Export (0) Print
Expand All

Microsoft IT Builds a Field Dashboard to Improve Business and Marketing Operations

Business Case Study

Published: May 2013

Learn how Microsoft IT collaborated with the company's Corporate Business to design and implement a new global scorecard solution that enables Field Leadership to manage the health of their business, to make decisions to improve their subsidiary scorecard results, and to help them prepare for the corporate and area business review processes.

Download

Download Business Case Study, 769 KB, Microsoft Word file

Customer Profile

Situation

Solution

Benefits

As the worldwide leader in software for business and personal computing, the vision of Microsoft Corporation is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential. Employing more than 94,000 people, Microsoft had revenues exceeding $72 billion for the year ending Dec 2012.

Without a global standardized tool or process, regional leaders at Microsoft were challenged to manage subsidiary operations performance data. Different regions built their own local solutions, resulting in the company having to use inconsistent regional data to make corporate-impacting decisions.

Microsoft IT collaborated with Marketing and Operations to develop a new scorecard solution platform. A new Windows 8 application called Field Dashboard streamlines data entry and provides access to high-quality visualized KPIs and key leading indicators.

The application uses dashboards to display this information in near real time, enabling Field Leadership to manage the health of their business and to make timely decisions to improve their subsidiary scorecard results.

  • Provides a "single source of truth" for business performance management
  • Standardizes reporting processes worldwide
  • Adds more business intelligence with dynamic, near-real time displays
  • Enhances business agility
  • Improves user experience

Situation

In today's digital world, a company is only as good as its data. Leadership teams in global enterprises must base their strategic sales, marketing, and other business decisions on data from all regions and subsidiaries. But how are all these different pieces of information collected and analyzed? While field personnel in many large businesses have tools and mechanisms to input their data, management frequently struggles to process the overwhelming amount of information because the data doesn't come in a single standard.

As one of the world's largest enterprise organizations with 94,000 employees and offices in 112 countries, Microsoft faced a similar challenge. Regional leaders are responsible for attaining their area's subsidiary and business scorecards, which directly support the company's subsidiary and business scorecards. Although the business offered a standard tool and process to manage the subsidiary operations' performance data, it was not comprehensive enough to cater to all the scenarios that apply to performance data. As a result, many regions built their own local solutions.

In order to reduce the variations incurred from working with a number of different systems, the corporate business worked with the regional businesses to standardize the process. A key requirement of the solution was a new dashboard application to provide the Field with near real-time access to dynamic business performance information that would enhance timely decision making and support a tighter rhythm of business with headquarters' operations.

Solution

Microsoft IT collaborated closely with the company's corporate Marketing and Operations organization to design and implement a scorecard solution that would enable Field Leadership to manage the health of their business, to make decisions to improve their subsidiary scorecard results, and to help them prepare for the corporate business review processes. The solution would include a dashboard application that would bring together scorecard data, business-specific views, and key leading business performance information into a set of intuitive screens that would enhance the decision-making process.

The Agile Development Approach

Microsoft IT and Marketing and Operations approached the development of the new scorecard solution using the Agile methodology, which is an industry-standard set of values, principles, and practices that emphasize an iterative approach to development in order to realize business value quickly. When compared to the Waterfall approach where features drive the plan and cost and schedule estimates, Agile focuses on an iterative approach that maximizes value through collaboration and feedback. With Agile, the value drives the feature set and encourages rapid and flexible response to change.

Figure 1 compares the Agile and Waterfall approaches.

Figure 1. Comparing the Agile and Waterfall development approaches
Figure 1. Comparing the Agile and Waterfall development approaches.

Note: For more information on working with the Agile methodology, see www.pmi.org.

Why Agile?

The company's Corporate Business needed to have all the regions embrace the new solution and standardize their scorecard operations. Working under the Agile approach, Microsoft IT and Corporate Business partnered with the Field, capturing input on key features and functionality. This approach enabled Microsoft IT to deliver an early version of the tool quickly, then fine-tune the feature set to meet the Field's needs and to improve the user experience as the entire team iterated through development cycles.

