Gary Cokins

Gary Cokins is the founder of Analytics-Based Performance Management LLC, an advisory firm. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker and author in advanced cost management and performance improvement systems previously a principal consultant with SAS. You can contact him at For more of Cokins' unique look at the world, visit his website at

Recent Stories From this Author

Analytics: Like a Mosquito in a Nudist Colony
January 6, 2017 I routinely see opportunities for analysis in my daily life. Perhaps I was born with DNA to constantly observe and collect...

Reflections on 12 Years of Writing Information-Management Articles
December 8, 2016 For this anniversary article I have chosen to share some reflections on what I have observed during my 12 years of writing...

The CFO’s Expanding Quantitative Role – Reality or Delusion?
November 1, 2016 My opinion is the CFO function is about to enter a golden age of business analytics and managerial accounting. But we need...

Enterprise Performance Management from C-Suite Future Diaries
October 11, 2016 Seven years from now, here are the personal diary entries of the executives of a fictitious corporation reflecting on their...

Why Is Solitude the Secret to Enterprise Performance Management (EPM)?
September 2, 2016 Among the reasons EPM/CPM will remain hot are computing power, “big data”, and software that is now available to access more...

A Circle of Blame for Failure
August 3, 2016 Our company’s quarterly financial results were just announced. Our loss was unexpectedly double last quarter’s loss, and we...

Enterprise Performance Management as a ‘West Side Story’
July 11, 2016 Successful EPM/CPM methods require good design to provide cost and profit margin reporting and analysis, strategy management,...

My Crystal Ball Predictions about Uses for Information
June 1, 2016 My belief is that a good way to view what the future holds for innovations with information technology is to see it from the...

A Poorly Performing Company's Tour Guide
May 2, 2016 Welcome to Mesdup Corporation. Here is a tour about our company, who we are, and our culture.

Business Analytics Is A Big Sham and Over-Rated!
April 1, 2016 Using analytics gives false hope that it can improve an organization’s performance, solve problems, support better decision...

Using Analytics to Better Hear the Strategy Shout from Your Employees
March 1, 2016 If employees and managers do not understand the executive team’s strategy, then how do we expect them to understand what they...

The Many IT Rooms of the Organization Mansion
February 2, 2016 In an EPM/CPM mansion, each room is further provided information and analysis tools, heavy with predictive analysis, so its...

Rules for Assuring an Organization’s Poor Performance
January 5, 2016 I appeal to organizations to cease their hesitation and skepticism and embrace the benefits of enterprise and corporate...

The Balanced Scorecard – A Kite with a Broken String
December 3, 2015 Any strategic measurement system that fails to start with a strategy map and/or reports measures in isolation is like a kite...

Are Analysts Primitive Homo Analysticus?
November 2, 2015 Just as with humankind there are overlap periods where primitive statisticians co-exist with more sophisticated ones with more...

Analytics and Big Data: The Skeptics vs. the Enthusiasts
October 13, 2015 A closer look at the advocates and the naysayers of business analytics -- and what's at stake for both parties.

How Many Types of KPIs Are There?
September 8, 2015 Finally, some guidance for your scorecards and dashboards. Here are five areas that potentially deserve your attention.

Business Analytics: Opposition or Proposition?
July 22, 2015 What position for analytics will come out ahead -- opposition or proposition? Rejection or acceptance? This is more than a...

Analytics and Big Data – Press Pause on the Stairmaster
July 1, 2015 Analytics and big data is changing today's business pyramid. To succeed, executives seated at the top need to focus on people...

Pop Quiz: BI and Enterprise Performance Management
June 3, 2015 A closer look at the terms, definitions and priorities that can put you at the head of the business intelligence class.

Intelligent People but Bad Choices? Try Using Analytics
May 4, 2015 The best leaders and executives are armed with the best questions and a culture for analytics. Here's why.

Exceptional EPM/CPM Systems are an Exception
April 1, 2015 Follow these six main groupings of EPM/CPM methods -- in an integrated way -- to truly be exceptional.

