Just because employees can access business intelligence (BI) data doesn't necessarily mean they will be more productive...
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in meeting an organization's goals.
So more companies are looking to corporate performance management (CPM) systems (also called business performance management or enterprise performance management) to bridge the gaps between BI, corporate goals and employee actions. Organizations such as the Louisiana Department of Revenue are slowly extending the use of CPM dashboards and scorecards to all employees, so it's more than just finance workers, or executives, tracking and responding to key performance indicators (KPIs). When all phases of its current project are complete, 750 of the group's 850 employees will use the CPM system as part of their daily routine.
It's part of a trend toward operational CPM, which is poised to be much more pervasive than BI, according to Gerry Brown, senior analyst with Towcester, U.K.-based Bloor Research International Ltd. Analyst firms such as Gartner predict that BI will eventually be used by 80-85% of the enterprise, but Brown believes that only 30-35% of the enterprise will adopt BI.
"You can't say that everyone in a big organization should have BI, because they wouldn't use it and they wouldn't understand it. It's basically an analytical tool and it's only the knowledge workers who really need an analytical tool," Brown said. "The rest of the guys just need to be able to do their jobs better, and CPM helps the average person do their job better."
That said, BI is the perfect platform for CPM, and the two technologies are converging in vendor tool sets and are deployed in tandem at many companies, Brown explained. BI systems have the technology for tactical and operational analytics, whereas CPM systems are designed to display the outcome of that analysis within the context of organizational goals. Put simply, BI systems tell companies where they've been and where they are; CPM puts that information in the context of where they want to be. CPM systems help employees use BI information to change their behavior or take actions that will help meet the organization's goals, he said. It helps "cascade down" high-level strategy to the individual worker's goals.
"CPM helps employees do their jobs better because it embeds their goals, objectives, metrics, plans and incentives in their systems," Brown said.
That was exactly the goal of the Louisiana Department of Revenue, which used to have 5,000 different programs to manage state taxes for businesses and individuals, according to Gary Matherne, deputy secretary. The variety of applications and fragmented processes was causing duplication of employee effort, operational inefficiencies and lost tax revenues. Improving overall performance was the goal from the start, he said, but the department knew that it first needed to get its data in order. So the department put in an integrated tax application that merged the 5,000 tax programs into one system. It began in the year 2000, with a deployment phased in over four years. The new system greatly improved information access and availability for the department's employees, but it wasn't quite enough, Matherne said. The group realized it needed better tools to manage department-wide performance and provide better feedback about metrics and goals to both managers and employees.
The department began evaluating CPM systems, settling on New York-based Information Builders Inc.'s Web Focus Performance Management Framework, which the group liked for its ability to easily integrate multiple data sources. The department is in the midst of a phased deployment, bringing the tools to workgroups before deploying them to individual employees. In the contact center, for example, a centrally visible monitor displays a CPM dashboard with real-time data and goals for metrics such as call volume, length of calls and peak call times. That helps supervisors make better use of employee time, so they can put more people on the phones during high-volume time or assign other projects in lulls, Matherne explained. It also helps employees understand the department's goals and how they can support them. These same tools will also alert the workgroup to specific tax-collection initiatives that employees should know about while on the phone with callers.
The combination of the integrated tax system, CPM tools and overall focus on organizational performance has already made a measurable impact at the department, Matherne said.
"We were able to minimize cost of operations and increase revenues," he said. "Now we're able to assess how our collections are going at any point in time, and we can put out special efforts to go after certain areas if we see some trends of fraud. Or [if we see] areas where we believe there could be some tax revenues sitting out there that we haven't tapped into, then we are able to respond to the situation in a more timely fashion."