Every day there are hundreds of articles and blogs posted describing the forces causing disruption in every category of the enterprise software industry. One of the best I’ve seen is a recent blog post by Scott Weiss of Andreessen Horowitz, discussing the impact of SaaS, cloud and mobile technologies.
In the Performance Management category – which has traditionally differentiated itself from the Business Intelligence category through forward-looking scenario modeling capabilities – vendors promote technology advances like in-memory processing, super-charged calculation engines, and cloud access as disruptive technologies. However, most implementations of these “disruptive” technologies aren’t being used to equip companies to adapt to the truly disruptive forces affecting their businesses. They are mostly being used to deliver the same legacy use cases – just a little faster and cheaper.
The effects of these disruptive forces are much more compelling than simply rendering a category of enterprise software obsolete. These forces are disrupting management itself. Leaders simply can’t continue to manage their companies using traditional, static and hierarchical methods in a business climate that’s changing at an increasing rate.
For example, the restaurant industry, like most industries, is managing change from many directions: there is increasing competition for share of U.S. consumers’ shrinking discretionary spending. An explosion of alternatives is also creating more narrowly defined niches. For many reasons, scaling a restaurant business has always been a challenge. One factor is that this industry is heavily dependent on autonomous General Managers – a group that tends to change employers frequently and also tends to be late adopters of technology (as a whole).
The disruptive forces in the restaurant industry require these General Managers to conform more consistently to the operational processes that will produce the desired performance at scale. Helping a few financial analysts at corporate HQ build their financial models more quickly won’t empower these GMs to make this essential transition.
But technology disruptions do offer new possibilities for bridging the gap between measurement, understanding, and forecasting from any location and any device, with little or no training. It’s the enterprise transformation – in response to disruptive forces affecting the core business – that enables an enterprise to take full advantage of the technology disruptions now available in performance management software. And rather than simply moving yesterday’s solutions to the cloud, performance management providers should strive to innovate around this disruptive technology to empower transformation of business processes.
If your business is content to use yesterday’s management techniques to navigate through the perpetual storm of change, then the technology disruptions in the enterprise performance category will offer little value to you.