The Future of Information: Revealed
March 3, 2015 From DNA testing to real-time sports analysis, here's how information management will impact individuals.

Cowboy Accountants: The Lawless Frontier
February 3, 2015 Fortunately, professional accounting institutes are beginning to address the problem.

Why Once-Successful Companies Fail
January 6, 2015 And how predictive analytics -- plus a culture of analytics -- can keep your business going strong.

How EPM Is Similar to Football
December 11, 2014 Yes, the sport is similar to the way CXOs and managers use Big Data solutions to optimize business performance. Here's how.

Memo to Millennials: Raise Your Voices (And Master Analytics)
November 7, 2014 Some elders believe Millennials are spoiled and have been allowed too much to “have it their own way.” I say nonsense to this...

CFOs – Vanguards or Villains?
October 2, 2014 The impediment preventing CFOs from being more progressive is that they do not sufficiently understand the decision-making...

Why We Like Shiny New Toys
September 4, 2014 Are the management innovations that organizations are being exposed to and experimenting with fads or something that will more...

Should You Always Obey Orders from Your Executives?
August 7, 2014 This column is intended to inspire those prefer to do what you believe is correct rather than what is demanded of you.

Leadership with Business Analytics – Nature or Nurture?
July 11, 2014 Three primary success factors for effective leaders

C-Suite Tweets about Profit Performance
June 4, 2014 An executive team’s hypothetical exchange of tweets as their quarterly financial results are about to be reported

How Marketing and Finance Think Differently
May 1, 2014 A fictitious story about the wide perception gap and personality differences between the function of the chief marketing...

Analytics: Needing to Know or Wanting to Know?
April 9, 2014 Business intelligence can satisfy needs, but analytics can tell you what you want to know

Do You See Prison Bars or the Stars?
March 5, 2014 The importance of change management in analytics and enterprise performance management programs

Are Analytics Shifting Power from Executives to Employees?
February 6, 2014 Savvy executives are realizing they must now delegate and distribute decision rights deeper into their organization to empower...

Business Analytics and Multi-Wavelength Astronomy
January 1, 2014 Organizations with a culture of analytics and desire to improve performance will leverage analytics to solve problems and...

Provocative Questions for Analytics to Answer
December 4, 2013 Given that these analytical capabilities are becoming commonplace, there is a broad range of problems and opportunities that...

The Many Rooms of the Business Analytics Mansion
November 6, 2013 An organization’s analytics-based enterprise performance management mansion has many rooms.

We Were Once That Kid: Curious and Analytical
October 2, 2013 What advice would you offer your childhood self that would lead to a more fulfilling career and job prospects than you have now?

Is Embracing Analytics a Rush to Judgment?
September 4, 2013 One should wonder if embracing analytics is the elusive cure-all magic potion or if it should be approached with caution

Who Do You Trust?
July 31, 2013 IT, analytics and big data can play a critical role in making our lives better

What Words Reveal about Analytics and Performance Management
July 3, 2013 What trends have developed over the past century for enterprise and corporate performance management methods and business...

Do you Really Need to Embrace Analytics?
May 15, 2013 Should you worry if you’re late to the analytics party or is it not an urgent need?

Big Data versus Big Value
April 24, 2013 It is not just big data, but rather the big value that can be created by converting data into meaningful and relevant...

What Will Be Your Life’s "Act 3"?
March 12, 2013 In the three-act play about your life, do your talents fit your role? Skilled employees, especially in information...

It’s the Wild West for Today’s Accountants
February 11, 2013 There is a lawless frontier of internal managerial accounting used for internal analysis and decision-making

Historians versus Futurists – Who is More Valuable?
January 3, 2013 This question is relevant for today’s organizations because many enterprises fail to successfully execute their executive...

How are IT and Performance Management Similar to Football?
December 6, 2012 As we approach football championship games, I am pondering how this sport is similar to the way a CIO’s IT department...

