The top reason for implementing a business performance management (BPM) solution is to improve decision making in the organization, according to “Business Performance Management,” a new report released today by META Group, Inc. Gaining efficiency in the financial planning/reporting process and enhancing allocation of company resources rounded out the top three reasons most cited by respondents.

"The increased interest in BPM is primarily due to the rapidly changing economy and new public accounting regulations intended to provide greater transparency and visibility. These regulations have put tremendous pressure on organizations to provide better visibility and accountability in enterprise financial results," says John Van Decker, META Group vice president, Technology Research Services. "BPM initiatives typically begin with a desire to move from Excel in an attempt to support a more centralized, dynamic and active planning process within an organization. They often expand to cover reporting and metrics management and, when applicable, financial consolidations."

The survey found that organizations evaluated BPM solutions from leading ERP vendors, business intelligence (BI) vendors, and financial analytics vendors. Respondents were closely divided between best-of-breed and ERP solutions and showed no preference for one or the other. Other key findings include:

  • Only 15 percent of respondents said their organizations will do nothing with respect to BPM in the next 18 months.
  • The idea of integrating the components of BPM into one single system appeals to most respondents. However, BPM initiatives will continue to evolve through incremental efforts.
  • There is significant confusion about the BPM vendor landscape. Users have difficulty distinguishing between BPM solution providers and generalists not typically considered vendors of BPM solutions.
  • Spreadsheets are tightly woven throughout enterprise BPM efforts due to their flexibility, portability and heavy legacy use — Excel spreadsheets are the most commonly used tool for performing BPM activity.
  • Larger organizations are the most advanced in the use of sophisticated analytics tools and budget the largest amounts for future analytics investments.

"While many user organizations have jumped on the Sarbanes-Oxley and BPM bandwagon, most continue to wonder what BPM means to them and what they should do specifically about it," said John Luc Alarcon, senior vice president and director, Data Services and Published Research. "This report brings clarity and valuable insight into the reality of current and future BPM initiatives. It enables business and IT decision makers to learn from the experiences and practices of 450 organizations that have already gone or are currently going down this path."

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