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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!

Recently in Tales of the End User Category

A recent interaction with a prospective customer has further shaken my faith in the ability of typical companies to 'do BPM right'. Unfortunately there is a growing stack of data indicating that while companies are happy with BPM, they are not necessarily happy with their vendors or the road they travelled to get there. Some supporting data can be found here. Now back to that prospect. What did he do that was so terrible? He is paying money to a consulting firm to help him select the best BPM solution. That's good. Unfortunately, the consulting firm he chose to help him do this is as biased as they come. What's worse, this is a common problem and a dirty little secret of the BPM world.

The bulk of consulting firms in the business performance management space are implementation firms. They typically partner with one or two of the key vendors and implement their products almost exclusively. This is where they make the bulk of their revenue. However, greed often gets the best of them and if they can make money helping a client select the product to be implemented they will do that as well. How can they objectively help a client find the 'best' product if they have a vested interest in seeing them go with one of the products they implement? Not to mention that many partnerships with the vendors also include a finder's fee for sending business their way, further steering these firms towards recommending their partner's products. The vendors know this of course and when an innocent prospect asks for help in identifying a consulting firm to guide them through vendor selection, who do you think the vendors suggest? One of their most loyal partners of course. It's all rather incestuous if you ask me, and terribly unfair to the prospect who is spending money on a consultant who's going to probably direct him to the solution that's best for the consulting firm, not necessarily the prospect.

How do theses consultants convince smart companies to engage them? One simple word: unified. The question they'll pose is: 'do you want to have work with two different consulting companies - one for selection, one for implementation'? Sounds logical. However, if you don't yet know which product you are going to ultimately select how do you know which implementation firm to hire? To say it another way, if the implementation firm is truly unbiased they may very well help you select a product they don't implement. In that case you are back to having to work with two consulting firms, and you have done your selection work with a firm that may not be as expert as someone that does selection for a living. If they steer you to a product they do implement you have the benefit of a single company for selection and implementation, but most importantly do you know if they really helped you find the best solution for your business?

Posted October 7, 2005 10:14 AM
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Everyone hates RFPs (Request for Proposal). The end users that send them out hate creating them and reviewing them. The vendors hate having to respond to them. They don't even accomplish much. Most vendors learned a long time ago that they need to find a way to say 'yes' to every question posed to them. So the end result is an unpleasant, costly, time consuming process, that leaves everyone back where they started: trying to reduce a long list of vendors to a short list. Since this process has been so ineffective I can't understand why it is now spreading.

In the past the RFP process was primarily reserved for software vendors. At least it made some sense there. Software products do have different feature sets and trying to figure out who does what and how was at least a well-intentioned endeavor. Now we are seeing RFPs on a regular basis at my company (a consulting company). To me, this makes even less sense. Everyone knows all consultants do everything and they do it well (more on this in a future entry) so what could you possibly ask them to help differentiate other than price? One of our prospects has a $ 10,000 project and they are going through an RFP process. They took about 2 months to prepare the RFP and have been reviewing the responses for about a month now. $ 10,000! Are they crazy or am I for responding to it?

Posted August 24, 2005 6:46 AM
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