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Craig Schiff

I am very excited about this opportunity to share my perspectives and experience in my BeyeNETWORK Blog. For those of you who may not have read my articles and newsletters over the past few years, I hope you will appreciate a vendor-independent perspective on all things related to Business Performance Management (BPM). I focus on key topics organizations should consider throughout their BPM project lifecycle, from early stage requirements definition and justification, key measure development, vendor selection and finally, successful deployment and rollout. Of course, market trends and vendor updates will also be part of the mix. Please stop by on a regular basis to see what's new, and to make this interactive, please share your opinions. If you have a specific question, contact me directly at cschiff@bpmpartners.com.

About the author >

Craig, President and CEO of BPM Partners, is a pioneer in business performance management (BPM). Craig helped create and define the field as it evolved from business intelligence and analytic applications into BPM. He has worked with BPM and related technologies for more than 20 years, first as a founding member at IMRS/Hyperion Software (now Hyperion Solutions) and later cofounded OutlookSoft where he was President and CEO.

Craig is a frequent author on BPM topics and monthly columnist for the BeyeNETWORK. He has led several jointly produced webcasts with Business Finance Magazine including "Beyond the Hype: The Truth about BPM Vendors," the three-part vendor review entitled "BPM Xpo" and "BPM 101: Navigating the Treacherous Waters of Business Performance Management." He is a recipient of the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. BPM Partners is a vendor-independent professional services firm focused exclusively on BPM, providing expertise that helps companies successfully evaluate and deploy BPM systems. Craig can be reached at cschiff@bpmpartners.com.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Craig's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

August 2005 Archives

Cartesis is a French BPM vendor that had achieved significant success in the area of complex, multi-national, statutory consolidation. They had two problems however - consolidation has been one of the slower growth areas of BPM, and their North American operation was stagnating. Clearly a change was in order. That change started with new investors, a new CEO in France, and a revamp of the U.S.-based executive team. We recently met with members of that team and were impressed with their execution to date and plans for the future.

The new President of North America came from Business Objects, as did the new head of marketing. We met with them at their offices in Norwalk, CT to get the lay of the land. They shared with us their two-pronged strategy for success in this highly-competitive market: reduce time to market by quickly acquiring the weak or missing pieces (budgeting, information delivery), and hire a proven BPM-experienced sales staff. Cartesis has been executing on this strategy already. In June they acquired INEA, a small BPM player, for their budgeting and forecasting capabilities. More recently they picked up a small consulting company that had developed products around information delivery. On the sales front they have been hiring ex-Hyperion and OutlookSoft reps. The strategy seems to be working. In the last quarter they closed a $ 3 million+ deal. I think they are on track to become a key player in North America. Comments welcome.

Posted August 26, 2005 7:08 AM
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I just don't get it. There is a fairly consistent theme in our talks with BPM prospects: the business users driving the project (usually in Finance) are in a battle with IT. Corporate America, 2005, and IT and Finance are fighting. Over what? A lengthy list: who's in charge, what's really needed, and most importantly - what solution to purchase. I must be missing something. When I was in IT it was pretty clear to me that my job was to meet the needs of the end user. Now I have Finance organizations in major companies telling me their IT group won't let them get what they really want.

The most common issue seems to be that IT wants to move into BPM by acquiring modules from their ERP provider. This is logical of course - IT is already trained on the underlying technology, the new modules will theoretically be well integrated, unified database, etc. However, the business users are more focused on ease of use, depth of BPM functionality, and reduced dependence on IT. The best-of-breed BPM application vendors usually top their list of desired solutions. So what typically happens? In many organizations it is a stalemate and nothing happens, they miss out on the many benefits of BPM. In others, IT does what it thinks is best, the system is never fully embraced by the end users, and it ends up being under utilized. In still other cases companies such as ours are brought in as an independent third-party to referee. I don't mind making money and we often succeed in getting everyone on the same page, but this is a problem that shouldn't exist in the first place. Comments welcome.

Posted August 25, 2005 7:39 AM
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Everyone hates RFPs (Request for Proposal). The end users that send them out hate creating them and reviewing them. The vendors hate having to respond to them. They don't even accomplish much. Most vendors learned a long time ago that they need to find a way to say 'yes' to every question posed to them. So the end result is an unpleasant, costly, time consuming process, that leaves everyone back where they started: trying to reduce a long list of vendors to a short list. Since this process has been so ineffective I can't understand why it is now spreading.

In the past the RFP process was primarily reserved for software vendors. At least it made some sense there. Software products do have different feature sets and trying to figure out who does what and how was at least a well-intentioned endeavor. Now we are seeing RFPs on a regular basis at my company (a consulting company). To me, this makes even less sense. Everyone knows all consultants do everything and they do it well (more on this in a future entry) so what could you possibly ask them to help differentiate other than price? One of our prospects has a $ 10,000 project and they are going through an RFP process. They took about 2 months to prepare the RFP and have been reviewing the responses for about a month now. $ 10,000! Are they crazy or am I for responding to it?

Posted August 24, 2005 6:46 AM
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