Scorecards and dashboards, aren’t they the same thing?
They both track performance, but how do these two methods of tracking business performance differ? Which method is suitable for your business?
In short, dashboards excel at monitoring performance in real time, while scorecards serve as goal management tools. But you can use them together.
Dashboards are a set of data visualizations and charts arranged logically in one overview.
They bring together all relevant company metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) in one place for easy reference. Besides text and numbers, dashboards can also include visual aids like graphs, charts, and gauges to monitor and compare business performance in real-time.
Dashboard example: Look at DashThis’s call tracking reporting dashboard for sales or customer support teams.
Suppose you’re leading a sales or customer call center team, and want to review your team’s performance in the month.
Using a dashboard, you’ve got the highlights at a glance, helping you answer questions like:
Real-time visibility to make short-term to medium-term operational decisions
Dashboards are effective for rapidly changing situations that require decisive action.
Some example situations:
You need to centralize data across multiple data sources
With the average midsize business holding 238 SaaS subscriptions, we now expect to review various data sources.
Imagine trying to gather all that data and making an informed decision. You'll be wasting hours manually exporting data without a tool to aggregate all the data and put it in an easy reference point. Not to mention you might miss out on critical insights from different sources.
A dashboard address this issue. Dashboard tools like DashThis offer a range of data integrations from marketing tools, helping you import your data into a dashboard with a few clicks.
Tip: This structure is like the inverted pyramid used in journalism, which states important information at the beginning of an article.
Tip: For more guidance on using visuals in dashboards, we’ve got a guide for you!
Scorecards answer “how are we doing on X against our target?”
Like aiming for a gold star at a competition, scorecards track your progress against a goal, helping decision-makers understand how an initiative performs against its target.
Tip: Gauge widgets are an easy visual way to show progress towards goals and establish benchmarks. Set your boundaries to define the widget's red, yellow, and green areas.
This keeps your team aligned and focused on current progress towards business objectives. Go further by pairing gauges with a concise explanation and propose a few solutions.
1. Ensure a clear link between scorecard metrics and strategic goals.
For example, if one of your primary goals is to improve regional sales, you’ll want to track revenue-related goals and how much profit you’re making.
This scorecard helps you see these essential metrics at a single glance.
Add context for your scorecard with notes covering:
2. Review your chosen metrics regularly (once every 6 months at minimum)
Shifts in competitor strategy.
Drastic shifts in the market.
A global pandemic changing the way of life for many.
Businesses need to adapt to these changes to stay relevant.
If dashboards monitor metrics in real-time, scorecards measure progress towards a goal.
Use dashboards to track ongoing campaigns or to get a snapshot of business performance.
Take this SEM dashboard, for example.
Graphs and charts measure key campaign metrics like conversions and average conversion values, giving you insights on your SEM campaigns.
Scorecards excel at concisely measuring progress with strategic goals.
These come in handy during strategic planning sessions to forecast performance effectively and communicate company progress to employees, shareholders, or clients without getting bogged down with too many metrics.
Dashboards are more suited for team managers who need a view of operational metrics.
In contrast, scorecards are more useful for people involved in strategy or who want to review an overview of performance.
As scorecards connect company objectives, KPIs, and actions to reach a target value, they complement popular goal-setting methodologies like OKRs or the SMART goal methodology to define success criteria and measure progress.
Hint: you don’t need to choose between the two.
Here’s how you can use dashboards and scorecards to streamline your reporting.
Let’s say you’re a marketing agency that needs to measure a multi-channel marketing campaign to drive qualified traffic and generate leads across SEO, PPC, and email marketing channels.
Use a scorecard method to summarize your key metrics.
In the example image, we’ve tracked total sessions and bounce rate to measure our progress towards our goal of generating qualified traffic, while goal completions and goal completion rate track how many leads our campaign has brought in.
You can either use gauge widgets to visualize goals, or add in your targets using the notes and comments feature besides a numerical widget.
A chart aggregates the performance of all marketing channels over time, helping us see which channel is most effective at hitting our goals.
While dashboards help you monitor the performance of each channel
While scorecards track goal progress, dashboards help you drill down into the specifics of each campaign. You can monitor metrics beyond those directly related to your KPIs for more context to ensure your campaigns perform as expected.
Combining the two methods helps you view the day-to-day activities and align your tactical decisions with strategic goals.
You can get started in minutes. All you need to do is.
Remember, dashboards and scorecards are tools. Feel free to mix and match them for your reporting needs!
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