Tracking Business Plans in ClearPoint

Webinar 50 in the "I Didn't Know ClearPoint Could Do That!?!" Webinar Series

Your business plans set each department up to contribute effectively to your organization’s overall strategy. So do you have a plan to track and report on all the awesomeness your departments are bringing to the table? Join us on this episode of the “I Didn’t Know ClearPoint Could Do That!?!” webinar series to see how ClearPoint can help you manage business plans! We’ll talk custom layouts, project tracking, accountability, and more.

Webinar 50 Transcript


  • Introduction (0:00)
  • Agenda (1:17)
  • Defining a Business Plan (2:12)
  • Creating a Business Plan (3:50)
  • Project Tracking (13:57)
  • Accountability (17:27)
  • Questions (21:16)

Introduction (0:00)

  • Rachel: Hello everyone and welcome to the “I didn’t know ClearPoint could do that!?!” webinar series
  • Today, we’ll be talking about best practices surrounding tracking business plans in ClearPoint! But before we get started, here are your smiling hosts, I’m Rachel
    • Pierre: and I’m Pierre! Since this our first webinar of the decade- welcome to the new roaring 20’s!
  • Rachel: As a few housekeeping announcements:
    • We will be recording this session and will make it available within a week
    • The webinar will last about 25 minutes with time for questions at the end
    • So you can submit your questions to [email protected]. Any that we don’t get to, we’ll follow up with over email!
  • Now, on our last installment, we walked through some of the incredible new features of ClearPoint 14.0, so if you want to review making bulk changes across your account, tagging ‘like’ elements, or leveraging the new summary report features, be sure to check out that recording and transcript on our website or Vimeo channel!
  • Also, in case you haven’t heard, Admins are now invited to a customized tour of ClearPoint 14.0! Your ClearPoint account manager will provide more details, but be sure to take us up on this offer so that you’ll be totally ready to roll at the beginning of February when the release is official!

Agenda (1:17)

  • Today, we’ll be focusing on tracking business plans in ClearPoint!
  • We’ll start by explaining what a business plan actually is.
  • Then walk through setting one up in your account!
  • We’ll also touch on linking important projects and budget measures to your plan,
  • And ensuring accountability through notifications and reminders!

So again, if you have any questions, please reach out to [email protected]!

  • Rachel: Before we dive into ClearPoint, I’m actually a little unclear on what exactly a business plan even is? Pierre, old chap, I know you really ‘know your onions’ when it comes to business plans – do you mind explaining them to us?
  • Pierre: Know my onions?? Rachel, what are you talking about?
  • Rachel: With the new year, didn’t you say we’re bringing back the roaring 20’s? That’s 1920’s slang for being really knowledgeable on a particular subject! Don’t be a wet blanket… or in other words a ‘bluenose’!
  • Pierre: Ah, I see. Okay Sport…back to the business plans….

Defining a Business Plan (2:12)

  • Pierre: In one sentence: A business plan outlines your goals, explains how you’re going to achieve these goals, and when are you planning to do so. Business plan can vary a lot based on the organization and intended audience. However, there are key characteristics that are often found throughout quality business plans. We’re going to focus on these similarities to make this webinar as applicable as possible while not getting lost in the weeds of an ultra-specific business plan
  • Rachel: Sounds like a business plan to me! So what else do we need to know?
  • Pierre: Yes, the first thing to clarify is that a business plan is more broad than the name implies. You don’t have to be a business per se to effectively use one. Non-profits, local governments, and even individual departments could have their own business plan.
  • Rachel: So, even a speakeasy could have a business plan?
  • Pierre: Yes, though they may want to be careful how they share it! Which brings us to one of the most important parts about business plans – audiences. The intended audience is a critical part of the plan. It heavily influences the format and content of the plan. For example, business plans for for-profit companies that target external audiences focus much more on financial and market analysis. These plans may even be a pitch on why you should invest in their company. On the other hand, business plans for nonprofits or local government that target internal audiences focus much more on projects and timelines and more closely resemble a traditional strategic plan.
  • Rachel: So it’s clear defining your goals and considering your audience is important. But how do you actually get your plan to the people?
  • Pierre: Put it in the press! This isn’t Yellow Journalism. But on a more serious jazz note, ClearPoint gives you lots of tools to bring the plan to the masses. You can include it in your dashboard, embed it on your website, or make it the home page for your ClearPoint account.
    • When it comes down to it, a business plan is a roadmap, and everyone being on the same page will lead you in the right direction.

