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More thoughts on Decision Management and Performance Management


Gary Cokins posted How are Enterprise Decision Management (EDM) and Performance Management Different? in response to my original post What’s the difference between EDM and Performance Management. Gary takes me to task for a narrow perspective on performance management and, to some extent, he is right. Too often what I see described as performance management is just performance monitoring. Dashboards and graphics that show someone how well they are doing at meeting some KPIs, perhaps presented as a balanced scorecard or similar. There is no way for someone looking at these dials and graphs to do anything about them – they must leave their dashboard and go off and tell someone to change something. They are dashboards, not cockpits, as I said before.

Gary’s more complete and richer view of performance management is a much better one than the typical implementation. If you took his approach and really thought through how someone managing the performance of their organization against their objectives could take action to change things – to improve performance as he says – then there is to my mind still a gap. Here’s a quote from Gary:

[Performance Management links an] executive team’s strategy formulation to operations for strategy execution. It gives context to its purpose

Even when this is true I believe it ends at the systems portfolio. Most executives and line managers have no way to change the behavior of their systems. To the extent that the execution of strategy is automated (and this is more and more true in today’s high speed, 24×7 world), most performance management implementations do not really link to operations. This is where EDM comes in. Ensuring that the results of individual, operational decisions can be measured and improved by the business people who understand the objectives even when those decisions are embedded in processes and systems that are wholly or partly automated takes EDM.

Performance management may give a context to EDM but EDM ensures that performance management does not stop with people but extends to the behavior of your systems also.