Enterprise Performance Management: I Can See For Miles

Like the narrator of the song "I Can See for Miles," organizations that implement enterprise performance management solutions have a vision of their operations that extends beyond their corporate horizon.


Like the narrator of the song I Can See for Miles, organizations that implement enterprise performance management solutions have a vision of their operations that extends beyond their corporate horizon.

New technologies, intricate management systems and the birth of the flexible enterprise have created paths to new efficiencies and productivity gains at an incredible rate. However, despite the significant investments in and extensive implementations of enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, that one killer application designed to do everything and provide a clear view of the entire organization has never quite materialized. In fact, the complexity of these multi-faceted ERP solutions has brought about an even greater need to cut through the ever-growing layers of information. Visibility is key, but rapid insight into the overall business situation is vital.

There is no shortage of data. But data alone doesn't tell management anything about its operation. The problem for management within many organizations is the inability to understand what it is that is driving performance. Massive information technology investments and business transformation measures enable organizations to process their transactions faster and easier than ever before. Unfortunately, only after considerable time and expense do many organizations `realize what they actually needed was not a faster way to process their same transactions, but a better way to see their business. This visibility across the entire supply chain is the single-most-pressing concern among management responsible for driving operational excellence and profitability throughout their companies. To drive performance, management needs to see and understand everything that is affecting its operational and financial success, and everything affecting its ability to meet customer expectations not only within the organization, but also across the entire supply chain.

Enterprise performance management (EPM) blends a new approach to managing with an underlying technology to support it. How does it work? The answer itself is in the framework that creatively applies the technology to the situation. The goal is to determine if the right things are being measured, and then measure those things quickly, accurately and consistently. Since EPM is not a one-solution-fits-all approach, the framework applies the technology to the specific needs of the organization, ensuring that the organization will find value in the final solution. The relatively low cost of implementing and owning EPM solutions, in addition to their quick return on investment, is making them ever more attractive.

Enabling Understanding, Not Repetition

ERP applications were originally designed to process transactions, not enable the full view of business variables, such as the impact that partners or vendors are having upon their end customers. Although the theory of supply chain management has promised to streamline and improve operations while clearly measuring overall performance, management still suffers from the inability to see into and across the entire supply chain in any cohesive manner.

Moreover, typical ERP implementations put the entire organization on hold while, month after month, management eagerly awaits its new solution. After the implementation is completed, management will usually find a lot of new features behind a faster and easier way to process the same transactions. Overall, performance does not automatically make that leap to the expected next level.

EPM, on the other hand, can achieve just this.

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