Scorecards are no gamble: gaming company

When Maritimers buy a lottery ticket, there’s nothing but wishful thinking driving the results, but the Atlantic Lottery Corp. wants its performance measurement to be less of a gamble.

The Moncton, N.B.-based company oversees the

entire the lottery system for Atlantic Canada, including ticket and gaming operations, and has been beta-testing Cognos Metrics Manager. The software tool designed to help enterprises measure its performance against its business strategy, also known as a scorecard. Metrics Manager is part of the Ottawa-based company’s Series 7 Business Intelligence solution.

Atlantic Lottery Corp. (ALC) recently undertook a strategic planning process to create performance objectives, says Connie Desroche-Gallagher, IT project manager for ALC, so it was inevitable that there would be a tool required to support. “We’re just starting a whole cultural shift,” she says.

The ALC chose Metric Manager because it was already used two Cognos products: Impromptu, the company’s managed reporting solution, and PowerPlay, an online analytical processing software tool. Currently in the second phase of its beta test it expects to have Metrics Manager rolled out by the end of the year, says Desroche-Gallagher, albeit incrementally. The main focus will be getting it to decision makers in the organization. For example, it could use the tool to provide its financial performance objectives to all managers with decision-making responsibilities throughout the organization.

John Hagerty, vice-president of AMR Research in Boston, Mass., says in general businesses are demanding for more information, and it needs to be presented in a manner that’s easier to digest. “People just don’t have the time to look at it in detail.”

He says Metrics Manager is a great product for Cognos to help it proliferate through the enterprise. “It’s what the market is demanding.”

It’s also more than just a scorecard, says Hagerty. “It gives organizations the ability to define the metrics that matter ahead of time.”

Scorecarding is not a new concept, says Philip Russom, research director with Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm Giga Information Group. “The scorecard methodology originated as a business methodology with a strategic view.”

The concept of a balanced scorecard was developed in the early 1990s and much more rigorous, he notes, but scorecarding has loosened up a little, which Russom believes is a good thing. “The original methodology required enormous process re-engineering.”

Methodology is more important than the tool, he says, and it doesn’t always work for all organizations. “This is not just about software.”

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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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