Big Data: Scorecards and Dashboards

Last week we discussed data from anecdotes and storytelling. This was the beginning of the human capital analytics continuum. This week I want to talk about scorecards and dashboards.

Scorecards, most notably “balanced scorecards,” are a strategic performance management tool that can leverage automated surveys to track how an organization executes strategy and the consequences arising from business process, most commonly referred to as activity metrics. Scorecards characteristically have a mixture of financial and non-financial measures, each compared to its targets, all within a single concise report. Remember the human capital analytics continuum I keep mentioning? Well, scorecards are an important step on this continuum, because this is where you must lay out the basic assumptions: what are your strategies, and what are the various ways in which you will measure them? We will discuss data-driven strategy in the next few weeks.

Dashboards share the same characteristics as scorecards. A dashboard is a distillation of the most important key performance indicators of a company that an executive can view at a glance. Dashboards might be an ad-hoc effort put together on spreadsheets or even lower-tech tools, or they may involve special-purpose programming.

Dashboard data is going to contribute to your overall big data pool. Dashboards provide descriptive statistics such as: What is the headcount? Who completed what training? How much is payroll? What you do with this data is going to be the important step. How can you make big decisions using your big data?

Dashboards are a good place to start. However, I caution against making decisions solely based on dashboard data. In many cases, this data is correlated, but that does not always imply causality. Did you know that the more ice cream that is sold, the more drownings occur? That is a correlation, but it doesn’t necessarily mean ice cream causes drownings. I will be making an argument for causation versus correlation in the new few weeks.

Join us next week as we continue to explore the concept of big data, what constitutes it and how we can use it to our advantage. I would love to hear your take on big data in the comment section below.