Welcome to the world of Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), considered the Holy Grail of Business Intelligence. EPM and its various manifestations creatively named as Business Performance Management (BPM), Corporate Performance Management (CPM) etc. is a set of processes that help organizations optimize their business performance.

Does it sound good? – Ofcourse, Yes! Show me an organization that does not want to optimize!!
Does it sound practical? – Not really! Don’t know where to start!!

EPM means many things to many people – Optimization of business performance can mean optimization at the business processes level (local optima), can also mean optimization at the organizational level (global optima) and can also have many flavors in between.

With many BI vendors jumping into the EPM bandwagon, the problem is that EPM is immediately equated to the solutions provided by tools like Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion etc. That view, in my opinion, is far removed from the truth.

In this series of posts, I would like to share some thoughts on making EPM a practical reality in organizations. To start with, let me enumerate the components of an EPM strategy:

  1. Business Process Maps – Understand the business process
  2. Metrics Identification – Get hold of the metrics
  3. Metrics Profiling – Understand the metrics in depth
  4. Metrics Maps – Understand the cause and effect relationships between metrics
  5. Metrics Visualization – Implementation of Metric Maps on BI Tools
  6. Watch and Improve – Monitor Metrics and Improve business process as required

A keen observer will immediately realize that implementing EPM has lot more of pen & paper work (substitute your favorite analysis tool here!) before technology can come into the picture. Also, in my opinion, there is no silver bullet – No single metric map can fit companies across industries or even within same industry. EPM framework for an organization has to evolve in phases based on company’s growth, its corporate vision, and the important numbers at different stages etc. or in other words ‘EPM is very personal to an organization’.

EPM, for a BI practitioner, represents a convergence of many things –

  • Domain Understanding
  • Quantitative Play
  • BI Tool capability
  • Closed-Loop BI Architecture
  • Knowledge of proven methodologies like Six Sigma, Balanced Scorecard etc.

will try and explain some of the interesting aspects of an EPM strategy like Metrics Profiling, Metrics Maps etc. in the next few posts. Meanwhile, you can take a look at resources like this one (http://www.dmreview.com/issues/20050501/1026062-1.html) to understand the ‘big picture’ with respect to Enterprise Performance Management.

Thanks for reading!

Posted by Karthikeyan Sankaran
Comments (5)
April 28th, 2008

Comments (5)

Karthikeyan Sankaran - August 13th, 2008

Thanks Laura for your comments. I am well and truly fascinated by the power of Six Sigma in imposing the process rigor that is very much needed for implementing effective BI solutions. Currently, am working with a Six Sigma expert to define a Data Quality methodology for BI systems. I will write about that in my future blogs. Thanks for reading. Have a great day!

Laura Gibbons - August 12th, 2008

The six sigma and BI space is where I spend much of my time as a BI practitioner, mostly from establishing the overlap with my client and helping define the ways and means to define their intersecting union. Great post. I find you very insightful.

Laura Gibbons - August 12th, 2008

The six sigma and BI space is where I spend much of my time as a BI practitioner, mostly from establishing the overlap with my client and helping define the ways and means to define their intersecting union. Great post. I find you very insightful.

Karthikeyan Sankaran - May 8th, 2008

Thanks Anil for your comments. The website you have mentioned looks very interesting at first glance. Will surely explore more of the solutions offered. Please do keep reading.

Anil - May 5th, 2008

EPMs often fail because they resemble the "big-bang" projects of yester-year. In addition, they are often never started due to the high cost of the solutions offered by vendors like SAP, Oracle, etc. The good news is that there is now a solution that can be incrementally implemented and is low-cost (due to its use of open source tools). Check it out here - http://www.breadboardbi.com.

Comments are closed.