Winston Churchill’s friend once said of him, “Winston is a man of simple tastes, he is always prepared to put up with the best of everything.” The desire for the best is something everyone covets, but this aspiration becomes problematic when “best” cannot readily be defined. So how would you know if you received the best?
Even defining “better” requires at least two data points and relevant selection criteria. Maybe “better” is within reach with a handful of comparison points, but the quality of anything presumed “the best” is directly relative to the sample size. The most accurate statement would be to claim “this is the best among this group”. Unfortunately, this caveat is not explicitly included for fear of divulging an anemic sample size, and in so doing revealing that maybe what is represented as the best isn’t the best at all.
Let’s look through this lens at Enterprise Performance Management (EPM). Customers implement one EPM product at a time, and then proceed to keep their solution for at least 5 years. A customer is unlikely to have detailed experience with using more than one product, or even with more than one implementation process/result…certainly not a high volume in their career. For this reason, customers are not going to have an ideal vantage point from which to describe what “better” practices are, and far less likely what “best practices” are.
So what about consultants? You might think they have access to standards by which “best practices” can be measured. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Still, so many have no trouble taking the podium proclaiming knowledge of best practices to all who will listen. If an educated customer asked “how do you know?” The answer would come back: “in my experience”. The infrequent follow up is, “how good is your experience?”
So what makes for a better “best practice”? Only through a volume of relative measurements, gathered via experience or scientific methods, can one begin to frame an understanding of what “best” means. Could one reasonably crown the “best” across a sample set of two or three? Which would be a more accurate measurement of “best”? 100 projects or 1000? Clearly more is more here. And where someone doesn’t have direct experience themselves, they should reference a quality database of standards that can be benchmarked against to ensure there is a quantitative measurement of “best”.
Readers may be wondering: How do I know what I am talking about? I have a unique volume of experience in this space, but I am also very fortunate that I lead a global team of deeply experienced EPM experts, and I can say scientifically without a doubt that we have the greatest volume of collective experience in the SAP BPC market. Relying on our team’s experience simply isn’t enough for us; we also have a cultural mandate to measure what the shape of success looks like...frequently. No other firm in the BPC community actively pursues the best results in this rigorous manner. We are not the sort of company to believe our own hype. We work hard to prove that our client’s solutions are truly among the very best…precisely because we measure what the best is!
We have built benchmark surveys both on our own, focusing on BPC use, and with our esteemed partners at EPM International, focusing on EPM processes. Contact us today to contribute to our database of customer results and get a real flavor of how you compare with the best. These surveys and findings form a foundation for quality reviews of our own projects, application assessments for those implemented by competitive teams, and the findings are featured prominently at our Annual EPM Leadership Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada.