Your ClearPoint Fall Cleaning Guide

Webinar 31 in the "I Didn't Know ClearPoint Could Do That!?!" webinar series

As they say, “A Clean ClearPoint is a Happy ClearPoint.” And if they don’t say that now, they will. Clutter in your ClearPoint account can hinder your efficiency and clarity in tracking your strategic plan – that’s why we’re here to help turn your ClearPoint account into a lean, clean reporting machine.

On this episode of the “I Didn’t Know ClearPoint Could Do That!?!” webinar, follow along as we tackle redundant reporting frequencies, outdated custom fields, user permissions, and more. Even if you’re new to ClearPoint, these guidelines will help you keep your account organized as you develop your reporting process.

Happy reporting!

 

Webinar 31 Transcript

Introduction (0:00)

  • Hello everyone and welcome to the “I didn’t know ClearPoint could do that!?!” webinar series
    • We’re glad to have everyone with us today, including the City of Raleigh and Globe Union – thanks for watching!
  • Today, we are talking best practices for organizing your ClearPoint account.
  • Before we get started, here are your smiling hosts, I’m Catherine
  • Avery: And I’m Avery
  • As a few housekeeping announcements:
    • We will be recording this session and will make it available within a week
    • Webinar will last about 25 minutes with time for questions
    • Submit questions to [email protected], we’ll answer as many as we can at the end
  •         Any that we don’t get to, we’ll follow up with email
  • On our last installment, we touched on some exciting new features in ClearPoint 11. You can check out the recording on our blog, support center, and vimeo channel – just search webinar.

 

Agenda (0:49)

  • Now, as you know, a clean ClearPoint is a happy ClearPoint. And why is that? Why is clutter so detrimental to tracking your strategy?
    • Well, we know one of the hardest – and most important – parts of tracking your strategy can be engagement – engaging users to both follow the progress of your plan, and keep their information up to date. So here are two scenarios.
    • In one scenario, users log in once a month or quarter, see several fields that they don’t recognize, reporting periods with different names, and they aren’t sure which summary report gives them the information they need because there are so many versions.
    • In another, users log in once a month or quarter to update their data – they know which summary reports to check on, which fields to update, and everything is standardized and customized to match your organization’s process.
    • Do you see which experience is going to keep users excited?
    • We want to help you run as efficiently and effectively as possible, and it won’t save time if there’s confusion in ClearPoint. It’s time to tighten it all up!
  • For those of you who are in your first year of ClearPoint, you may be thinking that the next 25 minutes is not for you, but think again!
    • Taking these best practices into account now, as you add information, will make it so much easier to maintain your account in the long run.
  • Now, today’s structure is going to be a little different. Here’s what we’d like you to do.
    • Go ahead and get a pen and paper ready
    • Open up a new browser tab or window,
      • And you might want to put it on your second screen if you have one.
      • In that window, go ahead and log into your ClearPoint account. We’ll give you a few seconds here.
    • Avery: While you get set up – what we’re going to do today is walk through each topic in ClearPoint’s Spring Cleaning eBook, and point out potential problems – along with solutions, of course.
      • Avery: We’ll do some demos on our screen, and we also want to give you a chance to follow along with us for other aspects in your own account.
      • Avery: That way, you’ll have a chance to compare to the best practices we describe, and take notes for improvement.
      • Avery: We strongly recommend that you don’t make any changes now, since that will be too time consuming, but do jot down some notes for what you could clean up on each screen.
    • You may have printed out ClearPoint’s Spring Cleaning eBook, and that is going to be our manual today. We’ll go through the chapters in order, so you can follow along with us as we walk through it. Which brings us to our agenda…
    • We’re going to tackle…
      • preserving your information
      • Creating a reporting calendar
      • Cleaning up your periods and reporting frequencies
      • Some aspects of system configuration
      • Managing your users
      • Cleaning up templates and documents
      • Managing notifications and reminders
      • And lastly, community dashboards, for those of you that have them.

 

Alright, that’s quite enough intro, so let’s dive in! Avery will start us off with preserving your information in ClearPoint.

