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Strategy Map Software: The Proven Way To Stay On Course
A strategy map is a visual, one-page snapshot of your strategy. (Emphasis on one page.) It shows the causal relationship between your people, processes, customers, and financial results. Rooted in the Balanced Scorecard, a strategy map shows how you will achieve strategic success and can be an extremely powerful communication tool inside and outside your organization. Sometimes, this map doesn’t get translated well into reporting software, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can build a map that’s both creatively designed and heavily detailed.
ClearPoint’s strategy map software cleanly integrates your map into a Balanced Scorecard framework, blending appealing graphics with layers of important information. Add your company colors and logo, display objectives in a graphic style, and incorporate visuals into every element of your strategy map. You can integrate all these design elements into your map and still retain the ability to have dynamic RAG status updates and one-click access to details. Yes, your map will look a lot better...and you don’t have to sacrifice any functionality. The best part? Your map will be more readable and useful to your organization.
Ready to see how much better your maps can be in ClearPoint? Fill out the form to the right to get a tour. If you’re still information-gathering, keep reading to learn more about ClearPoint’s strategy map software, as well as how to determine if your current mapping technology is failing you.
ClearPoint’s Strategy Map Creator
If you need more information about ClearPoint before you give our strategy map software a spin, here are some highlights of the features and functionality:
Create multiple maps.
You can have more than one map for each scorecard or level of your organization. For example, ClearPoint works with a hospital that has a very comprehensive and detailed strategy map (including 42 objectives!). The hospital needs this complexity on their map, but also uses a simpler version with only seven objectives for internal meetings and to demonstrate alignment with the strategic plan. In ClearPoint, you can have multiple maps and use specific versions for different environments.
Add design and dynamic elements.
Your strategy map can include background images, your logo, and your exact, professionally drawn (or PowerPoint-created) map. When you “drag out” the objectives, you get dynamic status indicators and the ability to drill down into the objective detail page. The RAG status updates automatically on the map based on the reporting period.
Incorporate the Norton/Kaplan BSC methodology (if you choose).
With ClearPoint’s strategy map creator, you have the option to follow the Norton & Kaplan Balanced Scorecard methodology. We have expertise in this methodology, but realize some organizations only use its principles at a high level and customize their scorecard framework from there to meet specific needs. If you’d like to include measures or projects on your strategy map, with the ability to zero in on those elements, ClearPoint’s functionality can accommodate. When using more than one strategy map, you can create theme maps and other visual layouts that show exactly what you want, in a way that can be exported cleanly within a briefing book.
Go beyond strategy maps.
ClearPoint gives you the flexibility to extrapolate from your strategy maps. Do you want to show a Hoshin matrix that links goals and projects? Do you need to create a risk assessment heat map and plot your risks on the heat map? No problem—both are possible and more. Plus, you can get details about your risks and action plans in a click.
Do you want to show a Hoshin matrix that links goals and projects? Do you need to create a risk assessment heat map and plot your risks on the heat map? No problem—both are possible and more. Click To Tweet
Don’t get stuck with a strategy map creator that’s just “OK”—ClearPoint offers a proven way to keep your strategy on course because it allows you to create exactly what you want. If you’re not using software with features like the ones mentioned above, it can let you down in more ways than one.
How Strategy Map Software Can Fail You (& What You Can Do About It)
If you’re still reading this article and the word “fail” looks like a flashing neon sign in the headline above, odds are that one of the following situations sounds familiar:
- Your team isn’t inspired by your strategy map, making your regular monthly or quarterly strategy review meetings a real drag.
- Your strategy map is overly academic or needlessly technical—and frankly, not something you’re proud of.
- Your actual strategy is solid, but you have no idea how to depict it in an appropriate, visual-friendly way.
If any of these situations sounds familiar, your strategy map software could be a major part of the problem.
The point of a strategy map is to communicate your strategy clearly inside your organization, making it something employees can connect and interact with; a strategy map tool (i.e. software) helps bring that strategy story to life.
When you go through the strategy mapping process, employees are more likely to understand what the organization is trying to accomplish, see how you’d get from a certain skillset to activities they’re undertaking, understand how you make customers happy, and see the connection with financial results—all in one page. It will bring your strategy to life the same way a chart brings a data set to life.
Good strategy map software should be able to show where you’re at today in executing on your strategy (typically through RAG status indicators for a particular month or quarter you’re in). Additionally, software should make your strategy map interactive. You should be able to click on any of those key objectives and drill down to see detailed analysis, measures, and projects.
With that in mind, is the strategy software you’re currently using supporting your communication goals, or is it working against you?
To find out, answer these questions:
- Does your strategy map software make you work within the confines of a drawing software? If the tool you’re using forces you to create a strategy map using extremely limited tools (like simply box-and-grid formats or awkward-looking thin lines showing linkages between objectives) it’s probably causing you more harm than good.
- Does your strategy map resemble a Microsoft Paint drawing or an engineering diagram? You should be able to create a strategy map that keeps your organization’s style and design, without conforming to a tool. If your strategy map tool doesn’t allow you to add your own stylistic elements, your employees will be less likely to connect with it.
- Does your strategy map software limit what you can display (or force you to display what you don’t want or need)? Either way you look at it, you should be allowed to display only what is critical to your organization—not what the software provider deems appropriate.
All that being said, not all strategy map makers will let you down. The best strategy map tools won’t limit or constrain you, and will provide you with a clean and intuitive interface so you can design a strategy map you’re proud of.
Good strategy map software should allow you to do the following:
- Upload a background image consistent with your organizational style. Create a customized look for your strategy map that is in line with your company style guide, representative of brand colors or shapes, your logo, your design techniques, and more.
- Add your own objectives, measures, and initiatives. Anything you want should go on your strategy map. You may have several versions with different owners or highlighting different measures, charts, projects, risks, etc. You can have anything you want on your strategy map—which makes it the flexible tool you need!
- Allow users to drill down to gather additional details. You need to be able to drill down to whatever details you want so the strategy map actually conveys the right message to those inside and outside of your organization.
If you’re ready to ditch your lousy tool in favor of one that hits all the highpoints listed above, why not give ClearPoint a try? Fill out this short form and you’ll get instant access to a ClearPoint demo account. If you love it, we’ll set you up with a free 15-day demo! And there are absolutely no strings attached. Get started now!