ClearPoint Fundamentals | ClearPoint Strategy

ClearPoint Fundamentals

Get off the ground fast with these fundamental aspects of ClearPoint.

Navigating ClearPoint

This video will refresh your knowledge on the screen layout and navigational features of ClearPoint. Click here to see more articles on navigating ClearPoint.


What’s the Control Panel? Is a measure the same as a KPI? Check out our glossary for all the answers to your terminology questions.

Getting Started

Learn the basics from our Getting Started video series, or download a PDF version of the ClearPoint Getting Started Guide.

Concepts to Know

Element Types | User Permissions | Edit vs. Update | Summary vs. Detail Page | Reporting Periods vs. Frequencies | Sharing Results


Element Types

ClearPoint has several types of elements you can use to organize your information. If their names do not match what you are accustomed to in your organization, administrators can customize the terminology in ClearPoint accordingly. Each of these elements has special features designed to help manage your strategy, in addition to the awesome capabilities you can take advantage of across ClearPoint (like ownership, discussion fields, and parent-child hierarchy). These are specified below.

Scorecard: The strategic planning framework used to align business activities to the vision of the organization. You might use a scorecard for each separate department or division in your organization. Structured like folders on a computer, scorecards can be a great way to organize your information in ClearPoint.

Category: The areas of the overall business strategy addressed by groups of strategic objectives. Some organizations call them “perspectives.” Common categories include finance, consumers (or citizens, students, etc.), operations, and learning & growth.

Objective: A high-level strategic goal which defines how an organization will achieve successful results. Some organizations call them ‘goals’ or ‘thrusts’. Objectives have special features including direct links to categories, automatic weighted evaluations, and chart reference fields for linked measures.

Measure: A quantitative assessment that allows you to evaluate how well you are accomplishing your objectives. They are used to mark progress and are chartable. Some organizations call these ‘metrics’ or ‘Key Performance Indicators’ (KPIs). Leverage data-focused features in measures such as customizable charts, data tables, calculations, automatic evaluations, and dashboard reports that can be exported to PowerPoint.

Initiative: A project or group of activities put in place to improve measure performance and help achieve the overall organizational strategy. Take advantage of features such as start and end dates, percent complete, a variety of built-in calculated fields for variance, days elapsed, and more, as well as milestones and Gantt charts.

Milestone: A key step along the way to completing an initiative. Milestones special features include start and end dates, percent complete, a variety of built-in calculated fields for variance, days elapsed, and more, as well inclusion in Gantt charts. Note that milestones are aligned with only one initiative.

Action Item: A small project or request that typically is short term and does not need funding or resources set aside. Some organizations refer to these as ‘tasks’. Action items can be assigned start and end dates.

Risk: A liability or negative occurrence that could potentially be caused by internal or external vulnerabilities. Risks can be assigned start and end dates.


User Types

One of the great aspects of ClearPoint is the variety of user types and access levels that the application offers. Below is a summary.

Free, unlimited user types:

No Access: A user flagged as ‘No Access’ cannot access the system. However, they can still be set as the owner of elements (objectives, measures, projects, action items, etc), and reports can filter elements based on to show or hide No Access users.

Browser: Browsers can log into the system and look around but not make any changes. These view-only users do not count towards your licensed user count, meaning they are free and you can add as many as needed (in accordance with your subscription agreement).
If possible, it is better to add people as ‘Browsers’ rather than ‘No Access’ so that they can see the latest information as well as utilize real-time email alerts and notifications.

Licensed user types:

Updater: This is the most restricted licensed user type. Updaters can view everything (as permitted) and they can make changes to Update information like numerical data, status indicators, and analysis.

Editor: Editors can do everything that an Updater can do plus they can add new elements to the scorecard(s) (objectives, measures, initiatives, etc) and can add descriptive information like owners, definitions, charts, measure series, formulas, automatic evaluations, etc.

Scorecard Administrator: This user role has all the permissions of an editor, plus the ability to edit the scorecard that they have “scorecard admin” access to. They can also edit layouts and upload structured data. As the name suggests, they are responsible for specific departmental scorecards.

Administrator: This user role has control over the entire ClearPoint account. They have the capability to add users and scorecards as well as set periods, defaults, status icons and more.

By Scorecard: This user has their permissions set by scorecard, meaning they can have Browser access to one scorecard and Scorecard Admin access to another, etc.

By Group: ‘By Group’ controls allow for extremely granular access to specific elements and scorecards. Using By Group access requires adding a User Group, setting up access rules, and then assigning users to the group. Note: This setup is extremely rare and not recommended in most situations.


Edit vs. Update Fields

Update fields are fields whose contents are related to a particular reporting period. When you toggle between periods, you can make updates to Analysis, Recommendations, and more for that period, allowing you to show changes over time.

Edit fields are fields whose contents do not change over time. When you toggle between periods, the information remains the same. This might be information such as Owner, Description, or Reporting Frequency.

On detail pages, update fields are marked by the period, while edit fields are not:
edit vs update


Summary vs. Detail Pages

Summary reports are exactly that – a summary of important information from several elements. They are listed in bold under the corresponding element in the Top Navigation.

Detail pages show all the details for one particular element. They can also be found in the corresponding element dropdown menu, but are underneath the summary views and not in bold.

Summary reports and detail pages are managed in different places. To manage an Objective summary report, for example, you click on Manage Objective Reports, the first page listed in the ‘Objectives’ dropdown menu. To manage individual objectives, you click on Manage Objectives from above the individual objectives listed.


Reporting Periods vs. Frequencies

A reporting period is an individual period in ClearPoint. This might be a month (e.g. Apr-16), quarter (e.g. Q1-2016), or year (2016). The Period Selector in the Control Panel will always show monthly periods.

Reporting frequencies define how frequently individual elements are reported on. This might be monthly, quarterly, or annually, for example. Click here to learn how to set the reporting frequency of an element.

Sharing Results

There are several ways to export and share your information in ClearPoint. Click on any of the links below for further instruction.

Briefing books: clickable PDF reports that combine information from several pages in ClearPoint. Create templates to use over and over, customize them with cover pages, headers and footers, and more.

Page Exports: single pages exported from ClearPoint. All pages can be exported to PDF; summary views can also be exported to Excel or PowerPoint.

Email Page: this option allows you to email a PDF copy of a page, along with a link to the page and an email message, to the users (and other email addresses) you specify.

Publishing: published reports are similar to briefing books, except the exported information is available in a public-facing HTML document that you can link to or embed on your site (rather than as a PDF).

Dashboard: a public-facing Community Dashboard pulls your data from ClearPoint into a digestible format on a custom WordPress site.

Admin Configuration

Administrators are the only users with the permissions to set up the structure of your account, as well as customize labels and appearance. An administrator might start with the following:

Getting Started – Being an Administrator

Adding a scorecard

Adding and editing users

Adding periods

Adding and editing reporting frequencies

Renaming elements and menu items

Organization and Security Options

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