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The Performance Perspectives Blog: Tim O'Bryan stops for coffee and a chat on the journey to performance management:
Delaney Turner 270002T14M firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  cognos cfo_study rolling_forecasts innovation_center strategy
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On the performance management journey, Tim O’Bryan travels more miles than most people.
From his base in Chicago, the Marketing and Customer Relations Director of the IBM Cognos Innovation Center for Performance Management travels twice a week across the U.S. His mission? To help IBM clients gain greater insights from their information and transform their decision-making into a strategic asset that drives best-in-class performance.
Tim does this through a series of performance management workshops that this year come in two varieties: Strategy Exec
Learn to build your strategy
In the Strategy Execution workshop, Tim focuses on helping teams align their top-level goals with operational expectations. “It’s kind of a ‘how to’ married to best practices,” he says.
Over two hours, participants learn the core principles of the Balanced Scorecard, strategy maps and metrics, then proceed to build a sample using the Scorecarding capability of IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence. In some cases, an IBM Cognos consultant is on-hand as well to answer the technical questions and provide more specific guidance. By the end of the session, Tim says, participants return to their respective organizations with the skills to develop an executive and functional scorecard.
Dynamic, hands-on environment
These are small gatherings of usually no more than 35 people. During the exercises, teams work in smaller groups. Tim says the dynamic, hands-on environment helps participants learn from each other and share their discoveries. “There’s always great dialogue among the participants. Everyone wants to know what everyone else is doing.”
A "glide path" toward rolling forecasts
Tim devotes equal time to helping IBM clients adopt best practices in the Office of Finance. Lately he’s been running workshops on rolling forecasts, which for many clients is the first critical step toward a more agile and responsive Office of Finance and becoming a Value Integrator as identified in the new IBM Global CFO Study.
Though this topic is a bit further down in the weeds, Tim says it’s no less popular than shaping strategy: “Everyone wants to use rolling forecasts, but sometimes they don’t know how to get there. They understand the value but from a cultural or systems perspective they’re not ready.”
In these cases, Tim helps participants establish a rolling budget and build a “glide path” to a more dynamic environment. “For clients at the outset of a performance management journey, it’s important to have a strong sense of direction to guide your evolution,” he says.
Participants are "energized"
Shaping strategy, changing culture. Yes, it’s a big job. But it’s what Tim loves to do, and based on the feedback he’s been getting from participants, his efforts have indeed been paying off. “They come out of the workshops and they’re energized.”