Meaningful measures: Refreshing your organization’s IM performance measurement strategy – Systemscope hosts workshop at ARMA 2016 Spring Workshop Series

As a long-standing supporter of the Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA), Systemscope has delivered many presentations at their program meetings. This year, we participated in the Spring Workshop Series and offered a new approach for Information Management performance measurement through an engaging and interactive session.

We talked about:

  • New possibilities for performance measurement efforts
  • Innovative ways to tell a performance measurement story through data visualizations

Participants left with:

  • Templates of a logic model, balanced perspective framework and narrative as well as sample outcomes, performance measures and dashboards

The workshop was well attended and participation was very active as performance measurement seems to be a rising focus for our new government. People were generally curious about how to expand their current reporting efforts beyond recordkeeping and how to show the value of their services to the organization.

Some comments/concerns from participants included:

  • Current Information Management efforts focus on reporting compliance to Recordkeeping directives
  • Future Information Management efforts should focus more on how the reports are being used to enable decision-making
  • Information requirements change depending on the intended audience for the report
  • Priorities and questions asked by the intended audience must be known/gathered
  • Ensure reports respond to the priorities and questions accordingly

We had a good discussion around technology, and how to create effective visuals with performance measurement data (which I explain later in this post). We use a variety of programs and software like hcp virtual event planning, depending on the purpose and audience, including excel, visio, tableau and Illustrator.

Here is a (light) synopsis of our presentation.

New possibilities for performance measurement efforts

Given the many evolving requirements in the Information Management world (IM Policy Suite Renewal, GC Enterprise IM Strategy, Departmental Mandate Letters, emerging technology, etc), we are noticing an important shift from “filing” to “using” information. Similarly, performance measurement is also requiring a shift in focus…from reporting for Management Accountability Framework (MAF) purposes, to designing for management use.

We propose taking a stance that goes beyond simply “reporting” to using performance measurement as a way to help run your business (department, branch, sector etc) more effectively.

Think about where you (or your team) might be now:

Performance Measurement Shift

Our goal is to bring clients to the “using” stage. We propose doing this by:

Knowing your audience

  • Defining who will be using the results of your performance measurement efforts as well as the scope. This will help you target and scale information appropriately.

Taking a balanced approach

  • Considering the different perspectives of your business that need to be measured. This typically involves 4 quadrants – including, for example: client, workforce, internal capacity and finance.
  • Defining outcomes that fit within each of these perspectives

Incorporating a logic model

  • Ensuring all outcomes, outputs, activities and inputs are lined up against and directly supporting key strategic pieces of your business, for example, your vision, principles, areas of management, priorities (and as mentioned above, perspectives).

Using a balanced perspective framework

  • Dissecting key components of each of your 4 perspectives to define performance measures that will truly reflect if you are accomplishing what you set out to (as defined by your outcomes tied to your perspectives).

Innovative ways to tell a performance measurement story through data visualizations

Participants were eager to hear about new approaches to visualizing performance measurement data. This requires a bit of design thinking with critical thinking. From a design aspect, you need to choose which visual will best represent your data (e.g. bar graph versus pie chart etc). From a critical thinking aspect, you need to determine which measures to group together and how to segment/compare them in order to provide layers to the visual. In other words, we’re suggesting using one visual for more than just one performance measure (e.g. comparing GCDOCS usage with Shared Drive usage, layering in email storage and year over year comparisons – all with a baseline of sectoral comparisons).

These visuals can be powerful tools to incorporate into a dashboard, depicting vast amounts of data in an easy to understand and attractive format.

Considering our workshop was 3.5 hours, there is a ton more context and detail we have to back up our approach. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you would like to hear more about any of these concepts or take a peak at our presentation.


Jessica is a business consultant with over ten years of experience working in both public and private sectors. Her ability to understand the clients perspective and aptitude for problem solving has led her to deliver transformational communications, change management, process improvement and performance measurement projects. Jessica is part of Systemscope’s Enterprise Renewal team.


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