Business Performance Management -- Delivering On-Demand Success

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.

Goals and analytics of corporate management systems need to be integrated with the process management systems and the operational management systems so the various users can take action aligned with organizational objectives. When strategic decisions can be made, communicated and implemented quickly throughout the organization, all levels of the organization are working towards the same goal, enabling it to more effectively operate on-demand.

With strategic alignment comes the need for accountability. Companies need to limit deviation from corporate guidelines and procedures throughout the organization, both to meet ever-increasing regulatory guidelines and to demonstrate results against business goals and strategic intent. Providing pervasive real-time visibility into all business processes and events across the organization as well as event tracking and control enables companies to verify compliance on demand while managing risk associated with real-time decision making.

Being on-demand enables a business to take a proactive approach to decision-making. In large organizations, analysis paralysis is often a safer road to job longevity. But an on-demand business requires taking fast action based on insights. One reason many managers are reluctant to take quick, decisive action is because they are unsure how to correlate all the facts they have. Often lack of information is not the problem ó how to use the information is. With relevant, contextual information, business leaders can take action resulting in winning strategies.

Business Performance Management Provides Competitive Advantage

Business performance management integrates and aligns the executive, business and operational levels of a business, enabling real-time visibility, auditability and accountability across all levels of the organization. Action can be taken to proactively explore opportunities or adjust to a changing environment. With role-based visibility into the current state and execution of the business environment and real-time analytics, organizations can effectively monitor and respond to business events in real time. By building an aligned, accountable and action-oriented business, business performance management solutions provide all levels of the organization with the information and tools necessary to make the right decisions and take the right actions