PALO ALTO,Factors such as business planning and operational visibility are key factors along with corporate governance in driving performance initiatives, according to a poll released today by the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum.

According to the BPM poll, 70 percent of respondents have also moved beyond financial data to incorporate marketing and customer information in performance assessment.

These findings are part of an in-depth poll of the members of the BPM Forum, a new organization launched in July to address performance management, corporate accountability, and compliance in global enterprises. Based in Palo Alto, CA, the group includes more than 230 business executives.

“Our members are telling us that their companies need better business performance management, not only to comply with stricter corporate governance concerns, but more importantly to drive fundamental bottom-line business improvements and performance visibility within their organizations,” said Jim Bramante, BPM Forum advisory board member and global leader of the financial management practice at IBM Business Consulting Services. “These findings are consistent with a recent IBM CFO poll that points to the need for a holistic approach to BPM in order to drive both compliance and improved business results.”

The survey suggests performance accountability is increasingly a part of the executive suite, with 95 percent of respondents saying they are somewhat or extremely sensitized to the need for better business performance management, and 76 percent saying they are looking to the president, CEO, or CFO for BPM mandates.

These executives rate better business planning (74 percent), improving visibility (69 percent), budgeting and forecasting (58 percent) and business intelligence (36 percent) as the most important ways that business performance management is impacting their organization.

The Sarbanes-Oxley act is still a factor among members, however, with 73 percent of respondents saying they are somewhat or very concerned about the processes, tools, and methodologies used by management to track performance. This figure is lower than in a BPM Forum poll released in July 2003 of corporate board directors, in which 85 percent were concerned when asked the same question.

When asked about the major challenges to the deployment of BPM solutions, members highlighted insufficient processes (59 percent) and data collection systems (51 percent), along with the cultural issues around such changes (49 percent) as the most important impediments to success.

“We are hearing from the BPM Forum membership, our customers and the marketplace at large that companies need to resolve information quality as they move along the path to compliance and improved performance visibility,” said Nazhin Zarghamee, Chief marketing officer at Hyperion, a founding sponsor of the BPM Forum. “In fact, the BPM Forum is developing intellectual capital in the form of white papers, executive dialogs, and industry roundtables to help industry professionals tackle such issues and challenges.”

Responding members hail from a broad array of vertical industries, with financial services and manufacturing expected to lead the way in BPM adoption, according to the poll. Executives are well represented in the survey, with the heaviest concentration being CFOs and presidents.

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