering requirements. If the organization is not prepared for such a change, it is particularly important to device a set of measures for which information can be obtained in an affordable and timely manner (Mackay, 2005)
In a Balanced Scorecard data gathering and reporting system, different performance measures have different owners who are empowered to provide necessary data in time for analyses and reporting.
Another challenge is collecting the necessary data is time. The easiest and most reliable way to do this, according with Niven (2005) is to make the process as simple and painless as possible for those affected.
Data gathering solutions
Today, there are a wide range of standardized data gathering and reporting solutions that can do the trick. Some of them are low tech solutions, but incredible effective and efficient if used right, like Microsoft Excel tool, other are more advanced, automated solutions. These advanced solutions can range from off the shelf software to customized software for Balanced Scorecard automation.
In cases where a low tech solution is deployed, automated links can be built into the gathering system, making easier for the data custodians to send the necessary data in time. According with Niven (2005) designing and distributing a customized performance template for data gathering will enforce and streamline the data gathering process. Such template can be easily transmitted to data custodians who can complete it and send it back to the system administrator in due time.
In cases where an automated system is in place, data collection process can become even easier to perform, as the system administrator only needs to transfer the data from a common form to the reporting tool (Niven, 2005)
- Niven, P. (2005), Maintaining the Balanced Scorecard. An excerpt from Balanced Scorecard step by step, Perform Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp 13-19.
- Kaplan, R. & Norton, D. (1996), The Balanced Scorecard: translating strategy into action, Harvard Business Scholl Press, Boston, MA.
- Mackay, A. (2005), A practitioner’s guide to the Balanced Scorecard, Research Report, The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).