The Soft Stuff is the Hard Stuff
November 1, 2012 We like research studies and analytics to gain insights and foresights, as well as to solve problems and pursue opportunities....

When IT Services are Free, Guess the Consequences
October 4, 2012 If IT does not internally “charge back” its expenses or provide “show back” to its users for its services,...

The Analytics Carnival
August 1, 2012 Ever notice how the personalities and dispositions of carnival performers often resemble coworkers in an organization? They...

Complicated or Complex? Analytics Treats Them Differently
July 3, 2012 To make better decisions, the modeling and analytics need to be adaptive and flexible. They need to have self-learning...

Now is The Time to Create a Culture for Analytics
June 6, 2012 The old organizational model for decision-making is broken. Companies can no longer make decisions based on gut feeling,...

Tried and Died, One and Done: What to Do With Failure
May 3, 2012 Don’t believe that you need to avoid failure; you have to accept risk when taking on improvement projects

Numbers Speak for Themselves, but Who is Listening?
April 2, 2012 The truth in data is always there. One just has to seek it

A TV Game Show for IT and Analysts
February 29, 2012 Why not have a public platform for analysts and IT specialists to show off their data investigation and discovery skills?

Analysts with Superpowers
February 16, 2012 With today’s predictive analytics software, in many cases analysts can already get a reasonably accurate sense of the...

Unpredictability and Uncertainty versus Stability
January 4, 2012 Chinese dynasties lasted centuries. Investments in companies by Silicon Valley venture capitalists may last only months

The Impact of Transformational Change on IT
November 30, 2011 Both IT and its users will need to collaborate and compromise by better understanding and appreciating each other’s...

Is Solitude the Secret to Applying Analytics?
November 2, 2011 Applying analytics is here to stay. But what is needed to effectively apply analytics, aside from the obvious enablers like...

How to Get the Most from Business Analytics
October 19, 2011 Better leadership and insights - and their resulting decisions - will come from analytical competency

Beethoven and Analytics-Based Performance Management
September 7, 2011 Are we now at a point where the implementation of analytics-based performance management’s suite of integrated...

There’s a New Anti-Analytics CEO Sheriff in Town
August 3, 2011 Executives new and old will need analytics to execute the strategy and, because a strategy is dynamic and never constant, to...

Success with Analytics: It’s All in the Wrist
July 6, 2011 What factor enables one organization in the same industry or government sector as another to get more value from applying...

Three Types of Executives in Performance Management
June 1, 2011 An organization cannot consider embracing analytics-based performance management methodologies without the involvement of its...

An Analytics Call, Over the IT and User Wall
May 5, 2011 Data that works freely and provides results requires mutual support

The Urgent Crowds Out the Important
April 6, 2011 Organizations that achieve competency with business analytics are able to sustain a long-term competitive advantage. But late...

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Career
March 3, 2011 In business and commerce, ultimately a key lesson is caring about the needs of others – customers, co-workers, partners,...

A Letter to Future Employees: Embrace Analytics
February 3, 2011 Application of analytics to gain insights and solve problems is an emerging trend in all fields with endless possibilities

A Hunger for Risk
January 6, 2011 Risk appetite is the amount of risk an organization is willing to absorb to generate the returns it expects to gain

Geeks are Chic
December 2, 2010 Once the domain of statistical geeks, the application of analytical methods is becoming mainstream

Who are the Animals of Analytics-Based Performance Management?
November 4, 2010 Organizations that maintain balanced and rational thinking will continuously learn and improve the same way that animal...

Performance Management as a ‘West Side Story’
October 7, 2010 Successful performance management is not about software but rather its model designs for each performance management...

Three Approaches to Life and How They Influence Your Career
September 1, 2010 The best outcomes for IT systems begin with creative ideas from divergent thinking

Promoting Equality in the Marketplace of Ideas
August 5, 2010 User generated content inspires a shift in power and influence. How might it be applied to enterprise performance management?

