What is the difference between business intelligence and business performance management?
There really isn't any, says a Hyperion executive in a September interview with IT Business Edge. Both -- heck, throw in analytics, too -- describe the production and consumption of business management information, as well as the management of data, metadata and master data.
Regardless of whether you agree with this specific viewpoint, many folks seem to agree that the two appear to be converging.
According to Gartner, many BI vendors are feeling the heat from Microsoft, with its Office Performancepoint Server 2007, and open-source BI tools. The vendors want to make their products more relevant, and BPM does the trick. At least some will acquire BPM expertise, rather than building it from scratch.
With this in mind, a recent B Eye Network piece points out a caveat for first-time buyers of BPM or for companies looking to switch to a new vendor to consolidate multiple instances of BI and BPM within their organization.
Probably at least some of the folks you'll consider will be BI or enterprise resource planning providers that have acquired BPM specialists. Ask them what percentage of new BPM customers come from outside their existing customer base, the article suggests.
It will help you determine how much attention they will give BPM vs. BI or ERP and also will help you predict whether you may be subject to additional software or labor costs. It's also a good idea to ask two other key questions: What are your plans for product integration, complete with time line? What does the product roadmap look like?
Consolidating BI and BPM applications is certainly a good idea, says an older B Eye Network article. Benefits of doing so include lower software costs, less need for training and a consistent user interface for process support activities.