!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: The Long March to Business Performance Management

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Long March to Business Performance Management

BPM Magazine defines business performance management (BPM) as
... a set of management and analytic processes, supported by technology, that enable businesses to define strategic goals and then measure and manage performance against those goals. Core BPM processes include financial and operational planning, consolidation and reporting, business modeling, analysis, and monitoring of key performance indicators linked to strategy.
What does BPM look like in practice? There is no short answer to that question because how BPM is implemented depends both on the maturity of a company's management systems and the details of its business.

One quite fascinating account of how BPM works is "A Personal Perspective on Business Performance Management," first published in BPM Magazine in 2003. A slightly reworked version (pdf) appeared at www.CROProject.com in 2007.

The author is Blythe McCarvie, who began her career in accounting, advanced to broader responsibilities in finance, and is now a consultant. In her narrative she describes the evolution of BPM as she herself experienced it:
During the 1970s and 1980s, mainframe-based multidimensional technologies drove decision support systems (DSS), which created rough models for future planning. Functional managers in finance, accounting, operations and marketing were limited in their analysis to considerations of distribution channel, customer and product line. The evolution of DSS into executive information systems allowed companies to analyze and evaluate their organizational strengths and weaknesses. By the 1990s, business intelligence accelerated developments and improved planning, reporting and analytical processes. Greater data accessibility through client/server and, now, internet-enabled technology has increased efficiency, yet challenged managment in the areas of data integrity, uniformity and control. As we move to an even more dynamic and open environment, balancing performance management benefits with controls becomes even more challenging.
McGarvie goes on to describe her firsthand experience at each stage of this evolution. Reading the four-page story is well worth the time it takes because you come away with a vivid picture of the issues and intentions behind the gradual advances in techniques for using data to align operations with business strategy.


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