There’s considerable debate over whether the Balanced Scorecard is an enterprisewide tool in which IT plays a part, or whether an IT organization can independently adopt the Scorecard.
John Nordin, vice president and CIO of A.M. Castle, a metals distributor in Franklin Park, Ill., says it’s a mistake to try to adopt the Scorecard as an IT-only program. “Don’t build it in a vacuum,” he says. If an IT Scorecard is not built against a higher-level Scorecard, he says, there will be no linkage between your metrics and the overall company strategy, and no guarantee that IT is creating value.
However, Susan Dallas, research director with Gartner in Stamford, Conn., says IT can “absolutely” do a Scorecard by itself. “In fact, it’s probably more important that IT has one than any other department because IT changes so much and the requirements of being an agile organization are so much more important in IT,” she says. “So it’s even more important that IT have this kind of forward-looking approach.”
Bill Schiemann, CEO of Somerville, N.J., consultancy Metrus Group, agrees but says it’s ideal for IT to build a Scorecard that follows the enterprisewide Scorecard. That way the technology strategy is firmly embedded within the overall business strategy.
If you build an IT Scorecard, seek feedback from other departments to ensure the metrics are on target. “This will also create a gesture that you really want to improve service,” says Mel Brinkman, a senior process analyst at FirstEnergy’s Morristown, N.J., division, who spearheaded the IT group’s Scorecard.