An annual study surveying companies that have bought business performance management software returned some interesting results. First and foremost is this: They're not happy.
The organization that carried out the study, BPM Partners, is an IT services firm that has no affiliation with any performance management software firms. BPM is defined variously, and often confused with business process management, which is entirely different. Performance management, as defined by BPM Partners, is a combination of business process metrics and systems that help organizations understand and act on their performance.
In other words, performance management means setting up key performance indicators (KPIs), perpetually gauging how you're measuring up against them, and changing your organizational behavior when you stray from meeting the metrics you've set for yourself. BPM Partners' definition goes into a lot more detail when it comes to breaking the elements of performance management into components, but you get the idea.
There's a lot worth reading in BPM Partners' study, which is called the "2005 BPM Pulse Survey," and its accompanying vendor review, entitled "Beyond the Hype 2005." Companies aren't too pleased with their performance management "solutions," as Jeanette Burriesci outlines in a story we're running on Business Intelligence Pipeline this week.
Turns out customers are getting sold too much product, getting aggravated with "difficult" vendors, getting inadequate performance out of the products they've bought, or getting flustered by difficult implementations. Other users confessed that they themselves had set unrealistically high expectations from their BPM software.
The vendor study ranks the software firms according to customer satisfaction. Though BPM Partners estimates the total number of BPM vendors at around 80 companies, only two firms -- Cognos and Hyperion -- offer complete BPM packages as defined by BPM Partners. For customer satisfaction, Cognos edged out Hyperion. The highest rating of all went to Applix, and the lowest to Geac.
One last interesting tidbit from the study: Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulatory compliance challenges are driving a lot of IT investment these days, but those considerations aren't what push most companies into performance management. Respondents to the BPM Partners study most frequently cited "issues with current systems" (49 percent) as the impetus behind their performance management deployments. The "need to stay competitive" was cited by 46 percent of those taking part in the study.