Data-informed management is hardly a new idea. Management accounting emerged during the first half of the 20th Century, and an emphasis on non-fiscal metrics was cemented with the arrival of the Balanced Scorecard in the early-90s.
The approach advocates a diligent cascade of mission, strategy and tactics to achieve defined strategic outcomes. It requires the design of the right balance of appropriate metrics to guide performance and helps secure organisational alignment.
That organizational alignment isn’t a once-off activity. Kaplan and Norton insist:
The alignment process, much like budgeting, should be part of the annual governance cycle.
It’s this corpus of work that informs one of our favourite BPM maxims:
Measure what you should, not what you can.
These two assertions are a good starting point for considering how the Quantified Organization is set apart from business performance management (BPM) approaches such as the Balanced Scorecard.
Firstly, anyone aspiring to develop a Responsive Organization will shudder at the idea that alignment is an annual process – such a drumbeat lost its relevance with the passing of agrarian society. The responsive organization is a quantified organization and it’s real-time.
In The Business of Influence, Philip Sheldrake presents an augmentation of the Balanced Scorecard he labels the Influence Scorecard, aspiring to leverage today’s centralized structures and BPM capabilities to embed performance management as sensory feedback throughout the organization, to prompt and qualify transformation.