Pop Quiz (and You Thought School Was Out for the Summer)
June 29, 2010 Test your performance management, business intelligence and analytics knowledge

More Spocky, Less Rocky
June 3, 2010 Gary Cokin's would prefer to have an organization with Star Trek’s Spock-like logic and analytical skills rather than one...

What Organizations Can Learn From a Hollywood Star
May 6, 2010 Analytics provides the insight you need to become an analytical competitor and to be ready for opportunities that come your way

From Silence to Sound – A Peril to Your Career
April 1, 2010 Is your success at risk because you or your colleagues are reluctant to adopt better managerial improvement methods?...

Circle of Blame
March 4, 2010 Gary Cokins presents a fictitious story with 11 real lessons to take to the bank

The Real World Versus MBA Textbooks
February 3, 2010 Understanding how to influence, persuade and educate people is arguably more critical to transform an organization than...

The Time Capsule: Looking Back at Your Job 50 Years From Now
January 7, 2010 The year is 2060 and today our company’s time capsule, sealed back in the dark days of late 2009, was finally opened

True Confession: My Struggle with Two Loves
December 10, 2009 When I witness an effectively working component of a performance management system, it takes my breath away

Why Will Analytics Be the Next Competitive Edge?
November 12, 2009 Once a “nice-to-have,” applying analytics is now mission-critical

Baseball + Analytics = Improved Performance
October 9, 2009 How does an organization create a culture of metrics? One example of organizations that have done so is the baseball community

Now, You Are the CEO
September 4, 2009 Imagine that you are now the CEO of your organziation. Further imagine that it is underperforming. What are you going to do?...

Can Performance Management Cause Author Writer’s Block?
August 5, 2009 Ever had writer’s block? Fortunately, when I wrote my sixth and most recent book, I did not, but imagine if I did

Can Accountants Grow the Beans Too?
July 10, 2009 The widening gap between what accountants report and what decision-makers need involves the shift from analyzing descriptive...

What Can Historical Figures Teach Us About Performance Management?
June 5, 2009 Strong character traits in performance management advocates are central to advancing the adoption and integration of...

What Is Being Balanced in the Balanced Scorecard?
May 12, 2009 There is still little consensus as to what a balanced scorecard is

Is Performance Management Art, Craft or Science?
March 31, 2009 For today’s organizations implementing the various component methodologies of the performance management framework, how...

Why is Modeling Foundational to Performance Management?
March 3, 2009 The lack of consensus about what enterprise performance management is will continue for a long time. Fortunately, many are...

Help Desk: A User’s Guide to Performance Management
February 4, 2009 Imagine an organization with a chief performance officer and a department help desk. Here are some questions that might be...

Increased Regulatory Governance - Why Not Also for Management Information?
January 2, 2009 Global leaders are moving to apply new laws, governance and government regulation to place reigns on unbridled capitalism.

What is the Best Organizational Chart for Performance Management?
December 3, 2008 Dutch business executives and government administrators are digesting the findings of a recent study addressing how to best...

Can Performance Management Software Out Perform Humans at Multitasking?
November 5, 2008 Science is proving that people overestimate how well they can multitask. Can enterprise performance management accomplish what...

A "Dear CEO" Advice Column
October 1, 2008 Self-help books and newspaper advice columns, such as Ann Landers’ famous column, are known for issues involving...

Which Performance Management Process or Loop Yields the Most?
September 3, 2008 What is the correct scope and scale to describe an organization’s ideal performance management framework?

Has Lean Management Gone Too Far by Defining Its Own Accounting?
July 30, 2008 The management accounting community is wrestling with controversy - conflicts and ambiguities caused by competing forms of...

If Enterprise Performance Management Is a Machine, Are Its Workers Robots or Humans?
July 2, 2008 It would be myopic to omit HCM from inclusion in the performance management portfolio of methodologies. People matter.

Performance Management from Future Diaries
June 5, 2008 From the year 2015, here are fictitious diary entries from executives reflecting on their experience implementing a...

