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A performance management primer for small and midsize companies
Delaney Turner 270002T14M firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  performance_management cognos_express cognos ibmsoftware
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Today's feature article explores the benefits of performance management software for small and midsize companies, challenges some commonly held beliefs and outlines the value of IBM Cognos Express.
As companies come out of the recession and plan for growth after recovery, performance management software can be invaluable because it provides the effective planning companies need to survive and thrive. It links planning and forward-looking assumptions so that it’s easier for companies to evaluate plans more realistically, identify inconsistencies and risks and make predictions. And it's not just for big companies; it is also a way forward for small and midsize businesses.
With performance management software, different people in different parts of the company can develop plans that reflect what their business units or departments needs—with inputs for items, such as output, raw material amounts and full-time equivalents. After people contribute items to the plan, they are converted into monetary terms by a controlled and consistent set of processes that enable updates to ripple throughout all aspects of the plan that will be affected. The software also makes it possible for people to access historical data and market trends and provides them with the tools they need to understand that information.
Reports, dashboards and scorecards for instant information
Because executives for small and midsize businesses need to be able to validate or question assumptions and get a good view of how external and internal changes might affect the company, performance management software gives them the tools, such as dashboards, scorecards and reports, that make it easy for them to gain accurate insight quickly and, if necessary, make detailed contingency plans. The software also provides exception-based reporting so that they can drill down to very specific details to address and determine the cause of a variance. And at the heart of it all is a central repository that holds all the data, so that integration is quick and painless.
A common perception
Performance management software can significantly benefit small and midsize businesses and help them weather the storms of a volatile economy. Disconnected plans based on a collection of spreadsheets cannot provide the information, insight, alerts and links that businesses need to make decisions and address changes in performance, products, the company or the market. Yet, many small and midsize businesses feel that they can’t afford anything but the spreadsheet software they’ve already purchased or they feel their IT resources aren’t sufficient for dedicated software. They see investments in performance management as something only the “big guys” make.
Discover IBM Cognos Express
The good news is that there is software developed specifically for small and midsize businesses that provides all the capabilities described here at a price that most small and midsize companies can afford: IBM Cognos Express. For small and midsize businesses that want to benefit from performance management, IBM Cognos Express includes everything needed to get started right away. It offers powerful yet easy-to-use capabilities for both novices and advanced users so that it can be widely adopted by all kinds of users in your company.
A ringing endorsement
Recently, IBM Cognos Express received a ringing endorsement from Robert Kugel, CFA, Senior Vice President of Research at Ventana Research in his blog called “Aligning Business and IT to Improve Performance.” He describes seven capabilities that the software should offer and then goes on to say:
IBM Cognos Express offers all of these capabilities…. It combines software for planning and budgeting, reporting, performing analysis as well as creating and managing dashboards and scorecards in a pre-configured package designed to be relatively easy to install and maintain. It offers an Excel interface that provides the best of both worlds. It has a familiar look that is easy and comfortable for users but unlike standalone desktop spreadsheets it is connected to a database to automate data consolidation and control as well as facilitate analysis and reporting. Pricing has been set with mid-size company's budgets in mind. The company also offers a 30-day free trial… The offering is built on the TM1 64-bit server which means that people can do extensive, complex business modeling and contingency planning.
High praise indeed.
Performance management doesn’t have to be a pipe dream for small and midsize companies. IBM Cognos Express is packaged and priced so companies can gain immediate business value without breaking the bank.