Dashboards, Scorecards, Management Information (MI) Reports…are the terms used interchangeably in your organisation? Or like many, do they float in and out of fashion? So does the name matter or are they too similar to bother differentiating.
In a nutshell, a scorecard is a type of report that measures and compares your performance against your projections and goals. It should evaluate the success and failure of your actions, based on your KPIs. A dashboard on the other hand should be made up of multiple reports. It should display them in a way that allows you to easily compare different datasets in one place.
So scorecards can be part of a dashboard, not the other way around. Dashboards should be customised for the person viewing them – for instance, the Head of Sales needs to see different information than your Financial Director. MI reports should incorporate a combination of quantitative and qualitative data, and be in a consistent format so it can be regularly reviewed and assessed.
So which is the right choice for your organisation? How do you decide how to display your information? To be brutally honest…it really does not matter. The name, and the style is less important than the thing you are trying to convey.
Reports can provide serious value to an organisation, but only if they are done created correctly. Reports should help businesses evaluate their goals and overall direction in order to determine if they are on track to target. They should help you assess trends and see patterns in order to utilise resources in the most efficient way possible. Everyone learns in a different way, and everyone takes in data in different ways, so you should display your report in the way that is most appropriate for your end user. The important things to remember are accuracy and ease of use. There is no point producing reports if they cannot be used to make decisions and assess progress.
When it comes to reports, the name is secondary – content is key!