NOTE: This article was written with PerformancePoint Server 2007 (CTP3). UI and features subject to change.

One of the strategic benefits of performance scorecards is the ability to understand cause-and-effect relationships between scorecard metrics and objectives. For example: Does an increase in "cost of goods sold" affect the organization's profitability? How does employee attrition rate impact the organization's ability to increase shareholder return? Cause-and-effect diagrams can help drive organizational alignment be showing how lower-level KPIs impact strategic objectives, in turn helping individual contributors understand how their day-to-day actions impact those objectives.

Strategy maps use cause-and-effect relationships to visually describe how an organization creates value, aligned on the four perspectives of the business outlined in the Balanced Scorecard Framework:

· Financial

· Customer

· Business Process

· Learning and Growth

The following website contains more information on balanced scorecard methodology and strategy maps.

PerformancePoint Server dashboards provide a report view for creating cause-and-effect diagrams using Microsoft Office Visio® 2007 templates and data-driven shapes linked directly to PerformancePoint KPI values and targets. While the report type is called "Strategy Map," it should be noted that an organization need not formally implement balanced scorecards to use this feature. Virtually any scorecard may be represented in a visual cause-and-effect diagram using this report type.

The following steps show how to create a strategy map report view in PerformancePoint, linking PerformancePoint KPIs to a pre-existing strategy map template created in Visio 2007. This example utilizes the following sample scorecard and strategy map:

Figure 1: Sample Balanced Scorecard


Figure 2: Sample Strategy Map Template


The process of creating strategy maps in PerformancePoint consists of two main steps:

· Create a strategy map "template" in Visio 2007

· Link shapes in the template to scorecard KPIs, so that shapes can visually indicate the status against target for the given KPI

Visio 2007 is a very rich environment for building strategy map templates, offering a wide variety of shapes and arrows that can handle virtually any graphical requirement for a strategy map. In this example, simple shapes such as ovals and rectangles were used. Strategy map templates may be created in Visio 2007 and saved as a Visio 2007 drawing, or may be created "in-place" in the Dashboard Designer. In this example, we will use a Visio 2007 drawing that was created previously and saved as a Visio 2007 drawing.

NOTE: Visio 2007 is required for creating strategy maps. A license of Visio 2007 is required for the strategy map / dashboard builder. Visio 2007 licenses may not be required for all consumers - strategy maps may be published as images, or may be consumed with a Visio 2007 viewer. Additional deployment considerations are discussed at the end of this article.

This example assumes that a scorecard has been created published to a PerformancePoint Monitoring Server, or loaded into the Dashboard Designer workspace.

Let's begin.

1. In the Dashboard Designer, right-click on "Reports" in the Workspace Browser and select "New Report."

2. Select the "Strategy Map" report template and click "Ok".

Figure 3: Report Templates


3. Assign a name and display folder location (optional) to the strategy map report.

4. Select a scorecard to associate with the strategy map. In this sample, we will use the scorecard shown in Figure 1 called "Strategy Map Blog."

5. Open the strategy map template by clicking on "Edit" in the "Summary" tab of the report designer, as shown below.

Figure 4: Edit Strategy Map


6. This takes you to the Strategy Map Editor. Select "Open Visio File" to load the pre-built template. In this example, we will select a Visio 2007 drawing named "Sample Strategy Map.vsd". This step will load the drawing into the Strategy Map Editor. At this point, we are now ready to create linkages between the shapes in the drawing and KPIs in the scorecard.

Figure 5: Strategy Map Editor


7. Select the first shape to link. In this example, we've selected the shape titled "Increase Revenue".

Figure 6: Select Shape


8. Next, select the scorecard KPI to associate with the shape. In this example, we've selected the "Increase Revenue" KPI, as shown below. We can choose to link the shape to either actual or target values - in this case, we have selected target values, so that the color of the shape will indicate status against target. We have already populated the shape with the appropriate text. If we were working with blank shapes, we could choose to have the KPI name automatically placed in the shape by clicking the check box at the bottom of the dialog. Click "Ok".

Figure 7: Select a KPI


9. At this point, we can continue to link shapes to KPIs, or click "Apply" to preview the finished view in the Dashboard Designer. Click "Apply". We can see that the shape we linked has changed color to green, indicating that this KPI is exceeding threshold, as shown below. This coincides with the KPI value in the scorecard, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 8: Shape Linked to KPI


10. The remainder of the shapes in the strategy map can now be linked to scorecard KPIs by repeating step 7-9. Linking the remaining shapes in the financial perspective of the strategy map looks something like the following.

Figure 9: Completed Strategy Map


11. The completed strategy map may now be used in a PerformancePoint Dashboard, as shown below. Notice how the shape colors in the strategy map correspond to the color of target status icons in the scorecard.

Figure 10: Strategy Map in Dashboard


12. The shapes in the strategy map will update to reflect current scorecard values. Strategy maps may also be linked to dashboard filters, including time intelligence filters. Changing dashboard filter selections will cause the strategy map to update accordingly. If the strategy map is consumed on the client with the Visio 2007 viewer (see next section) than the user has the ability to zoom, pan, or open the strategy map in Visio. Furthermore, the user may view shape properties that will display any other properties of the KPI associated with that shape (actual value, person responsible, threshold settings, description, etc.) as shown below. Shape properties may be selected by double-clicking the shape or right-clicking on the shape and selecting "Properties and Settings."

Figure 11: Shape Properties and Settings


Deployment Considerations

Strategy maps may be deployed as an image, or as a "live" report viewable through Visio Viewer 2007. Neither option requires a Visio 2007 license for the strategy map consumer. Both deployment options have pros and cons.

Render as image:

· Pro - No software need be installed on the client desktop

· Con - Strategy map is "static" - consumer cannot interact with the strategy map, including tasks such as: zoom in/out, pan, properties/settings

· Con - Additional security settings must be configured to enable the automation of Visio 2007 on the server (see below)

Visio Viewer 2007

· Pro - More interactivity than with images. User can zoom in/out, pan, view shape properties/settings

· Con - Visio Viewer 2007 (available as free download) must be installed on the consumer's desktop

Due to interactivity, the Visio Viewer 2007 option will be the preferred method for deploying strategy maps in many cases. Note that the Visio 2007 UI configuration (toolbar) settings are not modifiable by the user. A user may hide Visio toolbar buttons, but the UI will reset if a new filter selection is made or the dashboard is refreshed. For more information on Visio Viewer 2007, visit the following web page:

If desktop installations are tightly controlled at your organization, "render as image" may be the preferred deployment option. For strategy map images to render properly on the client, some security settings must be configured on the PerformancePoint Monitoring Server and the SharePoint server. These settings will be a topic for a future blog entry and will be addressed in final product documentation.


Rex Parker (