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3. Analytical. How analytical is the system in terms of analyzing key performance indicators, highlighting the status of strategy, providing alerts on exceptions, and allowing user-driven ad hoc investigations?
4. Collaborative. Does the system allow the alignment of data and targets across different levels of the organization? Does it provide feedback loops and support end-user scenario planning?
5. Effectiveness. How efficient is the system in terms of the length of time it takes to perform a process? How automated is it? Does it provide automated exception alerts?
Each of these aspects can be plotted as axes on a radar chart, with the innermost point representing little or no achievement and the outermost point representing the ideal situation (see Exhibit 7.4). These charts are based on perceptions and may vary between user communities, but they do provide a framework from which to assess and agree on priorities.
Exhibit 7.4 The state of a current solution for CPM.
The Strategy Gap
Organizations should use the CPM solution to solve the most critical business pains first. If users have to wait six months before they see any changes or improvements, the initiative is likely to fail due to loss of interest or a change in priority. Many organizations feel that their major pain point is the length of time it takes to budget. Therefore, they focus on budgeting effectiveness and efficiency first. This initiative becomes phase 1 of their CPM implementation. Once this has been implemented, other pain points are addressed until they are all at the optimum level (see Exhibit 7.5).
Exhibit 7.5 The focus of phase 1 CPM implementation and beyond.
This phased approach to implementation provides four benefits.
1. The operation can solve its most painful problems first.
2. The organization can see the improvement quickly, generating interest and excitement.
3. Phasing allows users to get comfortable with the application a little at a time, which avoids overwhelming them and causing frustration.
4. Because users are comfortable, the system can be updated over time with additional functionality, with little trauma to the organization and reduced IT support requirements.
Amazon.com provides a good example of a phased implementation. This well-known online retailer started out by selling books using a straightforward web interface. Today Amazon’s web site is an extremely sophisticated portal that learns about users’ interests and preferences and can suggest and supply them with a wide range of goods. Amazon has achieved this sophistication through a series of continuous improvements that were barely detectable by regular users. Bit by bit, the system evolved to meet changing business needs. If Amazon had tried to implement all this functionality at once, it likely would have failed to achieve its current level of success because competitors would have stolen the marketplace. Similar to the development of Amazon’s retail site, regular delivery of components that solve business issues and deliver superior ROI is a successful strategy in the deployment of CPM.
Reviewing the Road Map and Moving toward Implementation
The creation of a CPM road map is just the start. Once the organization identifies its priorities, it needs to specify and select a solution that can deliver the necessary benefits. It must create a project plan to deliver the solution. Chapter 8 covers the detailed design of a CPM solution, while Chapter 9 looks at the implementation of a solution.
Because business needs, priorities, and circumstances change over time—often frequently—and because the implementation of a particular initiative may reveal additional costs, organizations must revisit the CPM road map on a regular basis and ensure that it reflects the latest situation. The best time to do this is after a review on the impact of a particular development that has just been implemented.
The Strategy Gap
CALCULATING RETURN ON INVESTMENT Why Calculate Return on Investment?
Return on investment is a traditional evaluation method deployed by organizations to weigh the merits of undertaking new investments or projects. During the dot-com 1990s, it was more theory than practice. With the stock market in the midst of a record bull run, it seemed that the biggest return needed was an emotional one. All executives had to say was “It’s all about e-commerce” or any other web-based technology, and the markets rewarded them handsomely. Unfortunately—or fortunately, for the fiscally responsible—it is no longer all about “e.” It is all about how you use “e,” and, more important, it is all about the payback. Like any business initiative, CPM projects need to be justified in terms of increasing shareholder value and profits or some other value proposition expected by the organization.