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                        DSS News
                  D. J. Power, Editor
            August 28, 2005 -- Vol. 6, No. 19

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* Ask Dan! - How is BPM related to DSS?
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Ask Dan!
by Dan Power

How is BPM related to DSS?

Those of us in the field of IS/IT really seem to like our acronyms.
Sometimes however different sets of vendors adopt the same acronym for
different categories or genres of software.  That has happened with
BPM.  Every time I see a press release about BPM or when I'm walking
among vendor booths at a trade show, I must be careful to figure out
which BPM is the subject of interest. Also, sometimes the headline
doesn't give enough information. For example, "BPM helps with SOX
compliance". Is this press release about business performance
management (BPM) or is it about business process management (BPM)? It
could be either.

On July 30, 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (Public Law 104-204) went
into effect. The Law established strict financial reporting and
auditing requirements for companies doing business in the United
States. Both categories of software products called BPM are marketed
as enablers for Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Compliance. Does a company need
both? Is business performance management (BPerfM) better or more
useful than business process management (BProcM) for SOX
compliance? or vice versa?

What is Business Performance Management?

According to Wikipedia, "Business performance management (BPM) is a
set of processes that help organizations optimize business
performance. BPM is seen as the next generation of business
intelligence (BI). BPM is focused on business processes such as
planning and forecasting. It helps businesses discover efficient use
of their business units, financial, human, and material resources."
Supposedly Business Performance Management was "first used by Gartner
and popularized by analyst Howard Dresner." Dresner is also credited
with inventing the term Business Intelligence (BI).

According to a web page at, Business Performance
Management is "the management of performance designed for measuring
business entities (such as sales figures, product movement, and
operational costs). When applied in the context of e-Business,
however, it also needs to measure IT system events (such as hits per
page, load on servers, network traffic, or transactions per
second). Also called: Performance Management, EPM, Business Process
Optimization, Enterprise Performance Management, Corporate Performance
Management (CPM), CPM, and BPM."

The DMReview Business Performance Management portal notes "Staying a
step ahead in the dynamic world of business intelligence and data
warehousing is an exciting - but time-consuming - challenge for all IT
professionals. To save you some valuable time, we have collected the
latest resources to aid you in your quest for competitive advantage in
the industry. Focusing on a specific aspect of the business
intelligence and data warehousing industry, this Business Performance
Management resource portal proves to be an excellent channel for all
users searching for specialized information." Check

The Cognos perspective is that the "definition of corporate
performance management (CPM) has remained consistent since industry
analysts Gartner Research introduced CPM in 2001. ... CPM is an
umbrella term that describes all of the processes, methodologies,
metrics and systems needed to measure and manage the performance of an

Hyperion advertises that it is "The Business Performance Management
Software Leader". According to the Hyperion website, "The end goal of
Business Performance Management is to build a performance-accountable
organization, one in which all individuals at all levels work
collaboratively towards the same goals, striving for breakthrough
performance and accountability in all of their actions." Hyperion
defines business performance management as "a category of technologies
and practices that enables organizations to translate strategies into
plans, monitor execution and provide insight to improve financial and
operational performance. Research and analyst firm Gartner describes
this category as 'corporate performance management,' and uses it as an
umbrella term to describe the methodologies, metrics, processes and
systems used to monitor and manage the business performance of an
enterprise. AMR Research calls the category 'enterprise performance
management,' which it describes as an emerging superset of
applications and processes that cross-traditional department
boundaries to manage the full life cycle of business decision making."

Oracle's website notes "Corporate Performance Management allows
managers to monitor day-to-day performance through personalized
dashboards and alerts. And because Oracle's solution is integrated
with your transaction systems, users can navigate directly to any
related function of the system to take corrective action as necessary
and prevent period-end surprises."

The theme of TDWI World Conference in Boston in Spring 2004 was
Business Performance Management.  Balanced Scorecard guru Robert
Kaplan gave a keynote on the Balanced Scorecard (cf.,  He argued that it is important to broaden BPM
initiatives beyond financials. There is a need for a flexible set of
key performance indicators (KPIs) that are aligned with the goals of
the organization.

BPM Magazine ( is hosting its third annual BPM
Summit November 14-15, 2005 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich in Old
Greenwich, CT. The promotional material states "Seeking to transform
your organization's budgeting, planning, reporting and control systems
and processes? Or looking to extend performance management systems and
processes throughout your enterprise?" Then you won't want to miss the
BPM Summit.

In a recent Thought Leader Interview Wayne Eckerson
discussed the importance of business performance management. He has an
upcoming book on performance management -- Eckerson, Performance
Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring and Managing Your Business, Wiley. I
look forward to reading Wayne's book to help sort out business
performance management alternatives.

Some companies providing business performance management software
include: Business Objects, Cognos, Geac, Hyperion, Oracle, OutlookSoft
and SAS Institute.

Is BPerfM just another computerized reporting system? a modern MIS? Is
BPerfM updated BI or EIS? Is BPerfM "just another expensive finance
department project"? MAYBE!
What is Business Process Management?

According to Wikipedia, "Business Process Management (or BPM) refers
to a set of activities which organizations can perform to either
optimize their business processes or adapt them to new organizational
needs. As these activities are usually aided by software tools, the
term BPM is synonymously used to refer to the software tools

Business Process Management Systems abbreviated as BPMS attempt to
define an entire business process using a graphical process model.
Some of the processes that have been automated are primarily planning
and decision making processes, while others have been primarily
transaction processes.

In a recent ISWorld post, Saurabh Gupta ( wrote, "Bob
Bostrom and I, at the University of Georgia, are going to be teaching
a new course in Business Process Management in the Spring semester.
The course description: Modeling business work systems with focus on
processes and the information technology (IT) to support business
processes.  The focus is on using IT to understand, create, automate,
and integrate business processes.  Major topics covered: modeling work
systems, major business processes and their relationships to each
other, modeling tools, business process/application design/development
and integration approaches, creating business application systems
without programming (using model-driven tools or purchasing systems)."
Gupta was requesting information from others who have taught a
Business Process Management (BPM) course.  Please contact him if you
have taught such a course.

Some companies providing business process management software include:
Captaris Workflow, EMC Documentum, Oracle, TIBCO and webMethods.

BProcM is not BPerfM even though the definitions from Wikipedia sound
very much alike. BProcM optimizes processes and BPerfM optimizes
performance. Note however that BPerfM "is focused on business
processes such as planning and forecasting." Also, one way to improve
business performance is to improve business processes and business
performance management is itself embedded in a business process.

Why and how for BPerfM and BProcM?

Why BPerfM? Managers are using software as part of a business
performance management process to help the answer fundamental questions:
How are we doing? Why? Managers are considering more integrated web-based
solutions because spreadsheets and manual systems don't work very well
as organizations get larger and more complex. Also compliance
pressures from SOX, HIPPA and Basel II are creating marketing and
regulatory push.

Why BProcM? Managers are using software to support and help manage
business processes (business process management) to ensure consistency
and improve quality in a specific process. Also compliance pressures
from SOX, HIPPA and Basel II are creating marketing and regulatory

How? BPerfM might have a subsystem to collect budget/target numbers,
but in general the control part of the system would by a data-driven
DSS with dashboards and drill-down reminiscent of Executive
Information Systems.

How? BProcM would most likely be implemented using either a document
or a knowledge-driven DSS.  With a document-driven DSS for BProcM one
can create a heuristic model of the entire business or decision
process and then create a software application for document creation,
document tracking and online approval and authorization. For some
processes, it may be desirable to include in BProcM rules and process
knowledge and hence a knowledge-driven DSS subsystem.

Both BPerfM and BProcM are general management objectives and either
can be viewed as a broad statement of purpose for a computerized,
management decision support system.  In general, it has been almost
impossible until recently to use software to accomplish such broad
purposes.  In the recent past, BPerfM was narrowed to business
performance monitoring (BPerfMon rather than BPM) a control
task. BProcM was narrowed to document transaction management, or
document tracking and/or online approval and authorization.

