Performance Management Might Help Get You Through The Crisis


You’ll survive the recession better, if you understand how your business is doing, and how it could be improved, says IBM’s business intelligence manager – and former Cognos CEO – Rob Ashe


Rob Ashe is IBM’s general manager for business intelligence and performance management. In 2007, he sold his company, Cognos, to IBM for $5 billion, and stayed on to manage BI and performance. eWEEK Europe interviewed him about performance management

How would you explain Performance Management (PM) in three sentences to a manager who doesn´t know anything about it?

  • Performance management is a key component of the growing business analytics software market. It gives customers the ability to answer these key questions – How are we doing? Why are we on or off track? What should we do about it?
  • It enables them to understand and monitor their current performance regardless of the business they are in.
  • And it allows them to plan for future business strategies.

What are the benefits?

This type of business analytics software takes the volume of data an organization collects and stores, and turns it into meaningful reports and analysis that everyone can use. You can see information across departments and drill down to discover the underlying causes of how you’re performing. And since you get common data definitions and understanding of priorities, your managers will spend less time debating the data and more time deciding what to do. And flexible, user-friendly reporting means everyone can have the right information delivered in the right way.

Is PM also suitable for small or medium companies?
Yes. Midsize and small businesses in a wide range of industries can use performance Management software to manage operational costs, improve performance and gain competitive advantage – just like the large enterprise organisations. We find that these size companies want flexible deployments that fit their needs and budgets, and can grow with their business.

Which branch of industry is suited best for PM?
Performance Management helps companies work smarter for better business outcomes across industries. For instance, we have a large energy company that is using our Performance Management solution to track expense management and determine profitability by rig. Another customer – a ski resort – uses the technology to reduce labor costs and determine best pricing. And a branch of the government in the U.S. uses us for supply chain management, which has allowed them to save millions in overstocked inventory.

Can PM be helpful in dealing with economic crisis?
Yes. Economic adversity presents an opportunity for companies to find new efficiencies, streamline data from disparate sources into relevant business information and transform their business. As a result, businesses can emerge from an economic challenge in a more competitive position. Our clients are worker smarter during this economic crisis as they use this type of business analytics to re-examine processes and gain new intelligence for better decisions about cost management, improving profit, driving cash flow and reducing risk.

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