Why Do Capital Market Organizations Underachieve their Planned ROI?
May 1, 2008 As the capital market firms influence their acquired companies to adopt PM methodologies, their desired ROI targets will be...

How are Balanced Scorecards and Dashboards Different?
April 3, 2008 The purpose of KPIs should be to accelerate the implementation of an organization’s scorecard/dashboard system.

When Performance Management Becomes Surgery
March 5, 2008 Change is a given. Most of us accept that we have little control of forces and pressures that impact our organizations....

Green or Greedy? Environmental Performance Management
January 31, 2008 I am increasingly paying attention to the term “triple bottom line” - profits, people and planet - for environmental...

Interview with a CEO You Might Want to Work For
January 3, 2008 Imagine that I am a journalist. How would you enjoy working for an organization whose leader answered my interview questions...

A Magic Wand to Manage Enterprise Performance
December 6, 2007 How would you apply a magic wand to the managers of your organization?

Rules for Assuring Poor Performance
November 1, 2007 Are you undermining your organization's success?

Relying Too Much on Computers
October 16, 2007 Business decisions are not all yes or no or approve or reject - there are ranges and degrees

How Much Should We Rely on a Bloodless Computer for Decisions?
October 4, 2007

The Tone at the Top's Influence on Performance Management
September 6, 2007

Which Countries are Further Ahead in Applying Performance Management?
August 2, 2007

If Only Internal Financial Transparency Were as Good as the U.S. Government's SEC Laws
July 5, 2007

Do IT Specialists Care About Performance Management?
May 31, 2007

How Can You Make Performance Management Fun?
May 3, 2007

Will Private Equity Funds Turbocharge Applying Performance Management?
April 5, 2007

Who is to Blame or Get Credit - Your Management or Your Organization's Culture?
March 2, 2007

How Profitable to Us is Each Customer Today ... and Tomorrow?
February 1, 2007

Put Your Money Where Your Strategy Is
January 4, 2007 Successful execution of a defined strategy is a hallmark of a profitable company.

Why the High Interest in Performance Management Now?
December 1, 2006

The Many Rooms of the Organization Mansion
November 2, 2006

Do Accountants Lead or Mislead?
October 5, 2006

The Paradox of Boasting About Success with Failing Performance
August 31, 2006

What Will Be the Next New Management Breakthrough?
August 3, 2006

Where Do You Begin Implementing Performance Management?
July 6, 2006

What's Broken about Budgeting?
June 1, 2006

Accountability and Incentives for Rewards: How Disconnected are They?
May 4, 2006

How do Business Intelligence and Performance Management Fit Together?
April 6, 2006

Are Economists Really Superior to Accountants?
March 2, 2006

Is Your Organization Hitting a Wall or Breaking Through It?
February 2, 2006

From Working for the Boss to Working for a More Demanding Overlord: The Customer
January 5, 2006

Distinguishing Between Signal and Noise - KPIs or PIs
December 2, 2005 The balanced scorecard will experience speed bumps before organizations recognize how to leverage its full power.

The Future: Risk-Based Performance Management?
November 3, 2005

Confusion with Managerial Accounting
October 6, 2005

Achieving the Right Value Balance
September 1, 2005

The Promise and Perils of the Balanced Scorecard
August 4, 2005

Can Performance Management Accomplish What Einstein Could Not?
June 30, 2005

The First Barrier to Performance Management: How Do We Get Started?
June 2, 2005

The Tipping Point for Performance Management
May 5, 2005

Corporate Performance Management - Myth or Reality?
March 31, 2005

Common Misunderstandings about Performance Management
February 3, 2005

Performance Management: Integrating a Suite of Proven Methodologies
November 5, 2004 This is an excerpt from the recently released book, Performance Management: Finding the Missing Piece (to Close the...

Activity-Based Costing and Performance-Measure Weighted Scorecards
April 16, 2002 By combining today’s low-maintenance activity-based cost management systems with scorecarding, organizations can...

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