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The Best Practices Of Using Balanced Scorecard Designer To Control Project Performance

Description: The case brings to light the key advantages that a balanced scorecard software offers in reducing projects costs and improving overall project performance.

Digitrack Solutions – Improving the performance metrics in implementing cloud computing initiatives.

Digitrack Solutions is a UK-based IT firm providing IT solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses. The company has it operations extended in five countries of the Southern African region, with its regional headquarters based in Johannesburg. Each country has a Regional Manager (RM) as head, and all RMs report to the Managing Director (MD) who is based in Johannesburg. The MD of the region is accountable for collective performance of the entire region, periodically sends report on the progress of various projects running across the region to the UK head office. In 2008, the company kicked off a big project offering cloud computing solutions to its clients within the region. The board of RMs met and called for an effective Business Performance Management solution that can help monitor this ambitious project, and subsequently they decided upon using the Balanced Scorecard Designer software for the purpose.

Improving the performance metrics in implementing cloud computing initiatives.

The case study of the Digitrack Solutions can broadly be divided into following sections:

  • The Client need;
  • Processes and Best Practices followed;
  • Challenges faced;
  • Outcomes.
The Client Need - The entire process of designing the Balanced Scorecard software was primarily surrounding the following client needs:
  • The foremost need of the company is to trim down the operational costs by carrying out a pan-Southern African transformation program by revamping the organizational as well as operational framework;
  • The Balanced Scorecard should clearly define value proposition, and present geographical perspectives to expand its market share.
  • The requirement to bring upon a framework that can facilitate productive communication among various subsidiaries within the region, along with pinpointing a process that would help addressing their shared objectives.

In a bid to optimize the value of its services, the company took its manufacturing and stock units to two locations in Namibia and Mauritius. This has brought down the operating costs significantly and helped deliver more value to its clients. It has further introduced several other organizational restructuring that can help achieve the company’s overall corporate objectives.

Along with this, the need of creating a communicative framework, as well as of defining value propositions properly to monitor the performance of the project better. This would eventually facilitate in clear communication of the shared goals of the company.

Processes and Best Practices Followed

The whole process of building the Balanced Scorecard for Southern African operations went through the following processes;

  • Building a Project Team
    The primary step in designing a Balanced Scorecard for monitoring the firm’s project performance is creating a proficient project team. In case of Digitrack Solutions, a project team comprising experts of Balanced Scorecard software and representatives from each region was made.
  • Training Programs
    Training programs to help the anticipated users understand the system were carried out. The training sessions were divided into five workshops, each with the gap of ten days, making the whole session to take around two months to complete.
  • Post-development Guidance
    After designing the Balanced Scorecard for performance control, a full-fledged training program on maintaining the system was conducted. An intra-organizational team to watch over the system was made. The team so made is accountable for making changes on to the system and keeping the system in a functional state to make the best use of it.
  • Assessment Meetings
    Companies usually have assessment meetings scheduled after a certain period of time, so as to keep their operations aligned with the predefined objectives of the company. Balanced Scorecard has been found instrumental in conveying these shared objectives to various management teams within the organization. In case of Digitrack Solutions, the management teams were trained on how to ‘colour-in’ various related fields to keep a track of the project performance. This would also help in addressing the issues pointed out by the reviews of information collected. Furthermore, this activity also helped employees to understand how individual contributions impact the company as a whole.

Challenges Faced

  • Challenges surfaced due to cultural and geographical diversities
    The primary challenge in designing and using a Balanced Scorecard system is to rope in management teams belonging to distinct cultural and geographical regions. Teams were facing troubles to derive common objectives initially, but later on the issue was resolved effectually.
  • Managing resources spread across large areas
    Managing key organization resources came up as a major challenge owing to the logistical problems commonly prevalent in Southern Africa. However thanks to the Balanced Scorecard Designer software which offer redesigned solutions for resource management, the issue was easily resolved.
  • To align the Balanced Scorecard with the predefined KPIs
    Measures were taken to keep the Balanced Scorecard design well in line with the KPIs defined by the UK head office of the company. Every step has corporate objectives and overall business strategy as the centrepiece and the system has been designed to help the company materialize these objectives.
Project Performance scorecard designer

Outcomes

Digitrack Solutions finally designed a suitable balanced Scorecard to track the progress of its project on introducing cloud computing in Southern Africa. Later on, the company extended the Balanced Scorecard approach to its other projects. In this case, the company obtained following outcomes:
  • Identified a new tactical framework with the Balanced Scorecard
    The company has eventually come up with a strategic framework in Southern African region to communicate its shared goals. This further enabled employees to assess the importance of their roles in the overall productivity of the company.
  • Availability of performance data to everyone
    Balanced Scorecard made the performance data available at all levels within the organization. This helped the management teams to monitor the performance of their members and allocate their resources in an optimal manner. This outcome was also a result of the overall knowledge management efforts that were made possible through the balanced scorecard designer software.
  • Constant review of the company’s performance and strategies
    Balanced Scorecard further fostered a regular review of the company’s performance and strategies at various levels of the project. This gives the flexibility to revisit goals and strategies of the organization whenever found necessary.
  • Cascading the Balanced Scorecard to the management and employee level
    Digitrack Solutions initiated cascading Balanced Scorecard at departmental as well as individual level. This helped the company to set up a more lucid framework to help its teams and employees interact with each other. This also facilitated in reviewing the company’s client base and bolster up its productivity to a considerable extent.
Key Insights

The given case study on Digitrack solutions emphasizes how Balanced Scorecard Designer software helped the UK-based IT firm Digitrack Solutions to track and optimize their project performance. The company initiated a high-profile project to introduce cloud computing in Southern African region. It opted for the Balanced Scorecard software as a business performance tool to keep a regular track of the project. The benefits specific to Digitrack Solutions are discussed herein:

  • An interactive framework to help its employees communicate better
    Balanced Scorecard offered the organization a handy communicative channel to make the shared objectives clear to its employees and management teams. This has further enhanced the synergies between the employees to perform collaboratively and derive productive outputs.
  • A useful tool to review product/value propositions and business practices
    The company also found Balanced Scorecard instrumental in review certain crucial entities including, business practices and product/value propositions.
  • Better understanding of employees’ contribution in overall productivity of the company
    Balanced Scorecard further made the performance data available to every employee in the company, making them comprehending their contributions in enhancing the productivity of the organization as a whole.
  • Along with these, the Balanced Scorecard software also helped the company revisit its business strategies and performance in a comprehensive manner. It further proved to be useful in reviewing its member/client base, as well as skills-set and knowledge base of its employees.
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