It is fair to say that standards are lacking in business performance management (BPM), exacerbated by the fact that there is not only disagreement over what BPM is, but even what it's called. We've recently heard a vendor say that BPM doesn't have to include planning, a view that seems patently wrong to us (how do you assess performance if you cannot compare it to a plan of your expected projections?). Some media Web sites are referring to performance management and process management interchangeably, which confuses getting your internal process workflow documented and selecting the optimal key performance indicators to keep your organization aligned and on track. We've even seen two articles in the same magazine refer to BPM by different initials (BPM, CPM and EPM seem to be the most common). This lack of clarity in this burgeoning category of business performance management is felt by many of your peers, several of the vendors and even service companies that implement BPM for a living.

What does the current absence of standards mean to you? In general, there are serious risks for a company that implements BPM in blissful ignorance of developing standards. Veering outside what will become the mainstream is dangerous; the risk increases that you could be left abandoned without anyone to turn to for support. Enacting practices and approaches used at other companies will make it easier down the road to hire employees and get them to easily understand your overall BPM architecture because they've seen it before.

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