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Here's an all-too-typical scenario. The management team at a multinational corporation has made the decision to implement one standardized Enterprise Resource Planning solution across the company. The management team expects to cut costs, bring products to market sooner, comply with regulations and improve core end-to-end processes, like the order-to-cash (OTC) process. For the executive team, the decision to go ahead with the purchase is sound, but something unexpected happens along the way to realizing that ROI. Months after the "go-live," fundamental Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) have not improved as planned.

What do you say when the CEO is asking why your company didn't reduce the "order-to-cash" cycle time by 10 percent, as planned?

Even if your company has a robust corporate performance management (CPM) system, chances are you won't have a good answer. CPM is the strategy, methods and processes that an organization deploys to direct its employees, partners, suppliers and customers to achieve a common set of goals and objectives. Companies measure performance through various mechanisms, including budgeting, score-carding and querying results and variances with business intelligence. Each of these tactics transforms data collected by transactional systems (such as CRM and ERP) into insight about top-line performance objectives.

But CPM has a blind spot. Even the best ERP and CRM systems do not collect end-user intelligence data, despite the fact that the most critical factor in driving business results from enterprise applications is the ability of your end-users to effectively execute your business processes. Each end-user must adopt the application and use it effectively, efficiently and compliantly.

When the achieved business results are not on plan, CPM systems often fall short because there is no real intelligence about the performance of these end-users. Are employees actually using the right transactions to execute the business process? Are they using them in the right way? Are the employees efficient, or are they making significant errors? Are the transactions effective, or are they cumbersome, requiring employee-invented workarounds?


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