Software systems for Strategy Management – an art
I have now worked 16 years with software systems for Strategy Management/ Performance Management. In my earlier days I worked as a practitioner, but in the last 11 years my role has been that of a CEO of a software company developing Strategy Management solution.
Over these last years I have received hundreds of “Request for Proposal” from various customers. Many of the RFP documents have good questions, but very few of them really focus on a problem that I am seeing in common among most businesses today – Deviations or abnormality in structures.
If you are asked about your business, you will most probably say it is very structured. All data, goals etc. can be rolled up and down perfectly would be your answer. But if you look more closely you will find instances where there are deviations. Apparently this is what is causing problems for many businesses while using Strategy/performance management software packages today.
Let me give you some examples:
“This indicator is going to be used for all departments – except one department”
“All limits indicating red, yellow and green should follow this rule – except for this department”
“All numbers should be aggregated up to total group – except for this unit”
“All indicators should have initiatives attached to them – except for these KPI’s”
“All Initiatives should have this specific info attached – except these kind of initiatives”
“All indicators should have a monthly follow up frequency – except this which is a half year”
This list goes on and on!
Here is what causes challenges/ problems in the software implementation process. When these abnormalities come up, the normal reaction of the software vendor is “our system is not made for that exception – but we can fix it”. It is as though the software vendor is very surprised every time these issues come up and from that point onwards the cost starts to spike. Every exception is dealt with but at a high cost element.
So the next time you are looking for a Strategy management software/ performance management software – ask the vendor for how exceptions are dealt with. If they don’t have a good answer – then go on to the next vendor.