 

Chapter 1 – Preserving your information in ClearPoint (3:53)

  • So, as we get started talking about tidying up your account, the first and most important step is to make sure that none of your old information or data gets lost!
  • Lucky for you, ClearPoint has several different options for preserving your historical information to ensure that you can still check up on past data while keeping your account spick and span and easy to navigate for your users
  • The first option for preserving your old information is called a snapshot, which is essentially a view-only copy of your entire account as it exists at that moment, so that your old information is saved before you start making changes for the new year.
  • So in your account, go ahead and follow me to Admin Options. Admin Options is in the control panel, under System Settings > Admin Options.
  • And we’ll click on Snapshots, which is in the middle of the page, second from the left.
  • So, take note of whether you have snapshots here, and how many. Most organizations are licensed to have three.
  • Maybe you don’t still need that copy of your account from 2014.
  • From here, you can also add a new snapshot by clicking on the plus icon.
  • If your organization makes changes to the same scorecards from one year to the next, then adding a NEW snapshot will be the best option for preserving older versions of data.
    • So we can save this new snapshot and label it with today’s date
  • If your organization is one that duplicates yearly scorecards to track your strategic plan, or you want to make changes to a scorecard but want to keep a working copy of what it looked like previously, then locking scorecards might be the best option for you.
  • Locking scorecards prevent any further edits or updates for that scorecard moving forward.
  • And, I’ll show you where to find this on my screen.
  • I’ll click on Scorecards in the top navigation and go to ‘Manage Scorecards’, and click to edit the scorecard that we’d like to lock, and check off this locked box.
  • Now that you know your old data is safe and secure, let’s make sure your reporting calendar is up to date!

Chapter 2 – Reporting Calendar (6:10)

  • Now, when you’re cleaning up your account, this is a great time to make sure that you’re on top of when and how you review your information.
  • That’s right, we’re talking about your reporting calendar – the calendar around which you enter data and meet with various groups about performance and strategy.
  • During your ClearPoint cleaning process, you’ll want to make sure that this information is up to date for the upcoming year.
  • For example, what are the monthly or quarterly deadlines for users to enter data?
  • When are your meetings going to be held, and what information will be reviewed there?
  • Have you communicated these deadlines and meeting attendance requirements with your team?
  • If you haven’t already got a document like this, feel free to check out our Management Reporting Guide template! This can help you document a robust reporting process, reporting calendar included.

Chapter 3 – Periods and Reporting Frequencies (7:03)

  • So, your reporting calendar is up to date for the upcoming year. Naturally, your next step should be to make sure your reporting periods and reporting frequencies are good to go!
  • In your account, in the control panel, we’ll go under System Settings… to Reporting Periods.
  • So there’s a couple of things to look for here. First, you want to make sure that all names are standardized.
    • Catherine: If you need the names to reflect quarterly or annual data, that should be done in the reporting frequency, not the period itself.
  • Right, having certain periods stand out from the rest is a bad look, and will prevent your reports from looking clean and uniform.
  • So, let’s jump back to my screen for an example. Our August period is really out of whack. Let’s go ahead and fix that now.
    • We want to make sure it matches all our other periods, with the abbreviated month name, a dash, and two-digit year.
  • While we’re here – You also want to make sure that the end date of each period consistently falls on the end date of the month. This will ensure that ClearPoint always displays the right period at the right time.
    • So under Period Date, we’ll choose August 31st.
  • Of course, when a new year rolls around, you’ll need to add new reporting periods to ClearPoint. And make sure to keep three things in mind when doing so. Catherine, any clue what those three things could be?
    • Catherine: Well, knowing ClearPoint… I’m sure it has something to do with saving time…
  • Exactly! First, remember to use our ‘Add multiple’ feature rather than waste time adding each period on it’s own.
  • Second, as we discussed, you’ll want to keep all period names uniform as to not confuse your users.
  • Third, avoid making new periods scorecard specific. Just like mixing up the format of your period names, it will only further confuse your users.
  • Lastly, you’ll want to consider reporting frequencies for these new periods.
    • Have you made sure to assign all of your new reporting periods to their appropriate reporting frequencies?
    • If your new reporting periods should have been added to multiple reporting frequencies, did you do so?
    • This will, again, save you time and ALSO make sure your reporting frequencies are up to date.
  • Alright, so go ahead and pull up your account again – we’re going to look at cleaning up your reporting frequencies.
  • In the top right corner of the Reporting Periods page in your account, you’ll see a toggle. You can access reporting frequencies by clicking on the calendar icon with the checkmark in that toggle.
  • So here’s a few warning signs to look for.
    • You’ve got several duplicates of a scorecard-specific Reporting Frequency.
    • You’ve got multiple versions of the same type of frequency, like two Fiscal Annual frequencies,
    • Or even ones whose names are so outdated or specific you don’t really know why they were used at all.
  • What you want to see here is a single reporting frequency for each scenario you need. This typically results in 6-8 frequencies: Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual, for both your Calendar and Fiscal Year.
    • Catherine: You may see some additional instances for historical data, like 5-year monthly and 2-year monthly.
    • Catherine: In any case, you want to make sure they’re minimal and clearly labeled.
  • So to turn back to my screen, I see a weird reporting frequency here, 2016 biannual quarterly, that I know needs to be removed, but it looks like we cannot delete it since it is currently in use.
  • To help you out in these scenarios, we recommend building a report filtered on reporting frequencies, to see which of your elements are using weird or outdated ones. Then, you can switch them to something more standardized.
  • So, let’s navigate back to the Upward Airlines Corporate scorecard, and take a look at our matrix report. Here, you can see which of your elements are using which reporting frequencies, and reassign them if necessary.
  • Looks like Net Profit is the culprit! Let’s fix that by visiting its detail page and reassigning it to a monthly reporting frequency.
  • Once this is complete, we’ll be able to delete that odd reporting frequency that we no longer need.
  • Finally, after you’ve addressed your reporting periods and reporting frequencies, you’ll want to define your fiscal years.
  • Click back to System Settings > Reporting Periods, and then these can be accessed from the blank calendar icon found in the upper right hand toggle.
  • Managing your fiscal years appropriately at the annual rollover is important to make sure that any of your YTD calculations run smoothly and accurately so that your data isn’t skewed.

