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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!

At least one vendor I am aware of is offering a no strings attached, totally free, SaaS performance dashboard. I have a problem with that. You might reasonably wonder why, after all how bad could it be if it didn't cost anything? If it doesn't work out you could just get rid of it, no harm done.Well, in fact it could do harm. Let me explain.

 A performance dashboard is a critical component of business performance management (BPM). Of course BPM itself is vital today to most companies who want to stay competitive, survive the downturn, and be ready for the recovery. So, getting company-wide support and ultimately rolling out a successful BPM initiative is very important. Free dashboards can jeopardize this goal. How? By being free. They allow anyone in the organization to bypass company approvals, buy-in, and therefore participation. Suppose a few well-intentioned souls in IT or Finance start using this application and then start showing it around. If they did a lousy job off on their own in the corner it will give people a poor impression of what a BPM dashboard could/should really be and turn them off to future BPM plans. More importantly, without senior participation it is almost 100% guaranteed that it will not be measuring what matters most to the organization. If it doesn't get that right, then what's the point? Going through an approval process/purchase decision elevates the visibility of the BPM project and gets buy-in (or not) at senior management levels, which is required to do BPM in a meaningful way. Technology itself is probably the least challenging aspect of BPM and this free offer is all about the technology.

On the other hand, if your organization has already bought in to BPM at the highest levels, is committed and ready to move forward, you should be able to get the senior team together to work on developing the right key performance indicators (KPIs). Once you've done that, you can use these free tools as a way to prototype your performance dashboard. Before making a big technology investment you can evaluate the level of participation and interest across the organization. When you are ready to really move forward you need to develop detailed technology requirements and go out and find the solution that best meets your needs, as you normally would. Although in this case the free dashboard performed a useful function along the way, it is highly unlikely that in the end it will be the ideal solution for this mission-critical application. 

Posted October 13, 2009 12:15 PM
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