Creating a Business Plan (3:50)

  • Rachel: Thanks so much Pierre, old chap! Now that we know what a Business Plan is, let’s bring this to life in ClearPoint!
  • Today we’ll be helping Upward Airlines set up their business plans so that there is transparency across the organization and they have a clear roadmap to success.
  • There are a lot of ways you could set up a business plan in ClearPoint. We recommend using either a scorecard summary report or an element detail page.
    • For this example we are going to repurpose the element called ‘Risks’ since Upward Air does not use that strategic element, and we will set up the plan on a risk detail page.
    • The main benefit of using a detail page for business plans is that it can have a reporting frequency assigned to it. This allows users to leverage ‘update fields’ and track changes on the plan over time.
    • However, if you are interested in learning more about creating custom scorecard summary reports or landing pages, make sure to tune into next month’s webinar!
  • But back to the matter at hand – To start, we’ll need to unhide Risks in the top menu and rename it to better fit our needs.
    • We’ll go to System Settings > Admin Options, and click on the Menu and Element Names tile.
    • We can see from the yellow label that Risks are currently Hidden from the top menu. We can click the edit pencil to give this element a new name. Since we are going to be tracking a number of business plans, we can rename this element ‘Business Plans’.
    • From here, we can also adjust the order in which the elements appear in the top menu. Let’s change the order so that Business Plans are right after the Map top menu. Then we’ll Save Order.
    • If we look at the top menu we can see that Business Plans is now included.
  • The Business Plan detail page is meant to be informative so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the organization’s goals and the game plan for getting there!
  • To make sure we include all the most important information for the Business Plan, we’ll need to leverage custom fields. Custom fields provide additional options for storing and tracking specific information, in this case related to our Upward Air business plan.
    • To set one up, click on Custom Fields and go to the Business Plans tab.
    • You can see here that we already have a number of custom fields created, including a few HTML with Data fields for inputting text or images, two Data Grid field for referencing summary reports on the detail page, and a Chart Reference field so that we can display data from relevant measures or initiatives, such as Budget or Percent Complete!
  • Pierre: These custom fields will be awesome for managing our Business Plan! What about aProgress Update’ field though? It would be great if we could track notes on how things are going throughout the year.
  • Rachel: Thanks for reminding me!
  • We can add a new custom field by clicking on the Plus icon. I’ll name it ‘Progress Update’ and then for field type we can select HTML with Data.
    • We’ll want to make sure we check the box for ‘Update Mode’ so that the field can be used to track progress overtime and updates can be made based on the reporting frequency set for the business plan!
    • As reminder – leaving the scorecards menu blank actually allows the custom field to be available for all scorecards.
    • Then I’ll click Save and Save Order.
  • Pierre: Perfect! Now is it time to put the business plan together?
  • Rachel: Yes! Thanks for keeping us on track Pierre, old chap!
  • To add the Business Plan detail page we’ll click on the Business Plans top menu dropdown and select Manage Business Plans.
    • You can see that the Divisions actually already have their plans set up here, so the last Business Plan we need to set up for Upward Air is their overall company business plan. The other plans will all tie into this one.
  • From here we can click the plus icon, and we’ll call this ‘Corporate Business Plan’.
    • If we know there will be one person in charge of managing the plan, we can assign an owner.
    • We can also set a reporting frequency based on how often we will report on our progress.
    • Since we know all good business plans have some sort of a timeline, we can also assign a start and end date for this plan. In case you forgot, the 20’s have just begun, so this is really perfect timing to start tracking your business plan in ClearPoint! We can set the timeline for 1/1/20 to 12/31/29. This is going to be an epic decade!
    • Now we can Save and take a look at our detail page.
  • Pierre: To be honest, this looks really plain and boring. We need to generate some excitement around the plan, and gain buy-in from the rest of the organization. I think this page needs to be Gatsby-ed!
  • Rachel: I couldn’t agree more! Let’s start by cleaning up the detail page. We can edit the layout by clicking the dropdown arrow next to the edit pencil. Let’s make sure we’ve included all of our awesome custom fields.
    • Executive Overview – Introduces and provides an overview of the plan, including where we are starting from.
    • Vision Statement – This outlines at a high-level where we want to go and what we want to achieve
    • Our Services – Here you can define exactly the goods and services that your organization provides. This informs both the vision for the future and the goals and projects that will allow you to be successful
    • Goals – Speaking of Goals, we added this Data Grid so that we can pull in an objective report here. This will give us a quick overview on how we are performing.
    • Projects and Key Milestones – We’ll include another data grid underneath to bring in a summary report with the linked projects and key milestones. This will provide us with the ability to drill down to the details of our projects.
    • Chart Reference – We can use this field to provide a data visual for our overall business plan budget.
    • Progress Update –  Finally, it looks like we’ll need to add our newly created update field to provide a space for updates and analysis of how we are doing on the business plan overall.
    • Okay, now that the structure is all set up, Pierre old chap, are you ready to take this up a notch?
  • Pierre: Let’s do it!
  • Rachel: Okay good! The final step will be to assign custom pod styles to really make the page look super impressive, a really sockdollager!
  • We have this ‘Gatsby Gold’ pod style that we can use as a default for all of the edit fields. For now I’ll just set this for our Executive Overview field to give you an idea of what it will look like.
  • Then we have one update field that we can assign the ‘Green Light’ pod style
    • This will make it super clear and easy to see where changes need to be made, even from across the pond in West Egg!
    • Once we click save we can see that our business plan is starting to come together!
  • Pierre: Those pod styles look super classy – maybe even up to East Egg standards!
  • Rachel: Oh for sure! And then in terms of filling in the content – the HTML with Data fields can be directly typed in, but let’s go ahead and set up the data grids and chart reference.
    • For the Goals data grid, we can reference our existing ‘Objective’s List’, which simply includes the objective and its status, plus some Analysis.
    • For the Projects and Key Milestones data grid, we can reference the Project Management report. This will outline our projects, key milestones, owner, and target end date.
    • Then, for the Chart Reference field, we’ll set it up to pull in the chart from our ‘Overall Spend’ measure.
    • Now we can click the check mark to save these changes!
  • So I know that the Eastern Division is a couple steps ahead of us and their Business Plan is fully built out. Let’s take a look to see what our final product will look like.
  • Wow, this is pretty snazzy! This will be really helpful for getting a quick overview of the business plan at a glance. But then as we discussed, we can also always drill down into our linked strategic elements for greater detail, like into our Projects for example!

