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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!

I just read this announcement and the first thought that comes to mind is: why? ALG is known for planning applications built around activity-based costing (ABC) methodologies. More recently vendors of this type of application have marketed it as 'profit optimization' or 'profitability management'. The reason is that ABC has gone in and out of favor, mainly because it requires the collection of detailed costing data that many companies find difficult to accomplish, although once you make the effort there is significant payback. ALG is a niche player in the business performance management (BPM)market dominated by the likes of Hyperion and Cognos. Business Objects entered this market with the acquisition of SRC Software last year. Combining SRCs performance applications with its own BI tools Business Objects had the opportunity to join the top ranks of BPM vendors. However, that hasn't quite happened.

Business Objects has focused its marketing efforts around its enterprise information management story (data quality, meta data management, data integration, etc.). These capabilities are essential to prep the data for BPM, but aren't BPM in and of themselves. The SRC applications which had been fairly successful in the marketplace towards the end of their independent life have virtually disappeared. I do believe that Business Objects is focused on selling them to existing customers, which is why they are not showing up in competes with the other BPM vendors. On a positive note the ALG acquisition does seem to reinforce their commitment to the performance management space, but it extends their capabilities in that space only in a minor way. Maybe they are getting ready to face the BPM leaders head on and see it as a differentiator. Of the largest BPM vendors only SAS has strong ABC functionality coupled with the rest of the core components of performance management. Cartesis partners with Acorn Systems for the same type of functionality. Our recent conversations with them indicate they are waiting to see the real demand for these capabilities before they make a larger investment in it. ALG does focus on a select group of verticals and this is compatible with both SRCs and Business Objects approach. For ALG this would appear to be a great deal. The BPM market has clearly shown a preference for larger vendors with more complete offerings and small independent BPM vendors are an endangered species. Its just not obvious to me how this will truly benefit Business Objects.

Posted September 12, 2006 10:45 PM
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