Author's Note: This is another installment in a continuing series on corporate performance management. Parts 1 and 2 were featured in the December 2003 and February 2004 issues of DM Review, respectively.

There are many different steps that can be taken to move a company toward a corporate performance management (CPM) solution. Most companies believe that once they have established and communicated performance objectives, defined key business performance indicators, and chosen to design and deploy a graphical interface for a performance scorecard or digital dashboard, they are well down the road to delivering CPM. This article will examine the idea that many of these early, exploratory efforts into CPM will turn into clear and considerable failures unless what lies beneath the CPM solution is a consistent and integrated data architecture. This article puts forth the premise that CPM's underlying business intelligence (BI) systems must be predictable. Unlike the plot of a recent movie of the same name, the data architecture that lies beneath a CPM initiative will be ineffective if it is full of suspense and surprises. What worked at the movie box office won't work for CPM. Let's examine why.

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