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Author: Richard Adams
Business Performance and Information Technology Management Term
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Business performance management (BPM) is a set of processes that help
organizations optimize their business performance. It is a framework for
organizing, automating and analyzing business methodologies, metrics,
processes and systems that drive business performance.
BPM is seen as the next generation of business intelligence (BI). BPM helps
businesses make efficient use of their financial, human, material and other

An early reference to non-business performance management occurs in Sun
Tzu's The Art of War. Sun Tzu claims that to succeed in war, one should have full
knowledge of one's own strengths and weaknesses and full knowledge of one's
enemy's strengths and weaknesses. Lack of either one might result in defeat. A
certain school of thought draws parallels between the challenges in business and
those of war, specifically:
collecting data
discerning patterns and meaning in the data (analyzing)


responding to the resultant information
Prior to the start of the Information Age in the late 20th century, businesses
sometimes took the trouble to laboriously collect data from non-automated
sources. As they lacked computing resources to properly analyze the data they
often made commercial decisions primarily on the basis of intuition.
As businesses started automating more and more systems, more and more data
became available. However, collection remained a challenge due to a lack of
infrastructure for data exchange or due to incompatibilities between systems.
Reports on the data gathered sometimes took months to generate. Such reports
allowed informed long-term strategic decision-making. However, short-term
tactical decision-making continued to rely on intuition.
In modern businesses, increasing standards, automation, and technologies have
led to vast amounts of data becoming available. Data warehouse technologies
have set up repositories to store this data. Improved ETL and even recently
Enterprise Application Integration tools have increased the speedy collecting of
data. OLAP reporting technologies have allowed faster generation of new reports
which analyze the data. Business intelligence has now become the art of sieving
through large amounts of data, extracting useful information and turning that


information into actionable knowledge.
In 1989 Howard Dresner, a research analyst at Gartner , popularized "Business
Intelligence" as an umbrella term to describe a set of concepts and methods to
improve business decision-making by using fact-based support systems.
Performance Management is built on a foundation of BI, but marries it to the
planning and control cycle of the enterprise - with enterprise planning,
consolidation and modeling capabilities.
The term "BPM" is now becoming confused with "Business Process
Management", and many are converting to the term "Corporate Performance
Management" or "Enterprise Performance Management".
What is BPM?
BPM involves consolidation of data from various sources, querying, and analysis
of the data, and putting the results into practice.
BPM enhances processes by creating better feedback loops. Continuous and
real-time reviews help to identify and eliminate problems before they grow.
BPM's forecasting abilities help the company take corrective action in time to
meet earnings projections. Forecasting is characterized by a high degree of


predictability which is put into good use to answer what-if scenarios. BPM is
useful in risk analysis and predicting outcomes of merger and acquisition
scenarios and coming up with a plan to overcome potential problems.
BPM provides key performance indicators (KPIs) that help companies monitor
efficiency of projects and employees against operational targets.
Metrics / Key Performance Indicators
For business data analysis to become a useful tool, however, it is essential that
an enterprise understand its goals and objectives essentially, that they know
the direction in which they want the enterprise to progress. To help with this
analysis key performance indicators (KPIs) are laid down to assess the present
state of the business and to prescribe a course of action.
More and more organizations have started to speed up the availability of data. In
the past, data only became available after a month or two, which did not help
managers react swiftly enough. Recently, banks have tried to make data
available at shorter intervals and have reduced delays. For example, for
businesses which have higher operational/credit risk loading (for example, credit
cards and "wealth management"), A large multi-national bank makes KPI-related


data available weekly, and sometimes offers a daily analysis of numbers. This
means data usually becomes available within 24 hours, necessitating automation
and the use of IT systems.
Most of the time, BPM simply means, use of several financial/nonfinancial
metrics/key performance indicators to assess the present state of the business
and to prescribe a course of action.
Some of the areas from which top management analysis could gain
knowledge by using BPM:
Customer-related numbers:
o New customers acquired
o Status of existing customers
o Attrition of customers (including breakup by reason for attrition)
Turnover generated by segments of the Customers - these could be
demographic filters.
Outstanding balances held by segments of customers and terms of
payment - these could be demographic filters.
Collection of bad debts within customer relationships.


