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Expanding your Existing BI Project into a Broader Performance Management Initiative

This article provides five tips to help you jumpstart your transition from a departmental BI project to a more comprehensive performance management initiative.

This article originally appeared on the BeyeNETWORK

Many organizations engaged in business intelligence (BI) projects will note some similarity to topics covered under a performance management initiative. Some even feel that their existing BI initiative is more robust than some performance management initiatives at leading companies. Although these organizations may be right in that their BI capabilities are notable, a performance management initiative is a broader project that often requires a cultural shift for successful adoption.

Although many of the same tools used in business intelligence are the basis of a broader management initiative (e.g., robust data warehouse, ETL tools, multidimensional database, graphically oriented user interface), assembly of these tools does not guarantee successful performance management. A true performance management initiative aligns business processes, people, data and technology in a way that is enterprise-wide in scope and takes into consideration aligning corporate strategy through relevant operational tactics.

Based upon this premise, the following five considerations will help you jumpstart your transition from a departmental BI project to a more comprehensive performance management initiative:

  1. Conduct a full audit of what BI initiatives are in place.
    This includes understanding what tools are in use, the range of software licenses, the business processes that are being supported and the data that is accessed. Keep in mind that in mid-sized to large enterprises, it is very likely that BI activities are distributed around the company in independent business units, regional offices and other functional departments. The more thorough the audit, the more comprehensive the possibilities as you extend your performance management initiative over time.

  2. Conduct a performance management educational workshop.
    The goal of this effort is to educate potential users of these systems on the benefits of a broader performance management initiative. More experienced members of your team or an external expert could share best practices from other organizations, and the team should agree upon consistent definitions for reference in future activities.

  3. Select and develop your expert team.
    For performance management, organizations cannot afford to skimp in terms of leadership experience. The members of your team should be handpicked from the involved departments across the enterprise. Both business units and functional departments should be represented. An executive sponsor and senior stakeholders should also be identified. Ideally, several members of your team should have had hands-on experience in deploying similar initiatives earlier in their career.

  4. Develop a road map.
    With a newly identified team, updated audit and basic education session completed, select a handful of individuals who will be involved in championing this initiative forward. This group should be senior enough to establish a multiyear vision for performance management and participate in the development of a road map to get there. The road map does not need to be completely detailed, but rather it should be directional in nature.

  5. Identify quick hits for early success.
    With this new performance management foundation in place, it will become readily apparent what the big opportunities will be for your company. At the same time, there is a short-term need to demonstrate success to help build momentum. A sample of success could be the development of a business-oriented report from data in a centralized data warehouse, or agreement on a hierarchy/data structure across business units. Keep the first steps modest – the goal is to show success and build momentum for further work down the road.

You will note that in these recommendations, there is no step that involves buying more software. Many companies often have plenty of software licenses available to support their initiative. Although there is a possibility that additional licenses or upgrades may be needed early in the game, it is not a requirement. The broader goal is to assure that select business processes, normalized data, people and the right technologies are aligned in order to optimize your business performance.

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