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Introduction ó The Business Imperative for On Demand



Across every industry, the business environment is becoming more complex, fast-paced and unpredictable. To survive and succeed, businesses and their structures must be flexible to accommodate change. Business agility is not just a buzz word, itís a requirement. To succeed, an on-demand business must become proactive to anticipate problems before they have a negative impact, as well as optimize resources and opportunities. The leaders in their industries will be those on-demand businesses which best manage business performance.

Sam Palmisano, IBMís CEO, described an on-demand business as an enterprise whose business processes are integrated end-to-end across the company and with key partners, suppliers and customers. On-demand businesses can respond with flexibility and speed to customer demands, market opportunities or external threats. This requires getting the right information at the right time to the right person, with appropriate context and background, to enable better business decisions in real time. Delivering this information requires an integrated enterprise infrastructure that leverages existing IT resources and enables new capabilities and functionality to be added quickly. The infrastructure must also enable rapid change in both business and technology. This on-demand infrastructure must be available 24/7.

A successful on-demand business optimizes all its resources, including people, processes, assets and technology. Those who succeed in on-demand transformation will have a significant competitive advantage. Those who donít enter the race are sure to be left far behind.

The Role of Business Performance Management in On-Demand Business

Business performance management solutions enable organizations to respond to customersí needs, competitorsí actions and regulatory changes by creating a business that is aligned, accountable and action-oriented. An aligned business has visibility and coordinated action across the organization and is flexible and responsive. The strategic intent cascades down from the executive level to the frontline workers ensuring all areas of the business work toward the same strategy.

For example, consider an auto dealership that differentiates itself on quality. Although delivering high-quality service and repairs is the strategic goal, the parts department manager opts to stock medium-quality parts to reduce costs. On the surface, it appears that the parts department manager is making a sound business decision by reducing costs, but instead he could jeopardize the quality differentiator the dealership is working to achieve. All levels of the organization must be aligned to execute the strategy.

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