Since I started writing about Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) several years ago, I sought to escape the “flash in the pan” buzz of the next big “management THING”. And many of my readers and clients truly embrace EPM for what it is- the cornerstone of what the enterprise should be built upon- a core process that daily operations are built around, and a vehicle for taking the companies vision and strategy to its destination.
But the more I read in EPM and Business Intelligence space, the more I am bombarded by h the plethora of scorecard and dashboard APPLICATIONS espoused by the likes of the “Big 3” and the myriad of other “bolt-on” solutions provided by software boutiques and web developers.
Let’s straighten this out once and for all- EPM is NOT an application, it is a business PROCESS. Not only is it a business process, it is (or should be) the central business process of the enterprise. Sure, the process and supporting technologies are connected, but here’s the real acid test. If you are an implementer of these systems or tools, ask youself how much time you spent (or intend to spend) on the following activities as you implemented your so called EPM software:
- Affirming your strategy, and translating it into something your front line employees can easily understand
- Refining and your objectives and aligning your management team to them
- Translating your key objectives into measureable and benchmarkable KPI’s
- Doing the requisite analysis (benchmaking, trending, analyzing, forecasting) targets for each of these KPI’s
- Linking your key initiatives to the KPI’s they are designed to improve, and prioritizing (and de-prioritizing) them according to these linkages
- Defining ownership and individual accountability for each KPI
- Defining the reports and analysis needed by these individuals and workgroups to enable them to be successful
- Linking appraisals and reward systems to the achievement of KPI’s and business metrics
- Defining and mapping the process required to MANAGE KPI achievement
- Training management and supervisors in the EPM PROCESS
- Shaping and reshaping culture by “walking the walk”, and surrounding the EPM process with the required investments in change management (the people side of change)
- Defining the best technology solution to enable all of the above
- Selecting and designing the technology solution
- Implementing said technology
If the time, energy and resources you spend on #13 and 14 is more that 1/3 the resources spent on #’s 1-12, you’ve got a very “unbalanced” EPM solution in the works. Getting the EPM system to the point of real value add requires that degree of “footwork” in each of the other areas, and if your’re not yet ready to make that investment, spend your IT dollars elsewhere.
EPM is not a software application, but a living process that brings all parts of the business to their highest performing level. When we view it any other way, we do the business a great disservice.
Author: Bob Champagne is Managing Partner of onVector Consulting Group, a privately held international management consulting organization specializing in the design and deployment of Performance Management tools, systems, and solutions. Bob has over 25 years of Performance Management experience and has consulted with hundreds of companies across numerous industries and geographies. Bob can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org