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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!

Most of the newly merged vendors have now stepped up to the plate and made the tough decisions they needed to about people and products. This has resulted in removal of staff redundancies, restructurings that have caused additional staff to consider new opportunities, and sunsetting of several products. While it is impressive that the vendors have made the tough decisions (in spite of earlier protestations that nothing will change), it now comes down to execution.

Can they keep current customers happy and maintain sales momentum as they shuffle personnel around and drop certain products? More importantly, what exactly will they be selling during this planned 12-24 month transitionary period and how often will customers be required to upgrade to new interim versions? While its great to have a roadmap that depicts an all-encompassing fully integrated performance management solution that should be available during our lifetimes, you can only sell what works today. That may be hard to do when you have already sounded the death knell for some components and others are not yet integrated. For customers and prospects that do buy in to the grand vision, what will happen as each new and improved version is released? Since fundamental architectural changes are being made, not just minor enhancements, will they have to be in a constant upgrade mode to maintain support?

What I guess all of this means is that while the vendors have already made their decisions, even tougher decisions lie ahead for customers and prospects. If your product is put on life support and you will eventually have to transition to a new product do you stick with your current vendor or do you open up your search to the market at large? If you haven't yet purchased a solution do you sit on the sidelines until your preferred vendor delivers on their roadmap vision, do you buy in today knowing there will be bumps along the way, or do you look at alternative vendors who don't have the same post-merger challenges (at least not today)? The answers of course will vary by company situation, but in all cases these decisions will be tough and should not be made hastily.


Posted March 6, 2008 12:46 PM
Permalink | 1 Comment |

1 Comment

Craig -- You bring up excellent points. I have only half-jokingly written in my own blog that for the traditional BI vendors, in 2008 and 2009 the acronym "BI" will now stand for "Bloated Integration."

You point out one of the main issues with these acquisitions -- as the architectures change underneath, customers will need to upgrade their solutions. That's a painful process, and as long as they're going to have to go through a painful upgrade, they might as well look at other options in the market.

This creates a great opportunity for the newer, more innovative BI players to shine. So, I believe you'll see a lot of innovation coming from the newer players. And, one of the reasons that I'm such a big proponent of BI as an on-demand / SaaS service is that the upgrades are handled by the vendor, not the customer, so one of the key problems you identified is addressed.

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