Chapter 4 – System Configuration (12:13)

  • Great, and while we’re here under System Settings, let’s take a look at some other areas that should be kept tidy.
  • Now, heavy customization is one of the awesome benefits of ClearPoint
    • But it can also become your achilles’ heel if it builds up unchecked over time.
    • I have this one recurring nightmare where I log into ClearPoint, and there’s 100 different fields on the page, and I don’t know what they mean, and each one has a different pod style…
  • Avery: Well let’s make sure that dream doesn’t become a reality. Also… you dream about ClearPoint?
  • Catherine: Doesn’t everyone?
  • Avery: Uhh… sure.
  • Catherine: Anyway, for this chapter on system configuration, we’re going to take a look at Admin Options, which you can find in the Control Panel… Under System Settings > Admin Options.
  • Default layouts (13:01)
    • And we’ll start by taking a look at our default page layouts.
    • This is in Organization and Security, in the top left corner… on the Default Layouts tab.
    • These defaults define what fields are going to show up on detail pages when you create a new element.
    • Avery: And that’s great for standardizing the information you show.
    • Catherine: Exactly. And these are based off of a particular element.
      • So if you set up a layout you like in a particular place – like our Profitability objective, you can type the name of that element, and set its page layout as the default for all new objectives.
    • If you don’t see anything listed there, you might want to think about whether you’d like to set up a default format for consistency.
      • Otherwise, new elements take on the page layout of the most recently edited element of that type
    • If you do have default layouts in place, your ClearPoint cleaning a good time to review them and reassess if necessary.
  • Default series (14:22)
    • So let’s save out of this window,
    • And I’m going to click on Default Series, which is towards the center-right of admin options.
    • So your default series are the series that are going to appear in your data table when you create a new measure.
    • When you’re cleaning, it’s a good time to take a look at what’s set up here and determine whether this is still sufficient for your newly added measures.
    • Avery: So be aware that this doesn’t impact the measures you already have in your account – default series will only be applied to newly added measures.
    • And while we’re here, we can also set the default number format that we want the series to take
      • so if you’re tracking more percentages than currencies, you can make sure your default settings reflect this.
    • Custom fields (15:16)
      • Now, custom fields are one of our repeat offenders for building up over time. Maybe you used to track one type of field, but you don’t anymore, maybe you have duplicates with the same name, maybe you have no idea what the name of the field even means.
      • That can really wreak havoc.
      • Avery: Understandably, though, you want to make sure that there’s no important information in these fields before you clean them up.
      • Catherine: Now, what I recommend is to create a report where all your custom fields are included and you can see which ones you don’t need anymore.
      • So let’s go ahead and do this for our measures under Manage Measure Reports, and we’ll add a new report. Feel free to just follow along on my screen as I go through this.
      • We’ll call it Custom Field Cleanup. Now on the columns tab, go ahead and add alllll the custom fields.
      • And on the Measures tab, we’re going to want to include all scorecards.
        • Avery: if you have a large number of scorecards, you might want to include them in batches and export to excel to compile one large report. It just loads faster this way.
      • Catherine: Right. So, let’s go ahead and save this, and go to our report.
      • Now I like to export this to excel just to make it really easy to see everything – I’ve got our excel report here
        • And let’s just shrink these rows down. We can see that we aren’t even using the Formula field!
          • That means you could go back to Admin Options and delete it.
        • And if you have duplicates, this report is also a good place to easily transfer information so that it’s all in one field – then delete that duplicate!
        • So we can see we have two Description fields where a couple of descriptions went rogue…
          • Avery: one other thing that helps with cleaning up duplicates is to adjust the names slightly – like “Description 1” and “Description 2” so that you can tell which one to delete.
        • Catherine: Great suggestion. So, once your fields are all clean for each type of element, part of putting together your management reporting guide might be a description of what types of information should be tracked in each remaining field. That way it’s crystal clear when users go in to make their updates.
      • Calculated fields (18:35)
        • Our next stop is calculated fields, and before we dive into these, I’m going to go ahead and pull up an example
        • And our calculated field is here at the end – instead of the horizontal format of the Series Status column, you can see that one series is selected and displayed as a column.
          • The catch is that series do all need to have the same name in order for a value to display in this column.
          • So something like an Actual series works well.
        • Here’s where it’s important to clean up: these will all appear as options for columns that you can add to summary reports, so if they’re cluttering your account it can become confusing.
        • So head on back to Admin Options, and I’m going to click on Calculated Fields.
          • Here we have the complete list, and take note if there’s a lot of clutter here.
          • You’ll just want to examine whether you’re still using all these fields. FY13 Target? I don’t think we’re looking at that anymore so we can delete it.
          • Once you’ve made these changes, let’s click save.
        • Data Loader (20:24)
          • Our last stop here is the Data Loader, in the bottom right – if you use the Data Loader, you may want to take a look at your list of packages here to see that all are still in use.
        • Now, believe it or not, we haven’t even covered everything in Admin Options. We’ve just touched on the areas that tend to get most cluttered.
          • So, if you have any remaining questions about what’s here, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Chapter 5 – User Management (20:50)

