Business intelligence and performance management focuses on providing the tools and processes to help you make better business decisions. In order to make better business decisions you first need to understand how your business is currently performing, you then need to understand why it’s working the way it is and this should lead you to be able to see where you need to take your business next. Business intelligence and performance management is all about making sure you’ve got the right tools and solutions to make these analyses accurately enough to derive better business decisions.
Performance management is the encompassing term that looks at both understanding the process of being able to pull in all the data within your business, then turning that data into useful information that can then be used with processes like budgeting and forecasting. Business intelligence is the specific process of taking that data and turning it into useful information that the people within your business can then use.
Performance management is particularly important if your business is growing because of the amount of data you have is always going to be growing and changing as the business grows, this means that the complexity of your processes, planning, budgeting and forecasting is also going to be increasing too. The tools you may be using already such as spreadsheets are going to quickly become overwhelmed and not suitable for the data they need to manage. A fully comprehensive performance management system will enable you to have greater control and add more cohesion to gathering and analyzing the data you need to ensure you are able to push your business forwards.
It’s not just growing businesses that could benefit from performance management systems, any organization from commercial to not for profit to public sector of any size can benefit from performance management because it’s about the data coming in and using it to power the business. It’s not just internal information and data that needs to be analyzed and assessed, no business can afford to be slack when it comes to keeping up with their industry and what their competitors are doing, by analyzing this information you are able to decide which direction you want to focus your business on. When it comes to critical business applications, like the general ledger, it’s often the finance department that’s in charge and responsible for running processes like the annual planning exercise, the budgeting or forecasting exercises. However, in order to gain real value from performance management you need to ensure it encompasses all departments within your organization like sales, HR, marketing etc. For example, by understanding the data from the sales department, the marketing department will be able to ensure campaigns are targeted in the areas that have proven to be successful. This means the finance department then acts like a central hub and gathers all the information from the different departments and can use it to the generate projections and outcomes for the overall business.
Once you’ve implemented an effective performance management system, you should start to see improved business performance which will give you the ability to make better business decisions faster. You’ll be able to identify any risks facing your business at a glance and mitigate them before they become a real threat as well as being able to identify opportunities and action plans to act on them. Performance management also means you’ll be able to have confidence that the data you’re working from is accurate and up to date which means time management should also improve too as no one is going to be arguing over whose numbers are correct.