A Balanced Scorecard, in our experience, is best used to monitor business operations, where it will track your targets or benchmarks for regular business performance indicators.
Its really important to get that balance of measures right. There is no point only gathering data on sales performance if your business has significant employee numbers and supply chains too – your Balanced Scorecard should be capturing key measures of success in those (and other material) areas of your business too. You should probably also use both financial and non financial data, which can be numerical or qualitative, provided that it is always clear and relevant, and as objective as possible.
Balanced Scorecards often tie together budgeted, forecasted and actual data and focus mostly on the current year, but may show trends over the longer term. They may capture high level metrics from your Profit & Loss, Cashflow Statement and Balance Sheet, but they won’t show much detail.
Strategic Dashboards focus on the data around Actions in your Strategic Plan that will transform your business and achieve your bigger goals over the longer term. So if your Strategic Plan has to focus more on some parts of your business than others, because that is where strategic change is most required, then that will be the focus of your Strategic Dashboard too – which means that it may not appear to be “balanced”. Remember, strategic business focus tends to shift over time.