Magazine article Information Today

BI Trends: The Next Generation of Performance Management

Magazine article Information Today

BI Trends: The Next Generation of Performance Management

Article excerpt

[This column lets experts in the information technology industry discuss the challenges and trends in their special niche in the marketplace. --Ed.]

Business intelligence (BI) applications continue to be a top technology focus for CIOs and one that takes a significant amount of time to perfect. BI technologies are the platform for communicating, managing, and measuring strategic, operational, and tactical performance.

Although organizations are spending time and money on implementing and evolving these systems, the systems are still not meeting company needs to accurately assess the drivers of strategic outcomes.

Why Management Processes Fail Today

Simply put, BI technologies are implemented to support management processes. To explain how these technologies will evolve to address the next-generation management process, let's examine an example of a best-in-class process for an investment management company that implemented a balanced scorecard system.

According to the strategy map, the financial and customer perspectives are measured as outcomes. The success of these objectives is measured by transactional data from a ledger or financial system. The internal process and people perspectives are drivers. The achievement of these objectives is tracked by quantifying "fuzzier" measures. This driver information is usually not contained in any centralized system, but sits on an employee's desktop in a content management system (CMS),a document management system (DMS), or on a portal. This content is almost always inaccessible to today's BI platforms.

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If this investment management firm is using specific measures to track success against the objectives on the strategy map, the company usually does a great job of providing data for its leadership team on outcomes. When a CEO is looking at the strategy map in a monthly management meeting, he or she will get great summary information: "Increase assets under management," or "Provide high quality experience."

But the management process falls short when the organization tries to report on driver information. For an internal process objective such as "Advance strategic account management," the BI system does not translate the text in the customer records fields in the CRM system to determine if account managers are making the right number of "touches" in the field with their key accounts, and does not measure the sentiment of a voice-to-text record from the call center to determine if customers from a specific account are happy with their account team. For a learning and growth objective such as "Develop next generation of leaders," the BI platform does not link to data about how much training the young leaders' program has conducted, since this sits on the training manager's desktop.

As a result, the leadership team receives a report that takes them back to square one. The team gets lots of transactional "after the fact" data, with no perspective on how it can change behavior to influence these outcomes. Even worse, the leadership team does not even realize that the driver information it does receive most likely does not have the same integrity or completeness as the outcomes information, leading the team to make poor strategic decisions. …

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