Business Objects announced BusinessObjects Performance Manager. This new product represents the second phase of the company's enterprise performance management (EPM) strategy. Unlike other products on the market, Performance Manager goes beyond basic dashboarding to provide advanced goal management and scorecarding capabilities as well as guided analysis of metrics.

Enterprise performance management is one of today's most visible management trends, enabling organizations to use reporting and analysis of metrics and key performance indicators to create more efficient enterprises. In January 2003, Business Objects launched the first phase of its EPM strategy, which included: the release of BusinessObjects Dashboard Manager, the Business Objects Open Financial Applications Initiative, and a new relationship with A.T. Kearney. Performance Manager is part of what was formerly code-named Project Sundance, and allows companies to leverage goal definition and management to close the loop between corporate strategy, metrics, and daily tactical performance.

Performance Manager helps organizations respond to changing business conditions through an easy-to-use goal management interface. Performance Manager provides a wizard-driven workflow environment for defining, modifying, and distributing goals based on an employee's role. For example, users can set tolerance levels, giving an accepted margin on the desired target. They can also assign ownership to individuals or groups, to identify those responsible for particular goals.

Performance Manager provides out-of-the-box, role-based scorecarding functionality. Whereas traditional scorecards broadly distribute goals, with Performance Manager organizations can push goals to individuals in a much more focused way. With trend and stoplight indicators, users can receive at-a- glance updates on the status of metrics, easily see their daily performance relative to operational goals and monitor how their performance affects their organization's strategies.

This scorecard interface enables users to sort goals in categories most relevant to them, for example by status or by particular corporate strategy, and allows users to focus their analysis on the most critical issues. In addition, because Performance Manager is part of BusinessObjects Application Foundation, users can drill into additional levels of detail using advanced analytics such as segmentation, predictive analysis, and statistical process control (SPC), as well as packaged analytics within BusinessObjects Analytics, a suite of analytic applications.

Performance Manager includes interactive strategy maps, which display the relationship between objectives and how these objectives support the overall business strategy. Users can drill into the underlying goals and metrics to better understand the drivers for achieving the objective. Strategy maps help organizations communicate consistent understanding of the "big picture" and are a key component of the Balanced Scorecard methodology.

Performance Manager enables organizations to leverage corporate knowledge to analyze performance issues and make decisions, using guided analysis and collaborative discussion threads. Next steps and suggested workflow options guide users through the analysis of key performance indicators, from the first step of reading and analyzing a report, to analysis of the underlying business metrics. In addition, the discussion thread features connect employees from across the enterprise and enable true group analysis and decision making.

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