It seems to me that there are two different perspectives for the use of performance management software (dashboards and such). There are the folks who really think deeply about performance management (like my friend Gary Cokins who just passed 100 monthly columns on Information Management) and those who seem to only care about performance monitoring.
Performance monitoring is by far the easier path. To monitor performance, it is sufficient to simply identify the KPIs, metrics and measures that matter to your business and put them on a dashboard or report. Systems are instrumented, data is collected and some thought is given to how best to display the data to make it clear what the organization’s performance has been or currently is. Many such systems also allow users to define “good” or “acceptable” performance and then send alerts when something is out of bounds.
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