Project Tracking (13:57)

  • Pierre: Speaking of projects, why should you track them for your business plan? You already have objectives. And you may already have measures and other indicators of success. The answer is simple. A plan without projects is just wishful thinking, and ultimately a recipe for failure. If your plan doesn’t have projects, you’re either not efficiently moving towards your objectives or your objectives aren’t ambitious enough
  • Rachel: So a plan without projects is like the Charleston without Jazz?
  • Pierre: Yes, and just because you have a project doesn’t mean your work is done. You want to make sure you’re tracking the most important things. For example:
    • Why is this important: A statement right at the top saying why you should care is key for grounding everyone reviewing this project. It provides perspective.
    • Owner and Collaborators: Who’s leading the way on this project and who can we turn to for accountability and timeline adherence
    • Data Table: This is for the more complicated projects that need quantitative tracking and more visuals.
  • Pierre: So here in our data table we have our percent complete that’s also feeding into this slick Gauge chart.
    • Because projects should progress over time, we can see the targets shift as we move through time
  • Rachel: Wow that’s awesome! I always forget that project-based elements can have data tables too! That is so helpful since our projects typically have a lot of quantitative data associated with them.
  • Pierre: And what’s even more cool about this data table is that it’s supplying the data for all our different charts.
    • For example, we have these labor, materials, and miscellaneous costs series so we can see exactly what we’re spending our money on.
    • But that’s not all, these same series then feed into the total project expenses series. This is how we can see what we spent as a whole in a quarter on this one project.
    • This value is then subtracted from the running total of our budget. So we can see as the year goes on how much we spent and how much is left over. This is captured neatly in our charts.
      • We have one for tracking project spend against remaining budget
      • We have another visualizing the cost breakdown per quarter
      • And we have one more for tracking evaluated progress over time
    • And this is all for just one project!
  • Rachel: That’s incredible. It’s so much more than just the standard start and end dates and percent completes!
  • Pierre: Absolutely, and we can take it one 8-count further. This is data-driven review of just one project. But what if we took a step back and looked at all our projects altogether. .
    • In the top left, we can see what we spent on all projects altogether for each quarter.
    • To the right, we can see which projects were the most money spent on. As we scroll down, we see some analysis to provide insight on the performance
    • We also have charts that capture the individual breakdowns for each project.
    • This is the kind of information that’s perfect for our business plan because it shows what you’re doing, how you’re doing, and what resources are you devoting to make this a success.