Demographic analysis of individuals (potential customers) applying to
become customers, and the levels of approval, rejections and pending
Delinquency analysis of customers behind on payments.
Profitability of customers by demographic segments and segmentation of
customers by profitability.
This is more an inclusive list than an exclusive one. The above more or less
describes what a bank would do, but could also refer to a telephone company or
similar service sector company.
What is important is:
KPI related data which is consistent and correct.
Timely availability of KPI-related data.
Information presented in a format which aids decision making
Ability to discern patterns or trends from organized information
BPM integrates the company's processes with CRM or ERP. Companies become
able to gauge customer satisfaction, control customer trends and influence
shareholder value.


Application software types
People working in business intelligence have developed tools that ease the work,
especially when the intelligence task involves gathering and analyzing large
amounts of unstructured data.
Tool categories commonly used for business performance management include:
OLAP -- Online Analytical Processing, sometimes simply called "Analytics"
(based on dimensional analysis and the so-called "hypercube" or "cube")
Score carding, dash boarding and data visualization
Data warehouses
Document warehouses
Text mining
DM -- Data mining
BPM -- Business performance management
EIS -- Executive information systems
DSS -- Decision support systems
MIS -- Management information systems
SEMS -- Strategic Enterprise Management Software


Designing and implementing a business performance management
When implementing a BPM program, one might like to pose a number of
questions and take a number of resultant decisions, such as:
Goal Alignment queries: The first step is determining what the short and
medium term purpose of the program will be. What strategic goal(s) of the
organization will be addressed by the program? What organizational
mission/vision does it relate to? A hypothesis needs to be crafted that
details how this initiative will eventually improve results / performance (i.e.
a strategy map).
Baseline queries: Current information gathering competency needs to be
assessed. Do we have the capability to monitor important sources of
information? What data is being collected and how is it being stored?
What are the statistical parameters of this data, e.g., how much random
variation does it contain? Is this being measured?
Cost and risk queries: The financial consequences of a new BI initiative


should be estimated. It is necessary to assess the cost of the present
operations and the increase in costs associated with the BPM initiative?
What is the risk that the initiative will fail? This risk assessment should be
converted into a financial metric and included in the planning.
Customer and stakeholder queries: Determine who will benefit from the
initiative and who will pay. Who has a stake in the current procedure?
What kinds of customers / stakeholders will benefit directly from this
initiative? Who will benefit indirectly? What are the quantitative / qualitative
benefits? Is the specified initiative the best way to increase satisfaction for
all kinds of customers, or is there a better way? How will customer
benefits be monitored? What about employees, shareholders, and
distribution channel members?
Metrics-related queries: These information requirements must be
operationalized into clearly defined metrics. One must decide what metrics
to use for each piece of information being gathered. Are these the best
metrics? How do we know that? How many metrics need to be tracked? If
this is a large number (it usually is), what kind of system can be used to
track them? Are the metrics standardized, so they can be benchmarked


against performance in other organizations? What are the industry
standard metrics available?
Measurement Methodology-related queries: One should establish a
methodology or a procedure to determine the best (or acceptable) way of
measuring the required metrics. What methods will be used, and how
frequently will data be collected? Are there any industry standards for
this? Is this the best way to do the measurements? How do we know that?
Results-related queries: The BPM program should be monitored to ensure
that objectives are being met. Adjustments in the program may be
necessary. The program should be tested for accuracy, reliability, and
validity. How can it be demonstrated that the BI initiative, and not
something else, contributed to a change in results? How much of the
change was probably random?
Wade, David and Ronald Recardo, Corporate Performance Management
Butterworth-Heinemann, 2001 ISBN 0-. 87719-386-X
Mosimann, Roland P., Patrick Mosimann and Meg Dussault, The
Performance Manager. 2007 ISBN 978-0-9730124-1-5



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