IMBOK domains - Performance management


There has been a dramatic rise of interest in the way that we manage business performance.

From the early days, when financial results were everything, we have moved to a much more sophisticated regime where we strive to balance financial success with internal efficiency, with customer satisfaction, and with organisational learning and development. It is no longer sufficient just to make money, we have to make the customer happy, we must work to improve internal operations so as to be "best of breed", and we have to ensure that all the time the organisation is moving forward in terms of capability and competencies. Performance management is where business strategy meets business systems, and where the benefits of our investment in better business practice are finally seen and delivered.


Related research: A classic survey of the factors affecting organisational performance

Chen, Y., Wang, Y., Nevo, S., Jin, J., Wang, L., Chow, W.S., 2013. IT capability and organizational performance: the roles of business process agility and environmental factors. European Journal of Information Systems. doi:10.1057/ejis.2013.4

This study follows a traditional questionnaire-and-analysis format, and whereas many such studies come to obscure or irrelevant conclusions (after all, if 62.3% of all respondents said 'yes', what should we do about it?). They bring a focus to the need for organisations to be able to change in order to adapt to IT and IS opportunities, something they term 'organisational agility'. This might seem obvious, but having a substantial study like this relate 'agility' to actual performance is the beginning of an interesting conversation with senior management people who do not understand or desire the necessary change. Chen and colleagues also reveal issues of capability and environment. This is not my kind of study (I like to hear what people say, rather than count the boxes that they ticked) but it is a very useful piece of work.

Related research: A more challenging survey of director-level udnerstanding of the critical issues

Turel, O., Bart, C., 2013. Board-level IT governance and organizational performance. European Journal of Information Systems.

This study adopted more deeply academic methods of working (much more complicated than the survey-and-statistics approach) and it might look forbidding to the practitioner eye, but it lifts the consideration of management capability higher, the the board of directors. Do directors actually understand what is at hand with IT and IS investments? Not necessarily. This study of 'board-level IT governance (ITG) used a multi-method approach and found that lifting IT and IS issues to board level, and getting them discussed in an informed way, definitely makes for better outcomes. Because the study leaned quite heavily on what respondents actually said in directed conversations about their views, and analysed the content of those conversations with care, I find this kind of research more persuasive.