The Field Dashboard Application

The cornerstone of the scorecard solution is a new application called Field Dashboard. This new modern Windows 8 application runs on laptops and tablets, providing insightful leading intelligence and a simple, intuitive interface that automates and standardizes the data input process for Field teams worldwide.

Note: Details in Figure 2 and the following screen shots have been modified in order to present a generic view of the tool. Information presented in these screens should not be construed as actual data.

Figure 2. Field Dashboard
Figure 2. Field Dashboard.

Field Dashboard is designed to help two Field roles – Business Planning & Operations Leads (BPO Leads) and Metric/KPI Owners – with four scorecard-related activities:

  • Measure: Display point in time performance against targets.
  • Monitor: Give visibility to metrics for performance trending and insight.
  • Analyze: Explore information from multiple perspectives and various levels of detail.
  • Manage: Offer one location to log forecasts before quarterly area business reviews.

We illustrate how the two different roles perform these activities in the following usage scenarios.

Scenario: Review Metric Performance and Trends for BPO Leads

In this first scenario, a BPO Lead would like to review some subsidiary scorecard metric trends to identify low performers, filtering subsidiary scorecard metrics by status (green, yellow, or red indicators), in preparation for monthly or quarterly business updates.

For any yellow or red (low-performing) subsidiary scorecard metrics, the BPO Lead will work with the Metric Owner to understand the "story behind the numbers," identifying the reason for the unchanging or decreasing trend, and then determine what actions must be taken to remediate the situation and return the metric back to a green status.

Common activities where a BPO Lead would use the Field Dashboard in this scenario include:

  • Filter and review subsidiary scorecard metrics according to performance status.
  • Identify newly trending (to Red/Yellow) subsidiary scorecard metrics versus continuing low-performing subsidiary scorecard metrics.
  • For new low-performing subsidiary scorecard metrics, contact Metric Owners to understand why those metrics are underperforming, and collect Correction of Errors (COE) correction plans.
  • For continuing low-performing subsidiary scorecard metrics, get status from the subsidiary scorecard Metric Owner on existing COEs and results on execution.
  • Benchmark subsidiary scorecard metrics against other regions and subsidiary regions to determine commonalities and patterns.

Scenario: Review Metric Performance and Trends for Metric Owners

As described in the previous scenario, a Metric Owner will provide the BPO Lead with the context concerning why a particular subsidiary scorecard metric is lower than expected. Additionally, Metric Owners work with the BPO Lead to draft or update the Correction of Error (COE) plan for a metric.

Common activities where a Metric Owner would use Field Dashboard in this scenario include:

  • Identify low-performing subsidiary scorecard metrics.
  • Create or update COE plan and provide commentary.
  • For continuing low-performing subsidiary scorecard metrics, provide status on existing COEs and results on execution.

    Figure 3. Review Subsidiary Scorecard Metrics Status and Rank
    Figure 3. Review Subsidiary Scorecard Metrics Status and Rank

Scenario: Review and Enter Metric Status Forecast for BPO Leads

In this next scenario, a BPO Lead needs to capture and track monthly and quarterly status forecasts, which are provided by the Metric Owners for all scorecard metrics for the area. This action could be in preparation for a monthly or quarterly business update, or for ongoing management reviews. The BPO Lead would also like to check when the latest metric status forecast update was posted by Metric Owners, and review any additional comments explaining why a particular forecast does not match current expectations.

Common activities where a BPO Lead would use Field Dashboard in this scenario include:

  • Review Q FCST (Quarterly Forecast) and YE FCST (Year-end Forecast) columns under Subsidiary Scorecard Tracker List View for the selected area. This consolidated view highlights forecasts that may be incomplete.
  • Review metric status forecasts and comments for specific metric(s) in greater detail.

