August 09, 2010, 4:20 PM — Who should lead a business performance management project: IT, finance or both? For Lisa Mullaney, former director of Chiquita's financial planning and analysis group, the answer was clear: "This is an application and a tool set that is owned by finance."
Xena Ugrinsky, senior vice president at systems integrator Titan Technology Partners, concurs. IT's role is to provide the data and set up the hardware, she says. After that's done, IT's participation should drop off. "Those [BPM] applications became popular because they were built for the business community to own and operate without needing IT to own and operate them," she says.
Chiquita CIO Manjit Singh thinks such projects should be jointly led, because neither finance nor IT will get it right on its own.
"When it is IT-driven, you have a better focus on process changes," says Singh, noting that the finance department has the domain expertise and understands how the setup and configuration should work. IT is also good at understanding the system's security needs and the interdependencies between software modules.
Gartner analyst Nigel Raynor takes the middle ground. "You can't have either [organization] leading it exclusively," he says. "At least 50% of implementations of solutions like Hyperion will fail to deliver the broader business benefits if driven by finance, because finance just sees the finance benefits," he says. To benefit the company as a whole, he adds, such projects "should be jointly driven by IT, finance and line-of-business management, typically sales and marketing."