 

  • This brings us to the most important piece of the ClearPoint puzzle…your users!
  • So, in your account, go ahead and click on the Users and Groups Page. This is in the Control Panel under System Settings… Users and Groups.
  • The annual rollover is the perfect time to address who has access to what in your account, and make sure the appropriate people are responsible for the appropriate elements.
  • So, how should you go about setting up ownership and making sure everyone has the right permissions?
  • There are two reports that are here to help. Let’s go ahead and generate both of these, so you can refer to them after the webinar!
  • We’ll start with a ‘User Access Report’. This can be found in the top right corner, in the menu next to the add icon.
  • Just click to generate the excel file.
  • And next, we’ll do the same for the User Activity Report. In the top right corner, in the add menu, click User Activity Report.
  • And we’ve got a copy of each ready here already, so I’m going to pull up the User Access Report on my screen.
  • As you can see, this report is a great way to see which of your users has what level of access to each scorecard in your account.
  • After all, we know that roles in organizations are constantly changing, and this will help you to better stay on top of making sure each of your users is responsible for the appropriate elements in your account.
  • Now, you’ll want to go ahead and get rid of any users who no longer serve a purpose in ClearPoint, so we’ll use our ‘User Activity Report’ to see who is active and who is not in your account.
  • So on my screen, you can see this shows activity count by user, as well as activity by scorecard on our second tab.
  • It looks like several users haven’t been active all! Well, if some of these browsers no longer work at the organization, we should remove them and get rid of the clutter!
    • Catherine: or, if you still want their names to remain in the account to indicate past ownership or collaboration, you can change their permissions to no access instead.
    • Catherine: That way, their name will be in the system, but they can’t log in.
  • Do you notice any other users who haven’t been as active as they should be? We suggest scheduling additional mini-trainings to get them up to speed, or find other ways to get them engaged in the tool to ensure no area of your strategic plan is falling through the cracks.
  • Lastly, if you have new stakeholders who need access to your data, add them on in and train them!
  • Let your new users know to take advantage of our ‘Getting Started Guide’, and when adding everyone in, don’t forget to assign ownership to the appropriate elements.

Chapter 6 – Report Templates and Documents (23:30)

 

