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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 have to admit this was sort of a surprise. I understand and am happy to see that IBM has been making a big push into business analytics. However they already own products that can do most of what Clarity 7 does. There is always some level of overlap with these kind of acquisitions, but in this case it appears to be huge. Clarity is primarily a performance management application vendor. Well, IBM's earlier Cognos acquisition covers much the same ground (and then some). The IBM Cognos sales force already has its hands full trying to decide which product to roll out when someone wants to do budgeting for example. Do they lead with Cognos Planning or TM1 and/or partner applications in this area? What they don't need to add to the mix is another budgeting and planning solution such as Clarity's.

So, why the purchase then? FSR. Financial statement reporting. This Clarity solution is focused on financial governance and the facilitation of external reporting. We believe this has been where most of Clarity's sales and growth have come from, at least in the past year. It is certainly a hot area in performance management and it makes sense for IBM to want in. Other vendors are also jumping on this bandwagon such as Longview with their FXR offering.

My view of all this is that it is a good acquisition for IBM (especially if the price they paid reflected that FSR was really the only valuable piece of the product set for them) and will strengthen their expanding business analytics offerings. I also believe that it doesn't make sense to continue to actively market and develop the competing Clarity 7 performance management applications.

What does this mean for IBM Cognos customers? The ability to incorporate FSR into their performance management solutions. For current Clarity customers the picture is a little different. While I am sure Clarity 7 will be 'supported' for some time to come, it will be frozen in time. In an area of rapid evolution and change such as performance management you cannot stay competitive with your peers if you are utilizing an essentially dead product. As the definition of performance management continues to expand and vendors add new capabilities you do not want to be left behind. These customers must begin planning a migration to an alternative solution from IBM or another vendor much like customers of INEA, SRC, Cartesis and several other acquired and discontinued products have had to do. They should do this before they make significant additional investments in software, training, or implementation. It's always better to invest in the future as opposed to the past.


Posted October 22, 2010 10:41 AM
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