The topic of scorecard automation typically arises early in the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) process; often after the first BSC review meeting. Figure 20.1 provides an overview of how this automation flows.
The Excuse to Automate
As soon as the first or second review meeting is done, the BSC coordinator will suggest that the scorecard cannot be efficiently or accurately reported unless the process is automated. It's possible that an outside automation firm has gotten to them (I know this because my firm offers an automation solution—Accelerator), or simply because the coordinator believes life will be much easier with an automation solution in place. That is actually not true; I'll tell you why.
Most organizations do not have a robust management information system (MIS). In the early BSC reporting rounds, many of the measures may need to be manually calculated. At times, the data will need to be imported from multiple sources. Even automation solutions cannot fully get rid of this problem. Automating your scorecards before automating most of your measures is not a good idea.
There is another issue. It is quite possible that it may take two or three reporting cycles to finalize and freeze your data sources and your measures. What if you rush into automating your scorecard ...