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What's the difference between dashboards and scorecards?

From a business intelligence point of view, when do you use one or the other or are they the same thing for the same purpose? Sorry for the confusion, but must admit I don't really get it.




Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

I look at it this way.....

The dashboard is where you place or see your scorecards. Scorecards are the metrics/info that you monitor. Scorecards and KPI's are more similar. Not all scorecards are KPIs. Your internal reports may have a "dashboard" where you list a summary of the important scorecards (KPIs) you measure/monitor. You may have a system (dashboard) where your scorecards are updated in real time.

Look at your car's dashboard and see the fuel gauge, heat gauge, mileage, etc. These are your KPIs. Your car's computer may maintain other data (scorecards) that is monitored but the KPIs are what is on the dashboard.

Hope my circuitous explanation made sense.

Topic Expert
Charley Kyd
Title: Founder
Company: ExcelUser
(Founder, ExcelUser) |

Here's how I typically explain it...

"Dashboard" refers to the FORMAT of a report or display. Typically, a dashboard contains multiple charts of time-series data, and often, summary-level tables.

"Scorecard" refers to the CONTENT of a report or display. It shows key metrics that track the performance of your organization.

You can have a dashboard that's not a scorecard. For example, you could use a dashboard to report sales by product, expenses by department, customers by category, and so on.

Unfortunately, many Business Intelligence vendors take the "dashboard" term too literally, and include gauges in their displays. A gauge provides no more information than raw numbers provide. So gauges needlessly decorate your data.

Instead, in my opinion, dashboard graphics should show TRENDS, which most managers crave. With many time-series charts on a page, managers quickly can review and compare the performance of many products, divisions, departments, and so on.

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

In my opinion, they are one in the same. I think that some people view the "scorecard" as a branding of a specific system, i.e. the Balanced Scorecard. But in terms of everyday use, change the header on the dashboard to read scorecard, what's the difference? Or, call it metric tracker, performance monitor, whatever.


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