A Holistic Approach to Business Performance Management

ebizQ: Business performance management provides a wide range of capabilities. How are these capabilities delivered? Is business performance management a product?

KM: Business performance management is not a single product. Rather, it is an emerging market driven by the need for a holistic approach to managing performance. It will be realized through the confluence of several market initiatives and technologies. A comprehensive business performance management solution may consist of many components (products). These components, however, should be based on a common platform.

ebizQ: Do all the components of comprehensive business performance management solutions need to be implemented all at once or can it be incremental? Is it a strategic direction that must be done across the board, or can it be used in specific business units?

KM: All the components of a comprehensive solution need not be implemented at once; in fact, we expect incremental deployments to be common. A business needs to deploy the components that address their particular problems and needs. They can incrementally add components to provide them with additional business value. A key aspect of this incremental approach is ensuring the components are based on a common platform so you donít create islands of performance management.

Although business performance management is about aligning strategy, management and operations, deployment does not need to be top down. Frequently, a single line of business will initiate a business performance management solution, enabling that business unit to become aligned, accountable and action-oriented. As needs drive other portions of the business to deploy business performance management solutions, the first business unit will be well positioned to align their performance and measurement to the other parts of the organization as required.

ebizQ: Who in the company is involved in implementing a business performance management solution?

KM: We see demand for business performance management solutions from both line of business (LOB) managers and from IT departments. LOB managers want to understand the performance of their portion of the business and how it aligns with the rest of the organization. The IT departments are asking about business performance management solutions because they are getting disparate requests from the LOB managers about performance information. IT departments are looking for platforms that support the various LOB requests and initiatives.

ebizQ: What technologies and services does IBM offer in the area of business performance management?

KM: Because the needs of businesses vary, IBM offers a wide range of technologies and services to help customers deploy business performance management solutions. The technologies, in aggregate, provide a platform for performance management. Specifically, we have modeling capabilities that allow customers to capture and simulate business processes using WebSphere Business Integration Modeler. These processes can be directly deployed on WebSphere Business Integration middleware. WebSphere Business Integration Monitor provides monitoring capability. IBM Workplace provides the capability to present multiple, role-based dashboard views and to collaborate around those dashboards. Tivoli Business Systems Manager enables customers to understand the business impact of system events and problems. DB2 Alphablox provides analytics capability. Additional value is provided by DB2 Information Integrator, which allows businesses to access data from multiple data sources, either structured or unstructured. DB2 Data Warehouse Edition enables businesses to build performance management warehouses for historical analysis of data.

IBMís Business Consulting Services (BCS) help businesses with many aspects of business performance management. They can help businesses understand their current capabilities and how they need to incrementally build upon them to become aligned, accountable and action-oriented. BCS helps businesses in areas such as process transformation, developing Balanced Scorecards, identifying key performance indicators that are critical to their success and enabling breakthroughs in performance optimization.

Lastly, IBM has an extensive partner network to enhance business performance solutions so they address business needs.

ebizQ: Where should a company start in implementing a business performance management solution? KM: Businesses should implement business performance management solutions in areas where they require visibility into and better control over their performance so they can become more responsive to changes in their business environment. This might be for the purpose of cost reduction, compliance, improved customer service or managing growth initiatives. The key to successful growth is tracking initiatives carefully. If business metrics are not being met, the business can quickly adjust or even terminate the initiative.