Getting the most out of ClearPoint: Do This, Not That! | ClearPoint Strategy

Getting the most out of ClearPoint: Do This, Not That!

ClearPoint is a highly flexible platform that lets you create incredible management reports. And it’s addicting – “hey, look at how we made this management report – imagine what we could do with our personal scorecards.” Or “these notifications are great – let’s use them to make workflows for our expense reporting.”

 

But not all use cases are perfect for ClearPoint — yet — and there are better and more effective ways to do things. In this article, we’re making a few “do this, not that!” suggestions based on the experiences of hundreds of clients creating thousands of different reports in ClearPoint.

 

Of course, every organization is different, and these are general suggestions, so if you’re a ClearPoint customer with Premium Support (which you have if you’re on the Professional or Enterprise Plan), just give our friendly and helpful Customer Success team a call. We’re here to help.

Workflow and Notifications

Do This

Do set up notifications in ClearPoint. They’re great for letting you know when things have changed in the system – for example, when your status goes red, you’re assigned a new objective, or a change is made to some custom field you have in the system.

Not That

Don’t try to use ClearPoint’s notifications for routing and approvals for tasks, expenses, or other workflow-intensive activities. You can definitely track approvals in ClearPoint, but the system cannot automatically route approvals based on a complex set of rules.

Project Management

Do This

Do take advantage of ClearPoint’s capabilities for strategic project management. ClearPoint can be used to track budgets, start dates, end dates, and key milestones along the way. It shows Gantt Charts and percent complete, and you can assign ownership and accountability.

Not That

Don’t attempt portfolio management within a single initiative. Instead, break “super-projects” down into multiple projects, with 10 or fewer key milestones each. That way, you can assign accountability appropriately, and ClearPoint’s performance won’t be affected by trying to show hundreds of milestones on the same page, filtered list, or Gantt Chart.

Personal Scorecards

Do This

Do track strategic measures that impact your employee’s reviews, performance, or compensation in ClearPoint. Create scorecards that have these organizational performance measures on them, and then use ClearPoint’s XLS export feature to export the values and calculate the scores for each and every personal scorecard in your organization.

Not That

Don’t try to create 100s or 1000s of personal scorecards in ClearPoint. For one reason, you’d need 1000s of licenses for everyone to see them, and for another, you’re creating a huge management job to make sure they’re all correct and aligned properly. ClearPoint is great at a lot of things, but wasn’t designed as an employee performance management system.

Attachments

Do This

Do take advantage of ClearPoint’s attachments field to link a detailed project plan or a detailed budget to an element. This is a great way to give context in your management reviews and to ensure all the important information is at your fingertips. Do make sure these files are standard office files, PDFs, etc.

Not That

Don’t try to make ClearPoint your document library. Solutions like DropBox (or Box, or SharePoint) have indexing, offline access, and other things to help you manage your documents. Try to keep each file under 10MB, and try to use less than 10GB in total (or your friendly Customer Success rep might ask you nicely to trim the fat a bit.)

Summary Reports

Do This

Do create Summary Reports – they’re one of the most powerful parts of ClearPoint. You can drag and drop any field related to any element, and you can also filter by field (including custom fields). But think about your audience when building your reports. What message are you trying to tell? Keep your reports focused and to the point. No one likes going through 100-page reports in 10pt font.

Not That

Don’t try to put everything on one page. Just because you can, that doesn’t mean you should. These are summary reports; which means they are meant to summarize information. If you try to drag out every single field onto the screen, and then try to add every single element from across your account, no one will ever use that report — not to mention it will be super slow to load and generate.

Calculations

Do This

Do create calculations in ClearPoint. An excellent feature of ClearPoint is its ability to aggregate and combine data from systems across (and even outside of) your organization. You can manually enter data, upload data from Excel, or even link to SQL databases. In addition, you can write equations, run aggregations, and count status indicators automatically.

Not That

Don’t build overly complex calculations and aggregations (ones that are nested down 5 levels or more, aggregations of aggregations, or aggregations of calculations). While ClearPoint has a super powerful calculation engine, it’s tuned differently than Excel. Where Excel freaks out with linked spreadsheets and external data, ClearPoint shines. But where Excel excels (sorry) with calculating complex logarithmic series, ClearPoint may have a tad more trouble. So, if you have question, contact ClearPoint Customer Success – we can help you get things configured properly from the start.

Reporting Frequency

Do This

Do take advantage of ClearPoint’s custom reporting frequencies to create monthly, quarterly, and annual reporting periods. Do use fiscal years to support aggregation against a non calendar year, and take advantage of hidden periods and custom reporting frequencies on a one-off basis for weird measures (like the one you report on every February).

Not That

Don’t try to track daily or weekly information in ClearPoint. ClearPoint is optimized to create a management reporting scorecard – not an operational dashboard. What’s the difference? With a management scorecard, you can look at trends over time, with qualitative information about what’s going on. An operational scorecard presents a “snapshot” of real time data.

Browser Versions

Do This

Do use a modern browser like the current (or at least a still supported) version of Chrome, FireFox, Safari or Edge. ClearPoint is a cloud-based application. That means the browser makes a substantial difference in how you experience the software. Not only will ClearPoint run faster, you’ll also be more secure and happier overall.

Not That

Don’t stick with an outdated browser for nostalgia’s sake. By using an old version of Internet Explorer (or Netscape Navigator), you may also compromise your security. Read here about why we don’t support IE 9 or 10 – which applies to versions of Safari, Firefox, or Chrome as well.

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