Performance management is a very hot button in the realm of Business Intelligence, marketed today under various monikers including Enterprise Performance Management (EPM); Corporate Performance Management (CPM); and Business Performance Management (BPM), all of which refer to roughly the same thing: the strategic and tactical use of data to improve business performance. In the BI world, BPM, CPM or EPM -as it is sold - is largely about measurement: defining what to measure, how to measure and present it, and how to put information to use.

But let's look a little closer. The U.S. Navy defines performance management as "the process of defining a mission and desired outcomes, setting performance standards, linking budget to performance, reporting results, and holding public officials accountable for results." All of the things just described fall into carefully documented steps and controls aimed toward a desirable outcome. Just as the Navy calls performance management a "process," EPM as we'll call it is on a parallel trajectory with business process management. Past a certain point, the two are inseparable.

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