Can a Business Performance Management Process that measures outcomes increase business knowledge and its value and vice versa?

imagePeople who make things happen,need rules. Sticking to their knitting is one.  Those who don’t fail trying to do all things for all people.

They also need to be clear about what they don’t know and find people who do. The rule for handling things that they don’t even know they don’t know is to leave it to others.

I was in a company last month that has about 1000 employees. As a business consultant the job I had was improve the performance management process. So my knitting so to speak is to setup up the process for planning and controlling the business. This includes getting numbers lined up in their processes that show where it is heading and how it is tracking . Knowing what everyone does or knows is not the key. Knowing what they delver is.

A useful definition if try to stick with is "work is only work when the output is accepted by a customer”. In other words going to work is an enigma. It is activity driven by an external event that demands an outcome. For example you get an order then you work to fill it,

In the end we just need to look at the expected outcomes and measure what drives them. If you know the number of orders and what skill are needed to do the man-hours to deliver them you know how many people you need to do the work. I am sure is not more complex than that. The interpreting a trading statement of a KPI measure becomes second nature.

What do you think?

Stephen Few talks about living room challenges of Analytics

Stephen_FewIf big, old, traditional BI companies are going to find their way from the back room to the living room and kitchen where people live, they’ll need …..

……………………As an attention grabber I just love this line, as it makes me want to read more.

Many people in the business intelligence business know Stephen Few. I am a fan as well and a regular reader of his blog and his books. He pulls no punches when it comes to dealing with Smuks and Cowboys in the business intelligence game. A master of information visualization himself and a champion for value in business Stephen Few deals severely with slick airbags who dress up the and try to sell an old product as new. They are fair game for his napalm like penetration as it goes to work when he spots them.

Stephen was just in Melbourne, my home town, presenting along side some SAP people. My son Trevor was getting married so I could not attend, but he sent me a summary via his blog, A comment he makes is his post entitled Old BI and the Challenge of Analytics has an example that of his skill spotting a sham-up as he discusses a co-presenter.

The fellow from SAP didn’t describe anything new in the realm of data visualization, but referred to Crystal Xcelsius (recently re-branded into two products, SAP Crystal’s Dashboard Design and Presentation Design) and Business Objects Explorer as SAP’s current datavis offerings. Both of these Products demonstrate SAP’s lack of expertise in this area. What he featured most was a new in-memory technology called HANA, which promises to speed up access to data considerably, but at significant cost. While he was describing HANA, I couldn’t help but fear that it might at best enable a faster trip to nowhere.

He goes on to say

They (vendor’s) must commit their efforts to what actually works, rather than silly, shiny features that fill their existing products with smoke and mirrors.

One metaphoric comment made by itcouple. says a great deal about the people who buy these products .

I think we can compare it to a sales person trying to sell a car… he/she will probably find plenty of reasons to buy a certain car but trying to sell a car to a racing driver who is after a “good car” is a different story; the sales person will have to find really the right car “compatible” with the racing driver otherwise they will fail miserably.

Unfortunately businesses usually buy cars for their racing drives so they usually agree with sales person more then with the driver Smile

Another comment I really like is one by By Mark Burnard who in my view goes to the heart of joining the businesses and the people who run them with the intelligence it has delivered 

Getting the org structure and roles & responsibilities right is another key factor in actually getting the right result at the front end.

In his conclusion Few tops off with a high temperature blast:

Despite the acid that often drips from my tongue when I speak out against SAP’s contrived and clueless attempts so far to support data visualization, I’m not rooting for them to fail. That is, unless they continue to promote hollow promises about dysfunctional products, in which case they’ll deserve to fail and I’ll gladly bid them goodbye.

As one who also represents another giant software solutions product in Infor and some notable others he certainly keeps us honest for sure lest I come under his notice.  But in thr end despite what some may see as vitrioled language, integrity is king. On that score if you enjoy a good read with some no-nonsense common sense stuff Stephen Few is  highly recommend. And  be sure to read. the contributing comments .  Here is a link and for our preservation of his words on our site I have copied it below this fold line too

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