Business factors such as profit optimization, better business planning and improved operational visibility are weighing in as key factors along with corporate governance in driving business performance initiatives, according to a poll released today by the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum. 70 percent of respondents have also moved beyond financial data to incorporate marketing and customer information in performance assessment, suggesting a more holistic and comprehensive approach. These findings are part of an in- depth poll of the members of the BPM Forum (http://www.bpmforum.org/), a new organization including more than 230 leading business executives and thought leaders launched in July to address the growing challenge of performance management, corporate accountability and compliance in global enterprises.

"Our members are telling us that their companies need better business performance management, not only to comply with stricter corporate governance concerns, but more importantly to drive fundamental bottom-line business improvements and performance visibility within their organizations," said Jim Bramante, BPM Forum advisory board member and global leader of the financial management practice at IBM Business Consulting Services. "These findings are consistent with a recent IBM CFO poll that points to the need for a holistic approach to BPM in order to drive both compliance and improved business results."

The survey results point to a shifting landscape in business performance management, in which performance accountability is increasingly entrenched in the executive suite. 95 percent of respondents are somewhat or extremely sensitized to the need for better business performance management, and 76 percent look to the president, CEO or CFO for BPM mandates.

These executives rate better business planning (74 percent), improving visibility (69 percent), budgeting and forecasting (58 percent) and business intelligence (36 percent) as the most important ways that business performance management is impacting their organization – rating higher than compliance (13 percent).

The Sarbanes-Oxley act is still a factor among members, however. 73 percent of respondents said they are somewhat or very concerned as a result of Sarbanes-Oxley about the processes, tools and methodologies used by management to track performance. While this figure is lower than in a BPM Forum poll released in July 2003 of corporate board directors, in which 85 percent were concerned when asked the same question, compliance continues to weigh in with business executives.

When asked about the major challenges to the deployment of BPM solutions, members highlighted insufficient processes (59 percent) and data collection systems (51 percent), along with the cultural issues around such changes (49 percent) as the most important impediments to success.

These findings and others are part of a comprehensive survey report available from the BPM Forum at http://www.bpmforum.org/.

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