Tracking your organization’s progress and monitoring KPIs is a key aspect of your business intelligence tools. There are multiple ways to track your success metrics based on your needs and the time frame you’re seeking to monitor.

Dashboards offer a broad way to track strategic goals and measure a company’s overall efficiency. Scorecards, on the other hand, provide a quick and concise way to measure KPIs and give a clear indication of how well organizations are working to achieve their targets.

Deciding which tracking tool to use depends largely on what you are looking for. Today, most organizations use dashboards and scorecards as their main reporting tools. More importantly, it depends on what metrics are being tracked, and the goals associated with tracking this data. Before choosing one over the other, it’s important to learn what benefits scorecards and dashboards can deliver.

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What is a Scorecard?

Scorecards offer organizations a snapshot of their current performance when compared to their goals. They are useful tools for organizations which need to manage performance and make strategic decisions better based on the distance between current performance and the goal. As such, scorecards present a more static view of an organization at a point in time rather than a dynamic hub to monitor success.

Scorecards are most commonly used to track KPIs, as they focus on both the current status of the metric being tracked and the target value. However, scorecards aren’t live, so data is not updated in real-time. Instead, scorecards serve to monitor strategic goals relative to KPIs and to make decisions on a larger scale.

These decisions can include tracking the progress of a set strategy, measuring the efficiency of particular teams or departments towards meeting goals or even identifying problems and how they can be resolved. Scorecards are generally periodic measures, usually updated at set intervals such as weekly or monthly.

What is a Dashboard?

Dashboards are central hubs for multiple reports that provide easy access to various datasets simultaneously. Unlike scorecards, dashboards are used as a monitoring tool in real-time. Data is constantly updated, giving organizations an opportunity to track their operational performance in real time. As opposed to progress, dashboards measure performance, tracking metrics without comparing them to target values.

Dashboards are used daily in organizations as they offer a more operational view of success than scorecards’ focus on strategic goals. Data available in dashboards is used to provide a foundation for better decision making and more efficient day-to-day management of teams, resources, and expenses. For most organizations, dashboards present a high-level idea of an organization’s overall performance.

More importantly, dashboards help organizations view their historic data as a function of current performance. For example, companies can see their revenues over the past 12 months or measure their month-to-month sales growth on an ongoing basis. Some traditional dashboard examples include marketing boards that can monitor campaigns and strategies end-to-end, or medical dashboards that track hospital operations centrally.

Dashboard vs Scorecard – Which One Do You Need?

When choosing which reporting tool to use, the decision between scorecards and dashboards is not necessarily mutually exclusive. Using both at the right times can give your organization a much clearer picture of its health and your progress toward reaching your operational and strategic goals.

Scorecards are ideal when you’re looking for a concise view of a specific area. If you need to determine how well marketing KPIs are being met, or how a specific team is handling their tasks, a scorecard can illuminate how close or far they are from their goals. This can be useful when you’re attempting to identify areas for improvement or ways to make specific tasks more efficient.

Dashboards are advantageous when you need a bird’s-eye view of your organization’s operations. Because they can hold multiple reports and datasets in a single hub, dashboards are highly useful when reviewing your success daily. Instead of specifically tracking progress toward goals, however, dashboards offer a more holistic view of data. That is, they present data without its target value, delivering a better historic view of progress which is ideal for making day-to-day operational decisions designed to improve your organizational processes.

Most importantly, your dashboards and scorecards don’t have to be separate entities. Many dashboards present scorecards as a periodic way to measure success, and they can also track KPIs. Scorecards can also be included in dashboards, offering an individual location to view multiple KPIs and their accompanying progress.

Choosing the right reporting tools for your organization does not have to be an either-or choice. By combining the best parts of both scorecards and dashboards, you can get the most out of your data and constantly refine decision-making.

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