CATEGORY: Analytic Applications and Performance Management
REVIEWER: John P. Monczewski, manager of balanced scorecard and operational reporting for Booz Allen Hamilton.
BACKGROUND: Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Booz Allen Hamilton is a global leader in management and technology consulting, providing services to major international corporations and government clients. With 1,000 staff worldwide, the organization's 2001/02 revenues are $2.1 billion. Booz Allen Hamilton's organizational structure includes a 700-employee GO-Team, the service organization behind Booz Allen's consulting business, an amalgam of typical support functions within a conventional corporate structure.
PLATFORMS: NT Servers. The application runs on Oracle database, using Tomcat as the Web server.
PROBLEM SOLVED: The mission of the Global Operations Team (GO-Team) is to provide a world-class infrastructure that is aligned with the business strategy, focused on strategic goals versus operational processes, generating measurable and reportable data, and providing a competitive advantage through focus. Additionally, it will create a unified, well-coordinated, well-led, responsive team; meet all the long-term infrastructure needs of our clients; leverage scale, capabilities and tools firm-wide; and reduce cost to the business. The Hyperion Performance Scorecard was first introduced to the GO-Team in 2000, when Sam Strickland (chief administrative officer) recognized that this could prove a robust framework for ensuring the GO-Team would continue to provide excellent services to the consultancy business during a period of constant growth. The entire Booz Allen Hamilton business was growing substantially and had experienced double- digit growth during the 1990s. Strickland's goal was to implement a focus on operational improvements, efficiencies of scale and ROI on new systems to handle the volume growth, rather than add more staff. Also, Strickland wanted to ensure that the GO-Team was building the infrastructure base to handle the future needs of client service teams.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We have been using Hyperion Performance Scorecard for almost two years. We have been able to migrate from cumbersome manual reporting of information and a labor-intensive effort to distribute monthly results to a Web-based system that allows people to review their results over the Web. In the future, we look forward to the advanced alerting capabilities that the software will offer including notifying managers of uncollected/reported results for a particular period.
STRENGTHS: One of the main strengths is the vendor's commitment to improve the product based on customer feedback. We have witnessed how the vendor listens to what the customer wants and needs to make this product successful in the business world. Additional strengths include: functionality of strategy and accountability maps, intuitive navigation from an end user's perspective and the ability to integrate additional software to create customized reporting and Web deployment.
WEAKNESSES: In some cases, it appears that the vendor was over optimistic in their product development milestones and objectives. Some of the setup is very manual- intensive, and might be acceptable of a small application, but for a large rollout, the manual effort needs to be addressed. Instead of offering so many features and functions, we would have preferred to see more focus on the basic application.
SELECTION CRITERIA: In our initial search for an automated balanced scorecard solution, we considered: Balanced Scorecard Collaborative certification, a structured and proven approach for implementation, development of corporate and personal scorecards, Web-based software with alerting capabilities, comprehensive notes features to encourage facilitation, and strategy maps and accountability maps to communicate strategy. We believe that Hyperion has a strong product in this market and that they are customer- and future-focused.
DELIVERABLES: For us, the product produces Web-based reports showing results against strategic objectives. This information is available in table formats or multiple graphical displays. The product also allows for the generation of an Essbase cube from which we can generate additional customized reports.
VENDOR SUPPORT: The vendor has provided excellent support pre- and post- implementation. Any issue is addressed quickly and escalated if necessary.
DOCUMENTATION: The vendor supplies online documentation for the administrator, designer and user. I believe the documentation is more than adequate to allow someone to design and use the application.
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