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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!

November 2005 Archives

When talking to IT executives about their performance dashboard initiatives, I am often surprised by their perception of the task ahead of them. More often than not they seem to think they have their measures and key indicators under control, and just need to look at one or two technology options to find the right vehicle for displaying those measures. Compare this to the typical finance manager looking for a budgeting solution. They first want to spend a good amount of time up front developing and/or refining their requirements and then move on to look at 4 to 6 vendors. I believe both of these BPM initiatives are very similar in challenge and complexity, yet they are being executed differently.

The IT manager would argue 'we know our measures, we've been measuring the same things for several years' and look to quickly move to the technology selection phase. Couldn't you similarly argue that the finance department has been budgeting forever, why do they need to develop requirements for a budgeting solution? When it comes to selecting a solution, there are at least as many dashboard solutions on the market as there are budgeting ones. Why would the IT manager limit his analysis to very few options, while the finance manager casts a wider net? I think the answer is that the IT manager may be looking at the dashboard as just another reporting tool, not the move to performance management that it really is. A sense of the enormity of the task at hand can be found in this excerpt from Wayne Eckerson's new book on Performance Dashboards. Until IT realizes that their dashboard project should be viewed as part of a larger business performance management initiative in the company, they will underestimate the effort and investment required and under deliver on the potential benefits.

Posted November 28, 2005 1:05 PM
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As experts in the field of Business Performance Management we get asked this question on a regular basis. Essentially, people want to know how others have fared with BPM before they proceed down that same path. The best way to answer that question is to ask those that have gone before. That is one of the main reasons we run an annual survey called the BPM Pulse. It is a way for those that have moved forward with BPM to share their experiences, both good and bad. People who are just starting out can share their plans and expectations. Although this is a completely independent survey (not vendor sponsored), we do share the aggregated results with most of the major vendors in the space. If you would like to let the vendors know what you think, or share your experiences and plans with other end users all you have to do is take the survey. All respondents will receive the full results when available (as well as a free gift and a chance to win a Video iPod). We will share result highlights right here on the B-Eye Network.

Posted November 22, 2005 7:13 AM
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This should be a top trend, but it's not. At least not yet. Most companies we speak with would love to find a product that comes out of the box customized for their business, or at least their industry. This is particularly true when talking about dashboards. Surely banks, as an example, have a lot of the same requirements and track many of the same key performance indicators as each other. Why then doesn't almost every vendor offer a 'banking dashboard'? The trend seems to be going the other way. There was a BPM vendor called INEA focused on addressing the needs of a single vertical: banking. They got acquired by Cartesis and their products became part of Cartesis' generic offering. Is INEA's failure to succeed on its own an illustration of why more vendors don't pursue a vertical strategy?

I think the reason we have yet to see more industry-specific BPM offerings is that the vendors don't want to limit their potential market. That may be what INEA did by focusing on only one industry, but couldn't the vendors have a generic offering overlaid with features, modules, and templates targeting specific verticals? That way they could have the best of both worlds. Oracle today is an example of this. They have a robust BPM suite that can meet the needs of most industries, but they also have modules and capabilities specifically targeted at financial services firms. Most other vendors are content to offer packaged demos and pre-sales experts that speak the language of various industries, but they don't go much deeper than that. I guess the prospective BPM customers will have to wait a little longer for the lower learning curve, shorter implementation timeframes, and reduced total cost of ownership that true vertical solutions should be able to provide.

Posted November 17, 2005 8:40 AM
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I've attended numerous conferences over the years and the majority have been focused on technology and products. Those events are quite valuable to see the latest and greatest technologies and to hear the best thinking from our leading IT experts (many of whom are part of the B-Eye Network). The BPM Summit held this week in Greenwich, CT, however was focused on addressing business challenges - the reason we use technology in the first place. These types of conferences can be fairly dry, but this one wasn't. The most exciting aspect was to hear from the Vision Award winners - those companies judged to have made the best use of BPM software to enhance their business performance. The list of winners was surprising in and of itself.

The Vision Award winners were: The U.S. Postal Service, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, and Hyatt International. What these companies had in common was strong executive sponsorship and a holistic view of BPM - from planning to dashboards all across the company. The executive from Hyatt could not attend due to the recent events in Jordan, but the two other executives told compelling stories of how BPM dramatically improved their bottom line. The U.S. Postal Service, who I usually don't think of as leading edge, was able to introduce new services while reducing staff by about 50,000 people and expenses by about 13 billion dollars! The Nashville Airport was able to prosper in a very challenging time for the aviation industry. They were even able to reduce the rates they charge airlines. These companies clearly prove that Business Performance Management (if done right) is well worth the investment of time and money.

Posted November 16, 2005 12:11 AM
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As previously noted in this blog (see Geac: Acquire or Be Acquired) Geac had been looking for a way to better compete with the largest players in the BPM market. Well, apparently they have found their solution in Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm that will acquire them.

After completion of the acquisition the Geac ERP business will be combined with another Golden Gate firm, Infor, and focus on manufacturing and distribution companies. The performance management business will remain with the current Geac team, but under a new name yet to be decided. It will become the foundation of a complete offering of integrated financial applications. The resulting company will have more money behind it and be more focused on BPM. Read the details here.

Posted November 7, 2005 3:47 PM
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