To improve something, you must measure it periodically and track changes over time. Although many business people have understood this for a long time (for centuries, actually), recent years have seen numerous attempts at codifying this thought into a methodology. Leading business administration journals are littered with articles about what is often called "business performance management" (BPM). Judging by the articles, books, seminars and consulting devoted to BPM, it is possibly the most quickly proliferating business practice today.

The measurement tasks of BPM lend themselves readily to software automation and apply well to e-business, where conducting business electronically means that the measurements are easily captured. Software for "electronic business performance management" (e-BPM) can be implemented in a variety of ways. It ranges from simple metrics for reporting through an executive dashboard, to the extreme rigor and complexity of the balanced scorecard, to the pragmatic middle ground of domain-specific metrics (arranged hierarchically so they roll up into key performance indicators) that enable the monitoring, analysis and management of a business.

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