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Measuring Uptime – Balanced Scorecard

Posted April 6, 2012 1:34 PM by Ted Jackson

At Ascendant, of course we use a Balanced Scorecard, and we have from day 1. We also hold quarterly strategy review meetings and we update our strategy map and measures each year in an annual review. Our strategy has not changed dramatically each year, but we do tend to tweak our measures on an annual basis. One thing that we have been working on is how to measure our software line of business, ClearPoint Strategy.

We have looked at a lot of measures in thinking about this Software as a Service business. We have some good outcome measures, like the number of users, the revenue associated with the users, and our renewal rates (which are great by the way). We have asked about customer satisfaction and looked at referrals as well. All of these are good measures. We are also trying to determine the right drivers of our software business. What are the internal process measures?

We have looked at the number of software releases, and the number of new features in the release. We've looked at the responsiveness of our customer service to requests, and we've looked at the number of bugs and fixes in our bug tracking software. We've also looked at the number of demos and inbound leads. All of these have been very informative to our process.


We had this measure on our Balanced Scorecard called "uptime." It was the amount of time our software was available (not counting scheduled maintenance outages that typically take place in the middle of the night on the weekend). Well, first we had to measure it in order to figure out what it was. This was important because our service agreements also talk about uptime (so it would cost us money if we did not meet the target). We implemented software called Pingdom, and we've been tracking our uptime.

After a few quarters, something interesting happened. We were always running at 99.9%+, and we realized that when the software did go down, it was only for a minute and then it would come back up. The measure was not driving behavior or helping us with our strategy. It was a key operational measure, but it wasn't a strategic measures. So, we took it off our scorecard. We didn't stop watching it, we just stopped talking about it each quarter. I'm sure we'll talk about it if we have an operational problem, but the measure is just not strategic.

Do you have any measures on your scorecard that are not strategic? It is worthwhile to ask the question, "are my measures driving the right behavior?" If you are not driving any behavior, maybe your measure has become operational. Congratulations. Now look closely at your strategy and be sure you are measuring the right things.

Oh, as for our Pingdom measure, you can see how we are doing with our uptime at the bottom of the Support Page at ClearPointStrategy.com.

Filed Under Balanced Scorecard