Art Schneiderman, an independent consultant created the first balanced scorecard in 1987, at Analog Devices, a mid-sized semi-conductor company. However, it was Kaplan and Norton, who further developed this concept by 1992, causing it to gain widespread popularity as a tool to evaluate performance, assist strategic planning and set goals.
Initially implemented by the American Military and General Electric, today this tool finds widespread acceptance in most English-speaking western countries, Scandinavia, Middle East, Asia, and all Spanish-speaking countries. About half of the major companies in these places, and about the same percentage of all Fortune 1000 companies apply this tool. The application spreads across sectors, extending to government, health, retail, military and even non-profits.
By their very purpose and structure, balanced scorecards focus on big businesses, and as such, the number of other businesses using this tool is small across countries and sectors. Small businesses can still apply this tool as a valuable strategy map, but the costs involved make it out-of-bounds for many.