So is BPM related to DSS. YES.


Bitpipe URL

Business performance management, URL

Cognos, URL

DMReview Business Performance Management portal, URL

Hyperion, URL

Johnson, M., BPM Moves Beyond Business Intelligence, Hypertion CEO
Says, Computerworld, vol. 38, no. 18, May 3, 2004, p. 17.


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DSS Conferences 

Upcoming Conferences 

1. Teradata PARTNERS User Group conference, September 18-22, 
2005, Orlando, Florida. Check .

2. 2005 NPRA Plant Automation and Decision Support 
Conference, October 18-21, 2005, Gaylord Texan Hotel, 
Grapevine, Texas. Check .

3. ACM 8th International Workshop on Data Warehousing and 
OLAP (DOLAP 2005), November 4-5, 2005, Bremen, Germany. 
Check .

4. Water Management Decision-Support Software Workshop 
November 16 - 17, 2005 - Niagara Falls, New York, USA,
Abstracts due August 26, 2005. 

5. Call for Papers: Fourth workshop on e-Business (WEB 2005), 
a pre-ICIS workshop sponsored by AIS SIGeBIZ, papers due 
August 31, 2005. Workshop URL:

6. Call for Papers: Third Annual Pre-ICIS Workshop on Decision 
Support Systems sponsored by AIS SIG DSS, December 11, 2005, 
Las Vegas, Nevada. Papers due September 1, 2005. Workshop 


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What's New at DSSResources.COM

08/19/2005 Posted case by Karen Schwartz, "Decisions at the touch of a
button". Check the cases page.

DSS News Releases - August 15 to August 28, 2005 
Read them at DSSResources.COM and search the DSS News Archive

08/25/2005 Call for Papers: 2006 DAMA + Metadata Conference; proposal
deadline is September 19, 2005.

08/25/2005 IMConferencing integrates with Google Talk.

08/25/2005 MicroStrategy European Users' Conference to spotlight
business intelligence best practices.

08/25/2005 Active RFID becomes big business.

08/24/2005 MicroStrategy expands SAP NetWeaver(TM) integration in
latest release of MicroStrategy 8.

08/23/2005 Hummingbird Enterprise(TM) for Legal with LegalKEY(R)
practice support solutions help law firms proactively address
compliance and risk issues.

08/23/2005 Oracle(R) Sales for Handhelds gives mobile salespeople
real-time information access.

08/22/2005 The Athenaeum InterContinental in Athens goes live with
IDeaS ASP solution.

08/22/2005 i2 puts spotlight on dynamic, profit-focused planning and
execution with its sales and operations management solution.

08/22/2005 Xcelsius enriches data visualization for Microsoft's
Business Scorecard Manager 2005.

08/22/2005 KMWorld Magazine names BusinessObjects XI a trend-setting
product for 2005.

08/22/2005 Hyperion Enterprise Planning helping companies manage
complex planning.

08/20/2005 New book: Case Studies in Knowledge Management edited by
Murray Jennex.

08/19/2005 DM Review restructures editorial management.

08/17/2005 Enterprises struggling to manage content on multiple sites.

08/17/2005 Hong Kong Housing Society streamlines business flow with
TIBCO Staffware process suite.

08/16/2005 Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2005 to
highlight next generation of application opportunities.

08/16/2005 Gartner Lee expands its use of Quantrix Modeler to develop
financial decision support models.

08/16/2005 Value of location-based services greater than the sum of
their parts, says ABI Research.

08/16/2005 Medica expands deployment of Softscape's Human Capital
Management solutions.

08/16/2005 Isabel Healthcare announces availability of Isabel
Bioterrorism Module.

08/16/2005 INTEGRIS Health awards Relizon $4.5 million dollar
contract for document management solutions.

08/15/2005 EMC announces significant enhancements to enterprise
collaborative environment.

08/15/2005 Oracle showcases business intelligence products at TDWI
World Conference 2005.

08/15/2005 clicks on profits with BusinessObjects XI.

08/15/2005 GTC Biotherapeutics wins START magazine 2005 Technology and
Business award for use of Applix solution.


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