Performance managers seek consensus

Major enterprise software vendors have formed a coalition to rationalise customer expectations of analytics software offerings and bring order to the proliferation of unrestrained three letter acronyms.

Dubbed the Business Performance Management Standards Group (BPMSG), the loosely knit coalition aims to assist customers and vendors clear the air about what both want from analytics software – which the vendors describe as a “confusing and inconsistent” set of offerings to market.

Not short on branding, the group has the backing locally of Applix, Cartesis, Cognos, Deloitte, Hyperion, IBM Business Consulting, OutlookSoft, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SAP and Unisys.

The inaugural meeting of the BPMSG Australian chapter set the objectives of introducing a user friendly lexicon and rationalising definitions for business processes – especially when it comes to the way process data outputs are described and reported.

Applix Asia Pacific vice president and BPMSG convener, Tim Wright, said while many vendors claimed they could “do it all” in terms of enterprise data reporting, analysis and modelling many failed to consider ultimate end users – frequently to the detriment of their corporate reputation SAP head of business development for Asia Pacific, Stefan Goehring, said customers were already finding commonality in the way they were looking at business performance metrics even if vendors were not.

However, many enterprises were still experiencing difficulty in cutting data across silos, with individual departments looking to retain a compartmentalized power base, Goehring said.

Managing director for analytics vendor Hyperion, Russell Evans contended customers were interested in purity of data regardless of how and where it resided. Evans said many OLAP offerings from large ERP providers still lacked an ability to interoperate between historical enterprise data and current and future performance modelling.

Evans said sections of enterprises still had "perception" problems aligning revenue objectives with IT reality, leading to a cultural divide.

IDC senior software market analyst, Bharati Poorabia, said while the vendor community meant well, any tangible verdict would only come with the direct input of users. Poorabia said users knew far better than vendors what the immediate demands and constraints of their organisation were, regardless of the product offered.

The group will meet again to determine its objectives after the end of the Australian financial year.

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