Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thoughts from the Gartner BI Summit

Only marginally into the BI Summit, but have already had the realization that the Performance Management sessions will be under-attended. Business Intelligence is the domain of IT, but Performance Management is in the hands of the business. Corporate Performance Management, the term which Gartner has chosen to use to refer to those financial applications that are the mainstream of corporate America i.e. planning, budgeting, forecasting, consolidation and financial reporting, is of little interest to the mainly IT audience here in DC.

An interesting observation. Applications that are tailored to meet the business, but have proscribed functions are within the domain of the business, but the tools used for reporting and dashboarding are in the hands of IT. Business Process Management by definition then, should be in the hands of the business; but it is not.

So the conundrum is in where the attention is focused. If there is extensive on-going development or a relational footprint to the applications or tools it comes under the dominion of IT. If it appears as if the majority of the effort in deployment is in the installation and initial implementation then it is under the business' hands. That doesn't make sense to me.

Truly the answer should be one of a collaborative effort where there is someone technical assigned to meet the needs of the business to help them craft the solution that best meets their strategic needs. Finance IT was born for exactly this reason. This role bridges the gap or divide between the implementation of the application and the eventual use and refinement of the implementation AND the future sculpting of the application to keep it in line with the needs of the business. This is the true role of innovation where a blend of fact and function meet the evolving needs of a dynamic business.

Somehow that's lost here at the Gartner event. But as I said, we are only half a day into it - maybe it will resolve itself to be more on topic and dynamic. I should point out that I think Gartner does see the evolution towards a Performance Management driven business culture, but they also say we are two (yikes!) years away from it.

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