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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!

May 2006 Archives

All of the data I get from our clients, our annual BPM Pulse survey, and conversations with BPM vendors seems to indicate a continuing demand for pre-built applications in the BPM space. There is a sizeable group that likes to see the application vendor also provide a set of BI tools to customize and expand that application's capabilities. The data shows a shrinking minority looking to reinvent the wheel and build BPM solutions themselves. However, I just read this article by a former Gartner analyst that basically says all of my data is wrong. In the enterprise application space (where BPM falls) he claims that the pendulum is swinging back from 'buy' to 'build'. I don't 'buy' it (pardon the bad pun). What are you seeing?

Posted May 31, 2006 10:08 AM
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We work directly with end users, speak regularly with the key vendors, and also converse with our fellow consulting companies in the performance management space. Over the past several weeks a clear trend has emerged: the mid-market is a key focus area for BPM. On the end user side we are seeing a steady flow of new customers and prospects that fit the typical mid-market profile ($ 500 million or less in revenues). As we meet with vendors we are seeing those that have historically been focused on this market trying to figure out how to win even more of this business. The larger vendors are starting to target this market as well and are putting together comprehensive product and go to market strategies for this group. The consulting companies are trying to understand the dynamics of this market. They are trying to figure out how to play in a market that is very cost sensitive and prefers more packaged solutions. We believe there is a tremendous opportunity here for the solution providers that focus on low total cost of ownership, reduced demand on IT, ease of use, while still being able to handle complexity. The mid-market does not need 'lite' versions of products. They need powerful solutions that will grow with them but are relatively easy to implement and use and priced appropriately for their size.

Posted May 10, 2006 8:51 AM
Permalink | 3 Comments |

Do consultants really add value to a project? Is the end result better because of their involvement? On the other hand, do projects involving consultants take longer and cost more? Being the head of a consulting company these questions are near and dear to my heart. Unfortunately some recent research conducted by BPM Magazine seems to suggest the worst-case: projects involving consultants cost more, take longer, and don't produce better outcomes than those done without consulting help. In some cases they produce worse results. Ouch! The research was focused primarily on business performance management projects. Being experts on BPM and consulting we have been asked to discuss and debate these results. To put it another way we have been asked to defend the miserable, no good consulting industry. It should be fun. I think I know why some of the data came out the way it did. This lively discussion will take place as part of a webcast on May 23rd at 12 noon EDT. This webcast will also review BPM implementation best practices and pitfalls to avoid. If you have an opinion on why the survey produced the results it did, please chime in.

Posted May 8, 2006 11:07 AM
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In case you missed it Geac (along with its former Comshare product line) became Extensity earlier this year. Now, the venture-backed entity has made a significant acquisition: Systems Union. Clearly they are following an 'assembler' strategy to build a bigger, better, and more competitive company. Our research and field work supports this strategy. Purchasers of business performance management favor the vendors with more complete offerings, even if they don't require all of the pieces today. This combination takes Geac from being a pure applications BPM vendor to an applications and tools vendor, not unlike Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion, and SAS. In addition, it gives them a broader geographic reach as U.K.-based Systems Union had significant success outside of the U.S. On the downside, there is significant overlap in their product lines. While they have vowed to continue to support overlapping products, my question is: when someone wants budgeting for example, which product will they lead with? That will determine ongoing investment in the various products. While overall a good deal for potential purchasers and existing customers, it does take Extensity from the unified solution camp of Longview, OutlookSoft and others, into the realm of the integration-challenged, both at a product level and company level. For their own take on the merger read the release.

Posted May 1, 2006 3:21 PM
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Some view company logos as fairly trivial. However I've seen software vendors agonize for weeks (or months) over logo designs, tag lines, and the like. I have also seen these same companies pay graphic designers and marketing consultants hundreds of thousands of dollars to try and get it right. So, with that in mind, we should at least spend a few moments forming our own opinion when they introduce a new marketing image for themselves. In case you don't recall, Hyperion's former logo was a capital 'H' composed of small, colored circles of varying sizes. Those of us who were at Hyperion at the time it was launched quickly dubbed it the 'Fruit Loops' logo. So much for all the time and money invested in it. In later years they removed the colors and rendered it in black and white only. Now they have launched a brand new logo and tagline. Take a look and form your own opinion. http://www.hyperion.com . For my opinion, continue reading this entry.

While I think it is an improvement over what has gone before, I can't help thinking that it looks like a weave pattern and is better suited for a textile company. Your thoughts?

Posted May 1, 2006 3:02 PM
Permalink | 1 Comment |