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A Publication of WTVP

Businesses run on information. The better quality and quicker the access, the better the end result. Information is everywhere, which means we usually have more than we need. The problem isn't how much we have, but how well we're able to work with the data in the enterprise. Most businesses know their key performance indicators (KPIs) but track them monthly and rarely get the opportunity to really drill down to the root causes of deviations. The value is in making better decisions sooner and spotting trends and deviations.

Until now, the primary tools at our disposal have been a variety of disparate databases and the ever-dependable spreadsheet. However, with today's increasing process complexity and shortened timelines, we need quicker and better solutions that take advantage of today's advances in information gathering, analysis, and reporting technology. We can't wait for the IT department to build us a new report or sort the ones we have differently.

What is CPM?

CPM is a process-not a product. CPM is about predictability, accountability, and visibility. CPM is knowing, in measurable terms, where you are, where you've been, and where you're going at any given time. CPM is the efficient accessing and timely use of information and making it easy enough to use by all key business users.

The CPM process begins with the identification of information in applications, databases, files and reports, and ETL-extracting that information, transforming it into the proper formats, and loading it into a useable database. The next step is to use the information for business intelligence (BI), event notification, or for more in-depth analysis. The tools for this step range from BI cubes to applications designed to analyze specific parts of the business process. The final step: Getting the right information to the right people at the right time is the key to running an effective operation.

Most businesses have two separate processes: business intelligence, which is fundamentally historical-it tells you where you've been, often in great detail-and the ever-present spreadsheet, which is used to plan for the future. The key to an effective CPM is to integrate these separate activities into a single process. Getting the right information to the right people requires a CPM-driven architecture that can move information seamlessly across applications, workflow, and the Web. Add in the ability to write the reports you need and present CPM information visually on a "dashboard," and you have truly effective CPM.

It'll take some time to build the CPM process that works best for your business, but when you've finished, you'll know it was well worth the effort to improve your firm's performance. IBI

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