Scenario: Review and Enter Metric Status Forecast for Metric Owners

A Metric Owner uses the Field Dashboard to capture metric status forecasts for his owned metrics for future month end/quarter end, include any additional commentaries to keep the BPO Lead and executive team updated on status, and set expectations for their metrics for the remainder of the fiscal year.

This type of at-a-glance communication is valuable in bringing the required management attention and support to metrics that are not tracking well against targets, as well as for highlighting those that are exceeding expectations.

Common activities where a Metric Owner would use the Field Dashboard in this scenario include:

  • Filter for owned metrics and review existing metric status forecasts (if any).
  • Enter or update metric status forecasts and update the associated commentary on the Metric Status Forecast page. Ensure updated COE plan is aligned to the new forecast status (Resources page).

    Figure 4. Review Subsidiary Scorecard Quarterly and Year End Forecast
    Figure 4. Review Subsidiary Scorecard Quarterly and Year End Forecast

    Figure 5. Review Metric Forecast Status and Commentary for Specific Metric
    Figure 5. Review Metric Forecast Status and Commentary for Specific Metric

    Figure 6. Enter Metric Status Forecast
    Figure 6. Enter Metric Status Forecast

Scenario: Collect and Review COE Plans for BPO Leads

A BPO Lead notes some low-performing metrics that are flagged in the Field Dashboard as yellow or red status, so she works with the Metric Owners to provide a COE Plan to drive the subsidiary scorecard Metric back to green status. The BPO Lead collects and reviews COEs for each new low-performing subsidiary scorecard metric, and reviews progress of COE plans for continuing low-performing ones.

Common activities where a BPO Lead would use the Field Dashboard in this scenario include:

  • Review COE additions for subsidiary scorecard metrics.
  • For new low-performing subsidiary scorecard metrics, collect COEs from the subsidiary scorecard Metric Owners.
  • For continuing low-performing subsidiary scorecard metrics, check progress of the existing COE and leverage subsidiary scorecard metrics details that are available in Field Dashboard to validate the plan's details. For example, if there are not enough revenue opportunities in a related subsidiary scorecard metrics pipeline, there may not be enough campaigns and activity execution to drive the subsidiary scorecard metrics to green. Also, checking the subsidiary scorecard metric's benchmark and rank against similar areas or subsidiaries provides further insight on the nature of the issues with the subsidiary scorecard metrics.
  • Contact Metric Owner for additional commentary and context concerning low-performing metrics.

Scenario: Collect and Review COEs for Metric Owners

A Metric Owner reviews his Field Dashboard and identifies some low-performing subsidiary scorecard metrics that are flagged as yellow or red status, and begins drafting a COE Plan. The Metric Owner is accountable for ensuring COE execution is as planned and that the efforts required to return the metric to green status (such as increased investment and activities) are always captured and updated in Field Dashboard. By doing so, COE updates and execution changes are automatically shared and visible to the BPO Lead. Within Field Dashboard, the Metric Owner depends on his BPO Lead to update the COE, and will provide any additional commentary on progress as needed.

Common activities where a Metric Owner would use the Field Dashboard in this scenario include:

  • Draft or update a COE plan for low-performing subsidiary scorecard metrics.
  • Provide execution commentary and results summary as needed.

Scenario: Prepare Scorecard for Business Review for BPO Leads

A BPO Lead uses her Field Dashboard to prepare a scorecard for review with General Managers, Marketing & Operations (M&O) Leads, and Metric Owners. A scorecard may be pulled prior to period-close to obtain preliminary results, or following period-close if she wants to display final results.

Common activities where a BPO Lead would use the Field Dashboard in this scenario include:

  • Review subsidiary scorecard Tracker to check which subsidiary scorecard metrics are refreshed and available.
  • Review subsidiary scorecard Tracker to validate if forecast values are provided for current month's subsidiary scorecard metrics by Metric Owners.
  • For low-performing subsidiary scorecard metrics, contact Metric Owner to confirm that a COE Plan has been created.
  • For final scorecards, refresh and ensure the subsidiary scorecard metrics values have been updated for the new month.
  • Export Field Dashboard values to share with area or subsidiary leadership teams.

