The Nuclear Nexus: Dashboards Connect BPM and BI

At $1.4 Billion, the business performance management (BPM) space is white hot. What’s that about dashboards?

Numbers don’t lie, though most mathematicians and other professionals know how to highlight them as needed. A recent report excerpt issued by IDC shows just how high some numbers can go, well past a billion in this case. According to the report, the global market for business performance management (BPM), including financial analytic applications, topped $1.4 billion for 2004, marking a healthy growth clip of 15 percent from the 2003 total of $1.2 billion.

Grouping the two categories does make sense in that they both address performance management. “The two are not the same thing,” however, notes Philip Russom, senior manager of research and services for TDWI. Russom says that one vendor in particular—the leader in this space, in fact—had previously been “saying we should talk about FPM, financial performance management.” BPM can look at just about any entity within a corporation to determine how it’s performing, financially or otherwise. Thus, BPM is arguably the super-set that includes the sub-set of financial analytic applications.

The leader in this overall BPM space (financial apps included) is Hyperion Solutions Corp., which just rolled out its System 9 offering last week, a release that focused on business performance management in general, while shining a light on the growing demand for performance dashboards. Hyperion currently lays claim to just over one-fifth of the total BPM market, more than even the second- and third-place vendors combined: 8.5 percent for Oracle Corp. and 8.4 percent for Cognos Inc. Only one other company can boast even one-twentieth of the overall market share, namely SAP AG at 6.9 percent.

That doesn’t mean competition is thin, however. In fact, IDC’s report lists four more companies with 2 percent or greater: SAS Institute at 4.5 percent; Geac Computer Corp. Ltd. at 4.4 percent; Cartesis at 2.8 percent; and OutlookSoft Corp at 2.1 percent. In between 1 and 2 percent are several others, including SRC Software (BusinessObjects), Systems Union Group plc, Applix Inc., Performance Soft, and SSA Global Technologies. And the litany of companies active in this space goes much longer. In fact, a full 33.9 percent of the overall market share is divided among companies that each claim less than one percent. That’s competition.

The excerpt was taken from IDC’s June 2005 report, entitled: Worldwide Business Performance Management and Financial Analytic Applications 2005 – 2009 Forecast and Vendor Shares, authored by Kathleen Wilhide, research director, compliance and business performance management solutions. In the excerpt, some analysis is offered to explain the increase in market activity:

“IDC research shows that information transparency and performance management initiatives are a top priority from both a business and an IT standpoint… BPM is now being considered part of enterprise-wide transformation initiatives that include reducing information silos. The trend is beginning in the largest organizations, but the challenge cuts across all market segments and is expected to be a defining factor in more strategic business intelligence initiatives that include BPM.”

And there you have the nuclear nexus: business intelligence (BI) and business performance management (BPM). These are two massive realms in the enterprise technology space that are finally converging in a meaningful way, thus closing the proverbial “loop” in the cycle that begins with data input, aggregation, and analysis, then ideally finishes with actionable information that leads to effected change on the front lines of an organization.

Russom notes that this BI-BPM intersection increasingly takes place at the dashboard level, as more companies employ performance dashboards—a hot spot for numerous BI/BPM players these days. TDWI’s director of research and services, Wayne Eckerson, just recently unveiled a new book about these powerful management tools, entitled, Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring and Managing Your Business. In the Foreword of that book, published by Wiley, Eckerson closes the BI-dashboards loop:

“In many respects, performance dashboards are the new face of business intelligence. They transform business intelligence from a set of tools used primarily by business analysts and power users to a means of delivering actionable information to everyone in an enterprise. Thus, performance dashboards fulfill the promise of business intelligence to help organizations leverage information to increase corporate agility, optimize performance, and achieve strategic targets.”

About the Author

Eric Kavanagh is the president of Mobius Media, a strategic communications consultancy. You can contact the author at