Lately I have read articles and analysts’ reports discussing whether Corporate Performance Management (CPM) rather than business intelligence (BI) will become pervasive in the future. This seems to be a discussion about apples and oranges where we are talking about two entirely different things. CPM is a business application or process while BI is a technology.
All CPM projects use BI but not all BI projects involve CPM implementations. Using this logic, BI might become pervasive while CPM may not, however, if CPM does become pervasive then BI, since it is a technology used in CPM applications, will also become pervasive.
Why the confusion and the discussion of an either/or situation? Too often in our industry we confuse tools and vendors with business applications or processes. Too often products become identified with a term and then everyone’s projects become identified with that product. Let’s look at the consumer (IT and business) and the supplier (software vendors and their partners).
On the consumer side, it is human nature relating to associate the product/vendor used in an IT project as THE application rather merely as the tool used for a particular application. Too often, over the years, I have heard that Oracle, DB2, Business Objects, Cognos or fill-in-your-own-IT-vendor was not very good for a particular DW, BI or reporting project. Asking a few questions during an assessment or project review, however, it is uncovered it was not really the tool that was the problem but rather the data (integrity, quality, availability or timeliness) or how the tool was implemented.
On the supplier side, some vendors follow every hype cycle or IT industry buzzword and label their products or solutions using their products as the latest and greatest fill-in-your-buzzword! Since many consumers do not have time to really analyze fact from hype, the label sticks and the product becomes associated with the business application or process.
And the jumbling of products with business applications or processes is reinforced by industry analyst reports, articles in industry publications, white papers, webinars/seminars/podcasts and case studies. If everyone says it, then it must be true!
CPM should become pervasive but we’ll see. You could argue BI is already pervasive but not BI tools (but that’s another posting.)