Is using software to report on your Balanced Scorecard a good idea or is that just overkill? How is BSC software different than dashboarding software?

asked Mar 27 '10 at 18:07

Sawyer's gravatar image


Reporting with some combination of Excel and Powerpoint is definitely AN option - but in my experience, it's nowhere near THE BEST option. Combining a number of excel sheets and powerpoints slides quickly becomes a hassle for data analysts. This is only exacerbated when an entire leadership team is trying to jam in their information last minute, the charts are not automatically updating, and then the real issue emerges when someone loses track of which version is the latest version.

I would recommend ClearPoint Strategy Management and Balanced Scorecard Software. More information and free trials are available here: https://www.clearpointstrategy.com/promo/learn-more/balanced-scorecard-software

But is balanced scorecard software too expensive? In my opinion - no way. Especially if your organization uses more one person to collect your quarterly or annual balanced scorecard data, analysis, and recommendations for each of your 10-25 measures.

So scorecarding software is a rapidly growing field especially as more and more social and nonprofit sector organizations begin to utilize these powerful tools to replace the headaches of Powerpoint and Excel reporting.

As for the differences in dashboarding and scorecarding software:

Dashboarding software is just that - for turning data into charts, and then combining charts into visual dashboards - just like in your car.

Balanced Scorecard Software is different. It is designed to manage a larger set strategy management requirements. BSC software should be able to support things like project reports and time-scaled gantt charts, organization alignment matrices to see how the mission cascades throughout the different levels of organizational measures. Balanced scorecard software should also support Drs. Kaplan and Norton's key strategic framework elements like perspectives (customer, financial, internal processes, and learning and growth), strategy map(s), objectives, measures, initiatives, as well as short term action items.

We recommend that every potential buyer should sample and demo a few alternatives to fully understand each systems capabilities and to build internal momentum behind implementing and using a new method of communication, collaboration, and management.

One option you might try is ClearPoint Strategy.

ClearPoint Strategy is a web-based balanced scorecard, dashboard, and performance management solution. ClearPoint has a highly effective US based support team that is eager to help you get started quickly. They also offer a number of example templates to browse and can add your strategic plan, charts, or even add other users while you get comfortable using the collaborative web-based tool.

Click here for more information and a free demo version of the software: ClearPoint Strategy Management and Balanced Scorecard Software

Best of luck!

answered May 08 '11 at 15:17

John%20S's gravatar image

John S

edited Aug 21 '11 at 20:37

We do a lot of work with organisations on the design and implementation of Balanced Scorecards, and in our experience software solutions are a distraction in all but the largest implementations of Balanced Scorecard. For most organisations with five or fewer Balanced Scorecards, it is usually easier to prepare Balanced Scorecard reports manually (using office software products) than install and use specialised software packages.

Balanced Scorecard software packages are really just 'automation' packages - they make the process of collecting and generating the Balanced Scorecard report easier. But since a well designed Balanced Scorecard doesn't have many measures anyhow, these automation benefits are hard to realise until you are regularly having to collect 100's of measures each period.

Balanced Scorecard software is also pretty expensive stuff - usually tens of thousands of dollars. To recover this scale of expenditure there needs to be a cost-benefit calculation - we normally suggest the potential saving in administrative time is offset against this cost, but if that is not enough there are some qualitative benefits you can maybe attribute value to too.

Be careful of who advises you - it is not uncommon for design and implementation consultants to be paid 'commission' of some sort by the software vendor for persuading you to buy a particular brand of software.

To help with the decision making process, 2GC (which does not sell software) runs an online database of software vendors / packages that are used for Balanced Scorecard applications. Currently it lists about 100 packages - and for each we provide such summary information as we can find on the product, its uses, and its cost. Find the database here:


Access the database is free.

Hope it helps.

answered Mar 31 '10 at 09:12

Gavin%20Lawrie's gravatar image

Gavin Lawrie

Using software to report on your Balanced Scorecard is a good idea, but I suggest you not let the software selection process in the way of getting started with reporting. Software selection often involves the IT team, and you can spend months wasting time on choosing the perfect software instead of focusing on getting the business process right.

That being said, software allows you to:

  • Ensure you have "one version of the truth"
  • Stop you from endlessly formatting PPT
  • Allows you to better visualize alignment in the organization
  • Saves time for reporting
  • Allows you to engage more people in the process

Once your process is mature, software is a great idea.

answered Mar 27 '10 at 20:56

Dylan's gravatar image

Dylan ♦♦

Balanced Scorecard Collaborative used to certify software that met certain minimum standards (like having a strategy map, etc.) But I'm not sure that program is still active. There is still a web page dedicated to it, but I'm not sure when it was last updated:


answered Apr 06 '10 at 22:38

Jason's gravatar image


The Balanced Scorecard Collaborative (now called Palladium) does/did have a certification program, but I wouldn't pay much attention to it. Not only do they charge software vendors to be listed, but Palladium now sells their own competing software too.

Of the top of my head, I'd say the 2GC list that Gavin posted is probably your best starting point.

answered Nov 18 '10 at 15:34

scottoreilly's gravatar image


In thinking about the BSC software selection process, you should first think about why you are choosing software. Hopefully your answer is that your current reporting process is too cumbersome. That is typically the case with Excel and PowerPoint. You may also have a second answer that your current needs cannot be met by the capabilities of software within your organization.

As for a process for choosing software, I would recommend a very simple process.

1a. Try to write down your requirements first - lots of software is very cool and you may forget your requirements when you see cool features. Of course buying cool features and still having a gap in your requirements is an issue.

1b. Write down your restrictions - similar to requirements, you may have certain capabilities that you cannot meet. You may not be able to have SaaS software, or maybe it needs to be 508 compliant. These are like requirements, but I consider them restrictions.

  1. Create a short list of applications that meets these needs. Look carefully at the requirements/restrictions of the applications. Make sure that it is acceptable.

  2. Conduct a review of the applications with your actual data - get a trial and demo and make sure that the software can do what you want it to do...not just what the vendor says.

  3. Do a pricing analysis - you may be willing to pay more if the application meets your needs better. Don't let pricing drive the decision 100%, but it should be a key factor.

Of course you can make the selection process as complicated as you need to, but I suggest following these principles.

answered Jun 02 '11 at 12:49

Ted%20Jackson's gravatar image

Ted Jackson

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