Scenario: Prepare Scorecard for Business Review for Metric Owners

A Metric Owner's BPO Lead has identified a new or continuing low-performance subsidiary scorecard metric while preparing a scorecard, so the Metric Owner creates a COE Plan before period-close to ensure his data is available for the final scorecard pull.

Common activities where a Metric Owner would use the Field Dashboard in this scenario include:

  • For low-performing subsidiary scorecard metrics, draft a COE Plan.
  • Communicate and share COE creation to the BPO Lead.

Best Practices

When working with Corporate Business to implement a new Field scorecard solution, Microsoft IT developed and implemented these best practices:

  • Form a dedicated inter-organizational project team that includes end-user stakeholders.
  • Gain consensus between all stakeholders – including representative end users – on project goals that work for all relevant teams. Engaging end users and stakeholders at the earliest stages and keeping them involved in the development process helps ensure a positive user experience and widespread adoption of the new tool set. For Microsoft IT, this included members from IT, Field Operations, Marketing, Sales, and more.
  • Follow an iterative development cycle for speed of development and incorporating continuous stakeholder feedback at each stage.
  • Consider following the Agile methodology for speed of development and engaging stakeholders – especially when the end users already have an embedded stopgap solution. If there‘s little collaboration, the new solution could be at risk of not being adopted, and the stopgap measure will remain in place in spite of your development efforts.
  • Align consistent business processes across subsidiaries.
  • Provide a single tool for the Field to measure performance, log forecasts, track status, and perform other key operations. Having all regions performing the same processes with the same tool and logging forecast information into a single location improves data quality and manageability.

Benefits

By implementing Field Dashboard, the business is gaining the following benefits:

  • Promotes strong collaboration between development teams and end users by following an Agile methodology that regularly incorporates user feedback and reprioritizes requirements based on users' changing needs.
  • Adds more BI with its dynamic, near-real time displays. Field Dashboard surpasses the old Microsoft SharePoint®-based scorecard process by offering rich views and reports through a modern Windows 8 application. For example, Field Dashboard improves forecasting by using revenue numbers from the business's core system to plot trends that identify where a subsidiary will end the report period given the current pipeline.
  • Provides a "single source of truth" for business performance management by aggregating all the regional data into a single unified data store.
  • Standardizes processes worldwide for BPO Leads, Marketing & Operation Leads, and subsidiary scorecard Metric Owners.
  • Enhances business agility by presenting information in near real time.
  • Improves user experience by providing a modern Windows 8-based interface with live tiles and elegant, intuitive dashboard displays.

Conclusions

Field Dashboard is transforming the way Field data is collected and reviewed. This new global scorecard solution enables Field Leadership to manage the health of their business, to make decisions to improve their subsidiary scorecard results, and to help them prepare for the corporate and area business review processes.

At the time of this paper's publication, Field Dashboard has been piloted before the upcoming Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR) in 11 different regional locations, where it is logging and automatically populating forecast data from these areas into the QBR decks. Over time, Field Dashboard is expected to become the single source for business performance management, which in turn will promote more agile and informed decision-making within the Rhythm of Business process.

Microsoft IT continues to work with Marketing and Operations and the Field to refine Field Dashboard. Considerations for future enhancements include creating a Windows Phone 8 version of the application, and adding business scorecards and fiscal year rollover capabilities.

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products or services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada information Centre at (800) 563-9048. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information via the World Wide Web, go to:

http://www.microsoft.com

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itshowcase

© 2013 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Microsoft, SharePoint, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

This document is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

Was this page helpful?
(1500 characters remaining)
Thank you for your feedback
Show:
© 2014 Microsoft