The first version of the BPM Framework was previewed at DCIs Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing Conference here this week. It recommends a technology architecture that supports information flow from operational systems to planning systems and between functions within the organization. It also must support action being taken based on the metrics generated, such as revisions to plans, targets and operational activity.
That is the last step of the recommended process. The first step is to set goals and metrics, then to set planning and budgeting processes, both financial and operational. Then monitor and analyze data and compare it with the plan.
The BPM Framework calls for data to be gathered from various sources, including enterprise applications, data warehouses and MS Office applications, and then loaded into a BPM data mart that supports both structured and unstructured data, and relational and multidimensional data analysis.
Applications that support the four BPM processes—setting a strategy, planning and budgeting, monitoring and analyzing, and taking corrective action—then act on that data. Query and reporting tools, portals, collaboration apps and dashboards sit on top of that layer, presenting information to end-users via interfaces such as Web browsers and spreadsheets.
"We want to see BPM be successful, not be something that was over-hyped, like CRM [customer relationship management]," said Craig Schiff, CEO of BPM Partners and one of the founding participants of the BPM Standards Group. "Were trying to learn from the lessons of the past."
The group is trying to define business performance management—also known as corporate performance management and enterprise performance management, depending on the vendor—and then to guide enterprises in how to properly deploy the technology.
"In the beginning, we just want to do a good job of clarifying what the best practices are for BPM," said John Colbert, vice president at Stamford, Conn.-based BPM Partners. "Other benefits will come out over time."
That could conceivably include shared application frameworks based on open standards, though Schiff and Colbert said there were no plans for that in the immediate future.
In addition to BPM Partners, founding members of the BPM Standards Group include IBM, Hyperion Solutions Corp., SAP AG, Applix Inc., International Data Corp., The META Group Inc. and The Data Warehousing Institute. Also contributing to the framework have been Cartesis Inc., Cognos Inc., Deloitte & Touche LLP, Geac Computer Corp. Ltd., OutlookSoft Corp., PricewaterhouseCoopers and Unisys Corp. All of these organizations have donated time, personnel and other resources to the effort.
"The payback is success in the BPM space," Schiff said. "Thatll mean bigger business and bigger opportunities for all of us."
Also at the show, SAND Technology Inc. announced its ILM (information lifecycle management) strategy for data warehousing. The approach calls for partitioning the data warehouse into three tiers—an online tier for frequently used data; a near-line tier for active data thats less frequently used but still can be restored to the online server for analysis; and an offline tier for historic data that can be accessed and analyzed outside the data warehouse.
Robert Thompson, vice president of marketing at SAND, said the strategy, used by SANDs Searchable Archive and Analytic Server products, results in improved data warehouse performance and lower storage costs. "Youll be able to look at more data, more quickly, at a lower cost," he said.