Accountability (17:27)

  • Rachel: This is the bees knees! Going back to something you said earlier, I especially love the part about project accountability since it’s so important that projects aren’t just started but are actually completed. And we actually have some great ways to make sure your project goes from start to finish. ClearPoint reminder emails and notifications are not just useful for reporting on your strategic plan – they can also help you stay on top of your individual business plan as well!
  • To start, let’s take a look at setting notifications on the Business Plan as a whole. Notifications are reactive and based on actions taken in ClearPoint. As a key stakeholder in the plan, you may want to be kept in the know when changes are made!
    • If we go to Notifications, we can see that there is already one set up to let us know when there have been edits or updates made to the business plan.
    • If we edit, we can see that ‘Business Plan’ is the Element Type and a notification will be triggered if Any Change is made to the End Date, Executive Overview, or Progress Update.
    • On the Elements and Recipients tab, this is set up so that Gatsby, Pierre, and ClearPoint Support  are all notified for the Corporate Business Plan.
    • To test this out, let’s navigate back to our Business Plan add a Progress Update!
    • Right away, I received an in-app notification and based on my notification settings, an email was sent too!
  • On the flip side, Reminders are proactive and encourage users to make updates in ClearPoint. The owner of the Business Plan is likely responsible for updating the Progress Update field, so we already have one set up so they will be reminded to add in new insight and report the progress made on the plan each month.
    • Reminders are sent in the form of an email – we can customize the message, and then use the tabs to narrow down which elements need to be updated and by who. For this reminder, the Recipient is going to be the Business Plan owner, Element is Business Plan, and then it is Scheduled to be sent on a Monthly basis.
  • So sadly, we are nearing the end of our time here today, but while we are on the topic of reminder emails…
  • You probably have an email in your inbox from Laura on our Customer team with some updates on our Annual ClearPoint Summit! If you haven’t already heard, this coming June, we’ll be hosting the summit in our own backyard, Washington, DC! Early bird pricing ends soon, so make sure you get your tickets now! We already have a great lineup of speakers including Jefferson Health, the City of Vaughan, and the Process Improvement Ninjas from the City of Arvada! You definitely don’t want to miss it.

Questions (21:16)

So with that, we’d love to use our remaining time today to open up the floor for your questions!

  • What if I have projects that span multiple departments? How do I track that?
    • That’s no problem at all. All data table values can be pulled from wherever to wherever in ClearPoint. This is the same case for charts. So it’s easy to make the cross-departmental calculations you need and then display them where you need them in attractive charts or dashboards, which can be exported out of ClearPoint if needed. Your account manager, maybe even one of us!, would be happy to help you with that.
  • What if I’m already using Risks for something else?
    • Good question! You have a couple options. You could use another open element like Action Items in the same way we did with Risks, or like we mentioned before you could use a scorecard summary report, which serves as a dashboard or home page for a scorecard. We’ll be going more in-depth on this topic on our next webinar so make sure to attend!
  • Rachel: Alright, looks like that’s all we have time for today! Thanks for taking the time to learn about Tracking Business Plans in ClearPoint with us! We hope you can now confidently say ‘I DID know ClearPoint could do that!’. See you next time, and Happy Reporting!