Book Review: Drive Business Performance

Drive Business Performance

Drive Business Performance

A few months ago I read a great Performance Management (PM) book entitled Drive Business Performance: Enabling a Culture of Intelligent Execution by Bruno Aziza and Joey Fitts.  This 278 page book not only outlines the key components of a successful PM solution, but provides details how a PM solution can impact the culture of your organization.  The authors have created a PM maturity model that contains six stages.  They refer to it as the Six Stages of Performance Management Value.

1.  Increase Visibility
2.  Move Beyond Gut Feel
3.  Plan for Success
4.  Execute on Strategy
5.  Power to Compete
6.  Culture of Performance

In the last stage, the Culture of Performance, an organization has created a Performance Management culture where employees are empowered to make good decisions and effectively execute the right things.  It goes into a belief where managing performance must become a part of an organization’s DNA.  The authors provide examples along the way of various companies that are at each stage.  In addition, they provide a framework for measuring your own organization to see where you fit into the model and provide solutions for how to improve.

In addition, the authors effectively disect the three core capabilities to manage performance.
Monitor:  What happened?  What is happening?
Analyze:  Why?
Plan:     What will happen?  What do I want to happen?
The book breaks down each capability and describes how a Performance Management solution can be most effective.

After reading this book, I was able to create a two hour “Introduction to Performance Management” class by simply following the structure of the book.  I recommend Drive Business Performance to executives, directors, and managers that are wanting to improve their organizations.  This is also a great read for consultants wanting to get a better understanding of Performance Management.

On a personal note, I was very interested in the book because one of the companies they examined is a client of mine.  I enjoyed learning Fitts and Aziza’s opinions on my client’s PM solution that I’ve been so heavily involved in.

One thing to note, the authors are tightly aligned with Microsoft’s PM solution, PerformancePoint Server 2007.  However, not once in the book do they mention the software.  I think its a good thing they did not promote a particular technology.  They did write a follow-up book with some other authors, entitled Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007.  This book continues on their concepts and describes how PerformancePoint can be a technology used to achieve their Culture of Performance.  But you definitely do not need to be aligned with Microsoft Technologies to enjoy Drive Business Performance.

Grab a copy and read it for yourself.   There are also audio versions available as well.

Also, click here to read a review from Business Finance Magazine. 

– ez


PerformancePoint review from the OLAP Report

The OLAP Report has written a 36 page review of PerformancePoint Server 2007 (PPS).  It can be purchased from as part of a group package for $1,495 USD that includes other product reviews.  However, you can also download it for free from from Microsoft.  Click here to download the pdf file.  I thought the OLAP Report did a good job in their thorough analysis of the software.  It does cover the finer details, such as how PerformancePoint dimensions (excluding time) use parent/child Analysis Services dimensions.  This can cause performance issues in larger dimensions since aggregations are only stored at the leaf and top levels of a hierarchy.  This is an issue that I have encountered while using PPS.  However, the upside to this is the improved cube processing speed as PPS frequently rebuilds its cubes.  The report did not cover the data integration aspects.  This seems to be an area that many people overlook when evaluating products. 

I enjoyed how OLAP Report compared PPS to its competitors such as Cognos Planning (IBM), Hyperion Planning (Oracle), TM1, Cartesis (Business Objects), and OutlookSoft (SAP).  They predict that PPS will be a major player in the Performance Management marketplace.  And I quote, “In time, after it has had three major releases and expertise has built up, this product will probably be doing to the performance management marketplace what Analysis Services has already done to the OLAP server market.”  Overall, I recommend reading this report whether you’re considering purchasing the product or have already been using it. 


Busy month for Cognos

Cognos, one of the world leaders in business intelligence and performance management solutions, has been very busy this month.  On September 5th they made the announcement that they are acquiring Applix, Inc, for about $339 million.  Applix is most widely known for its TM1 product.  TM1 handles budgeting, forecasting, planning, reporting and analytics.  It will be interesting to see how Cognos integrates the overlapping technologies.

In addition, Cognos announced on September 10th that they have signed a worldwide reseller agreement with Informatica for its products, Informatica Data Quality and Informatica Data Explorer.   This will improve Cognos’ perfomance management portfolio.

Cognos releases their FY08 2nd Quarter financial results on Sept 27.