In recent months, business and IT professionals have been inundated with articles about corporate performance management (CPM) and its promises of improved productivity, operational efficiency and competitive prowess. As a consultant dedicated to helping companies develop and implement CPM solutions, it occurs to me that an early and common roadblock to successful CPM efforts is the absence of an assessment of the company's CPM proficiency. The ability of a company to assess its CPM proficiency level and address any deficiencies in key components is a critical success factor to realizing the compelling promises of any CPM solution.

All too often, a company will deploy an executive dashboard or implement a business intelligence (BI) solution for CPM only to end up with the realization they have discovered more unanswered questions than they had when they started. Although the company may have gained insight into some processes, the CPM solution doesn't provide the information the company thought would help them manage critical components of business performance. It is not uncommon to hear from companies that their CPM efforts have been plagued by false starts, confusion or capabilities that fall well short of management expectations. The CPM Proficiency Model, introduced later in this article, is the result of my attempts to understand and classify, or categorize, the root causes of failure in these companies, and to help other companies use these lessons learned to improve their opportunity for success.

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