BI = Business Insight (When You Add Process Context)

BI is like following horse and looking at the manure to work out what it ate. Now that is important. But how do you gt around to the front end to see what is being eaten, or better still deciding what is being fed to the horse.

That is transforming BI from a (valuable) reporting tool, to a strategic decision making capability. Now am not sure which you want to be, but the “strategic thingy” sounds more fun , better paid and you end up wading through less manure.

So how do you achieve it? Firstly it is NOT by simply renaming financial reporting and calling it Corporate Performance Management (CPM). What is required to move from Reporting to Management is the process context and the ability to drive changes in a controlled way through the organisation. Which is why BI and BPM are natural partners. But because each often has a narrow focus and target audience they rarely meet.

A while ago I wrote an article called (company doctors/coroners) which talked about the intersection of BI and BPM, where both benefits.The starting point depends on your context. If you are coming from BI, then you will already be measuring various aspects of the organisation. But are they the right ones, remembering that measurement drives behaviour? And if the numbers are going the wrong way, how do they help managers and executives make the right corrective decisions?

If you looking at the world from a BPM perspective, then you will be aiming to discover, map and potentially automate processes. Until that is done it is difficult to decide what to measure.The intersection is CPM. BI and BPM both turn data into information. Together they turn it into insight.Sales performance is down. That is highlighted by a metric or scorecard, which is linked to a process step.

Either you could drill down through the dashboard ot get a better understanding (sale target not met, so drill down to identify territory, then team, then products which are causing the problem. But now look at the metric in the context of the sales process.

Is it an inability to close or being beaten by the competition, or is it earlier in the sales process and it is ti,e taken to produce proposals, or even earlier in the process where the problem is the quality of the qualified leads? And with the processes controlled in a BPM application, they can be improved collaboratively with the sales teams and the improvements locked in.

Sustainable improvement. BI & BPM together enable you to move from reactive lagging metrics to proactive leading metrics and a platform for sustainable and auditable process change.

And now you are smelling of roses not manure.

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Ian Gotts is CEO and Chairman of Nimbus Partners, an established and rapidly growing global software company, headquartered in the UK. He is a very experienced senior executive and serial entrepreneur, with a career spanning 25 years. Ian has co-authored a number of books including “Common Approach, Uncommon Results”, published in English and Chinese and in its second edition, "Why Killer Products Don't Sell" and books covering Cloud computing from the perspective of both the prospective buyer, and the software vendor. Having begun his career in 1983 as an engineer for British Rail, Ian then spent 12 years at Accenture (nee Andersen Consulting) specialising in the project management of major business critical IT projects. During this time, he spent two years as an IT Director, seconded to the Department for Social Security (DSS), with a department of over 500 and a budget responsibility of 40 million pounds.