Thursday, March 13, 2008

Integrating Information Across Vendor Applications

Whoever wins this week's performance management battle in the ongoing acquisition war, Doug Henschen's blog post (Intelligent Enterprise, 3/10/2008) is a direct reflection of one of the key issues that performance management customers face: While companies like Oracle and SAP buy up vendors and consolidate to strengthen and extend their market offerings and positions, their customers, many of which we share in common with these vendors, are involved in exactly the same process. The untold story from a customer’s perspective is that the mergers and acquisition strategies of vendors create enormous challenges for departments that are tasked with ensuring compliance, stability, and maintainability of critical systems and financial data. These customers have to synthesize duplicate applications and the requirement to integrate systems without disrupting workflow or degrading the integrity of data.

Performance Management systems hold some of the most important data in an organization - and key executives sign their names on dotted lines every quarter guaranteeing that the information is reflected accurately. The value of the information locked into source performance management systems drives the need to elegantly move data and metadata between performance management applications and reporting tools within the larger financial data warehouse.

Perhaps the concept of "unifying the full range of financial and operational processes in a single stack" should be reserved for that Utopian environment where there are no mergers, no acquisitions, no disparate systems, and no legacy applications. For customers in today’s global business environment, a solution that can move data, metadata and security out of these source performance management systems and into the larger financial data warehouse, where the information can be shared among a variety of vendor tools, as needed, is the hill that must be conquered in the vendor wars.

(cross-posted on Intelligent Enterprise)

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