Pilot Provides Process to Improve Performance - InformationWeek

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Pilot Provides Process to Improve Performance

PilotWorks 2006 advances operational performance management.

VentanaMonitor™

Summary
As performance management matures as a discipline, software vendors increasingly are addressing difficulties in the deployment and use of their applications. Pilot Software, a pioneer in decision support and performance management, has introduced new approaches to process and workflow, personalization and the presentation of analytics in its PilotWorks 2006. This new offering simplifies performance management in important ways, by smoothing the path for organizations seeking to improve communication and collaboration on specific goals and metrics tied to initiatives and strategies. Ventana Research believes that organizations seeking significant change need to consider applications like PilotWorks that can help instrument the process of performance management.

Assessment
Performance management continues to advance as a business approach that brings together people and processes to improve business results. However, successful performance management requires software applications that can support it. Unfortunately, most applications today try to assemble metrics by collecting data from every system in the enterprise. This is difficult if not impossible to do because the data the applications seek is scattered across many sources and stored in formats that require intervention by business professionals before they can be compared.

PilotWorks 2006, the new offering from Pilot Software, addresses this problem by introducing a set of process and workflow tools that supports the management process of alignment and improvement in operational performance management. It does so by helping users to set up, approve and publish metrics that are linked to strategies, initiatives and goals. The suite makes it possible to create an environment in which it is straightforward to gather data from existing systems. In addition, because users can approve or adjust targets directly, performance management processes become more widely accessible. PilotWorks 2006 also maximizes feedback by building in the capability to survey individuals, which can help managers determine their staff's level of confidence in and commitment to meeting performance targets.

Extending beyond the existing strategy, initiative, dashboard and scorecarding capabilities, Pilot has added a much-needed "home page" and personalization tools that enable users to gain a master view of the data they need to perform their jobs. In addition, PilotWorks now includes alerting and workflow support to ensure responsiveness by placing the accountability with individuals as assigned in the application. For its part, management can also see not just who is using the application but who made the decisions and approved changes to already defined strategies. Of course, enabling management to examine projected analytics and determine whether improvements are occurring will help management to determine where further changes need to be made. For data management and access, organizations now can convert data in spreadsheets into files held on servers and driven by databases or into forms and datasheets that are easy to manage.

Market Impact
The demand for applications that support the processes of performance management is increasing as more and more organizations realize that merely deploying more dashboards or reports will not alone help them improve performance. As technology use matures in the business areas of finance, HR and operations, application providers like Pilot Software have an opportunity to gain a foothold with true enterprise-level deployments. PilotWorks 2006 offers advanced capabilities for managing strategies, scorecards, initiatives and goals not found in products from other business intelligence (BI) providers such as Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion, MicroStrategy, Oracle and SAP. Pilot Software has also advanced beyond these vendors by additionally providing its software as a service or on-demand purchasing model. Many of those vendors' offerings still focus on dashboards or scorecards that are only partially ready to meet today's management needs. Providers like Geac (in Finance) and SuccessFactor (in HR/Workforce), which are advancing strategy and goals management in their niches, also have demonstrated success in the market. As organizations become savvier about basing technology choices on what they need from a business perspective rather than an IT perspective, Pilot Software has an opportunity to get a jump on the market. The only barrier to broader market adoption may be the company's ability to expand operations to capitalize on the opportunity.

Recommendation
Ventana Research believes performance management technology requires a simpler approach, one modeled on how individuals and groups actually operate within businesses. Many software companies profess to have scorecarding applications, but they fall short of providing the best practices and insights needed to ensure broad deployment and use of the application in collaborative ways to manage performance. Pilot Software has raised the bar for performance management application providers. Organizations that need to get more out of these applications should consider PilotWorks 2006.

About Ventana Research
Ventana Research is the leading Performance Management research and advisory services firm.  By providing expert insight and detailed guidance, Ventana Research helps clients operate their companies more efficiently and effectively. These business improvements are delivered through a top-down approach that connects people, process, information and technology. What makes Ventana Research different from other analyst firms is a focus on Performance Management for finance, operations and IT. This focus, plus research as a foundation and reach into a community of over two million corporate executives through extensive media partnerships, allows Ventana Research to deliver a high-value, low-risk method for achieving optimal business performance. To learn how Ventana Research Performance Management workshops, assessments and advisory services can impact your bottom line, visit www.ventanaresearch.com.

© 2006 Ventana Research

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