  • Those are some great points! User engagement is key to a successful strategic plan.
  • And we all know that reports are an important part of increasing that understanding of your plan and progress.
  • So next, we’ll tackle summary reports.
  • Summary Reports (23:42)
    • Alright, so, in your account, go ahead and click into a heavily used scorecard. We’ll use Upward Air Corporate.
    • And in that scorecard, go ahead and click on the top navigation menu that corresponds with an element you use a lot. For most organizations, this will be measures, or maybe initiatives.
    • Now, those items in bold at the top are your summary reports.
      • Summary reports can serve as a place for users to update data, or to review particular sets of information during meetings.
      • Avery: You mayyy though, also have accumulated some test reports from trying different versions, or from creating views to make one-time bulk changes.
      • There’s a couple things we can do about those unnecessary reports if we click on the top option, Manage Reports.
        • One option is to delete the reports if you’re certain it’s no longer necessary – and thanks to the Recycle Bin, you can always undelete them
        • If you’re not ready to fully delete the report, you can click to edit, and under Access Type, we can choose:
          • Hidden, which shows the report in the Manage list but not in dropdowns,
          • OR private, which means you will be the only one to see that report in the list.
        • Now that we’ve taken care of duplicates, there’s one other instance to touch on. Feel free to just take a look at my screen.
        • So, I’m going to click on our Matrix. For those of you familiar with this type of report, you’ll know that data can be displayed over multiple periods,
          • AND that you can select those periods you want to see.
          • So I’ll click to edit that report, and go into report options.
          • In the instance that you’re tracking specific periods, rather than just the last N, you’ll want to make sure these are up to date – maybe swapping out our 2016 quarters for our 2017 quarters, for example.
        • Briefing Books (26:49)
          • And with that, let’s switch gears to look at Briefing Books.
          • So, in your account, under documents in the control panel, we’ll click on that first option, briefing books.
          • Now, if you’ve been using ClearPoint for a long time, you may see several pages worth of templates. 2012-2013 Board report? Who needs that?
          • You’ll want to check in with your users here about which templates they are still generating on a regular basis
          • Avery: Keep in mind that other old templates, duplicates, or tests, can be deleted! You’ll wind up with a clearly labeled list of the reports that you still need throughout the year.
          • Are you using a confidentiality statement, header/footer or title that references a particular year? Time to change this!
        • HTML Exports (27:42)
          • Now if we click to the second option under documents in the Control Panel, this will take us to our HTML Exports. Depending on the size of your account, you may or may not see this, so we’ll go through it quickly.
          • Similar to briefing books, you’ll want to just make sure that all templates here are still in use – any tests or duplicates can be deleted.

Chapter 7 – Notifications and Reminders (28:03)

  • This brings us to one of ClearPoint’s best kept “secrets”
  • Well, they’re not technically a secret per-se, but we do find that users often overlook this great feature: notifications and reminders!
    • Catherine: Notifications and reminders? They sound the same! Is there even a difference?
    • Avery: Good question Catherine! It’s easy to get mixed up… There actually is a difference though! Notifications are intended to let a user know when a change has already occurred in ClearPoint, for example, a report is done generating, whereas email reminders let users know that a change still needs to occur. For example, I could send a reminder to let element owners know they need to update their respective data before our review in two weeks.
  • Both of these can be accessed under the Notifications on your side navigation, and making sure to set these up during the annual rollover will help to increase accountability across your organization, and ultimately ensure that the elements your users are responsible for are updated by the appropriate date.
  • Start by adding in your new notifications and reminder templates, and follow it up by deleting any outdated or unnecessary reminders or notifications that you won’t be using in the upcoming fiscal year.

 

Chapter 8 – Community Dashboard (29:14)

  • For our final chapter, we’ll touch briefly on the Community Dashboard, for those of you that take advantage of our custom-built wordpress websites.
  • If you do any sort of annual rollover/strategic plan change, you’ll want to make sure that any new elements you’ve created or deleted are updated on your dashboard
  • This does require manual changes – updates to existing elements can be automatically updated, but additions and deletions should either be coordinated with your webmaster or the ClearPoint team.
  • If you do have someone on your team who will be making those adjustments, be sure to reach out for your widget guide, so that you’ll know what widgets should be inserted into which page templates!

 

Questions (30:03)

With that, it looks like we’re reaching the end of our time today, and we definitely want to leave time for your questions.

  • When is the best time to clean your ClearPoint account?
    • Any time is a good time for ClearPoint cleaning!
    • Maybe end of Calendar or Fiscal Year would be best
    • Otherwise, maybe you find it less daunting to apply different sections to different months, and make sure you’re doing a slow and steady purge each month.
    • Cleanliness begets cleanliness, so the tidier you keep your account, the less you’ll have to do at once
  • Catherine: If you loved or hated following along in your account for this webinar, we’d be curious to hear from you! We want our webinars to be as useful as possible so feel free to send feedback to [email protected]
  • And, down the line, if you have a success story to share about your ClearPoint cleaning, we’d love to hear that as well!

 

A huge thank you for joining us on this episode of the “I Didn’t Know ClearPoint Could Do That” Webinar series, we’ll see you next time, and happy reporting!

 

Ready to start ClearPoint cleaning? Use this ebook to make the process simpler than ever. Download it for free today.

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