Have you heard of the Performance Manager book? If not, you should take a look at it! The Performance Manager is a book that can provide a lot of value to you and your Business Analytics projects. Some people describe it as a ‘Recipe book for Analytics’. Mike Duncan recently blogged about designing dashboards and selecting the right KPIs. The Performance Manager publication is a great tool to help you with that.
First of all, the Performance Manager is not necessarily a book that you read from the first page to the last. No, it is rather a smart compendium that you pull out when you need it. The basic idea of the book is to provide the readers with deep insights and ideas about the type of goals, metrics and responsibilities they need to think about when designing new reports, dashboards and planning templates. The book is structured around the eight primary functions of a typical business (Finance, Marketing, Sales, etc..).
Each function is explored in more detail within different chapters. Each chapter starts with a review the typical decisions that need to be made (so-called ‘Decision Areas’) within these functions. This provides an nice overview of the usual business problems that you encounter and struggle with.The most powerful aspect of the book, though, is that the decision areas are then linked to specific metrics: The authors introduce specific Information Sweet Spots for each decision area. These sweet spot basically describe specific goals, metrics and dimensions that are highly relevant for each function. A lot of research and experience went into the selection. And this is pretty cool!
So why do I love this compendium? There are number of reasons:
- The book helps you prepare for new projects. Whether you are a project manager, business sponsor or an external consultant – we all need to prepare & learn. This book is great to obtain some critical insights about a certain functional area. Spend a few minutes to learn about the key issues, the objectives and the metrics. You will have a much better starting point and appreciation when you meet with the business users. It will help you guide the discussions.
- The sweet spots provide a baseline overview for many BI projects. Imagine you want to start building a marketing dashboard. One of the core design elements is the choice of metrics. Here is where the book provides best practice recommendations. You immediately have a list of specific items that you can consider. You have a starting point. It also helps you with linking metrics and business issues.
- The book delivers benchmarks. A customer recently asked me about white papers to help with their working capital dashboard. We pulled out the book and compared their content with the proposed sweet spot. They immediately identified two metrics and a dimension that the organization had not considered, yet.
Here is the good news: you can download the Performance Manager on ibm.com. There are also different versions for various industries such as financial services and retail. Also, if you are interested in finding out how these metrics can help you with your business, join one of the Business Analytics Experience workshops. They are based on the book and provide a cool way to experience the deep knowledge.