Tools Enabling BSC Design and Deployment
I would be interested in hearing from forum members as it relates to their experience with tools catered towards BSC creation and deployment. I have lately used the MS Office Business Scorecards Accelerator ( MSOBSA, http://www.microsoft.com/office/solutions/accelerators/scorecards/default.mspx ) and I have been pretty happy with it, but I am always interested in hearing about other useful tools.
As it relates to the MSOBSA here are some of the pros and cons I have observed so far:
- Price. It is “free”. No charge for the MSOBSA itself, but it is a “plug in” that requires MS SharePoint (for its presentation/GUI) and SQL Server Analysis Service (to tie metrics to actual data) to function. So, it is “free” if you already have the required licenses.
- Functionality. Supports the creation & customization of scorecards, objectives, themes, metrics and initiatives. These can be tied together as appropriate (objectives associated with themes, initiatives associated with objectives, metrics associated with objectives, etc.) and it enables pulling metric information dynamically from SQL Server Analysis Service. Personally I have only scratched the surface as it relates to leveraging the Analysis Service capabilities, but seems like it will enable some pretty dynamic presentation and aggregation of BSC metrics.
- Presentation. From a deployment perspective it is highly beneficial that it is Web-Based. Further, the MSOBSA comes “out of the box” with multiple “Web Parts”. A web part is a visual component that can be used to easily design a SharePoint based web page by simply dragging and dropping a web part onto a web page. The web parts are pretty configurable and enable quickly presenting BSC information. The MSOBSA specific web parts include tree views showing the relationship between key BSC elements, metrics data, status icons (e.g. stop light for Red, Yellow, Green), a Visio strategy map viewer, etc. To get a better understanding of the presentation capabilities I would recommend looking at: http://www.microsoft.com/office/solutions/accelerators/scorecards/demo.mspx
- Extensibility. Given that the MSOBSA is based on SharePoint it benefits from SharePoint’s customization capabilities, e.g., in addition to the MSOBSA Web Parts it is possible to leverage the SharePoint web part libraries as well as any 3rd party or custom libraries.
- Web-Based scored card designer. While I like the fact that I can easily make all BSC information easily accessible on the web, I would prefer a snappier interface for the actual BSC design. It is not bad for a web based interface, but not as responsive as I would like.
- Input could be more streamlined. Much of the data entry requires bringing up an edit page per BSC element. E.g., there is not a single page where I can quickly enter key information (or review) each BSC objective, instead I need to select each objective, fill out a pop-up page, apply the change, and move on to the next one.
- Support. We have run into a few issues installing MSOBSA and it has taken a while to get our issues resolved. The main cause for delay appears to be that MS does not have many support personnel trained to support the MSOBSA.
This sums up my thoughts on the MSOBSA based on my use so far. As I stated at the outset I would be very interested in hearing about other tools or utilities that forum members have found useful.