How We Chose the Best Business Performance Management Software
With business performance management (BPM) software, organizations have the ability to use proven methods to formulate strategies that improve how their business is managed. When people talk about methodologies, such as Six Sigma or EFQM Excellence modeling, it indicates that the company has data it can process and visualize in ways that drive its decision-making process to grow profits. For many, performance management is a meeting of business intelligence and strategic tools. For the software solution to be considered the best choice to guide a company’s performance, there are certain criteria it must meet.
Performance Management Features
Some of the features of the best BPM software solutions help businesses identify key internal function outcomes. This makes data collection and analysis crucial, because they provide the necessary feedback to managers and executives. We looked for solutions with a healthy list of features that facilitate strategic planning, scorecarding and predictive analytics to help organizations see into the future and mitigate damaging risks.
All that must be analyzed needs to come from somewhere. That’s why BPMs that integrate with other ERPs, CRMs or other tools are key. Dedicated connectors that smoothly import structured and unstructured data are essential components for performance management software.
Reporting used to be about graphs and tables. While these are still important, being able to drill down and get to the heart of what you see is why some performance management tools outshine others. In addition, the ability to segment reports by organizational roles ensures that the right insight is put in the hands of the people who can use it to take action.
The 10 Best Business Performance Management Software Options of 2021
Anaplan is a cloud-based business performance management software tool that uses real-time scenario planning and forecasting to help businesses perform better. The platform is powered by Hyperblock, its proprietary architecture that’s capable of ultra-fast calculations and flexible multidimensional modeling that shows potential, impactful moves organizations can make to improve. Some additional features include:
- Comparing and calculating the relationships between connected models and scenarios
- Securing on-demand reports and dashboards
- Feature-rich analysis based on collaborative insights
- Linking multiple forecasts and insights for better decision making
- Getting financial and operational insights with the help of scorecards across different business locations
- Automated email alerts
- Anaplan Data Hub for centralized analysis and planning
With the Anaplan Connect API, users can connect to third-party services, such as Power BI Desktop, DocuSign and Boomi, which has a library of connectors that further extends Anaplan’s capabilities.
|Quote-based||Demo||>Real-time scenario updates
>Link multiple forecasts
>Compare, connect and calculate scenarios
>More features at Anaplan
Pros & Cons of Anaplan Business Performance Management Software
|>Missing syntax helper
>No free trial
BetterWorks is an HR solution that bills itself as a powerful continuous performance management application. It’s built to support organizations that use OKR and S.M.A.R.T, methodologies. Along with continuous feedback in the BetterWork system, these methodologies help managers motivate and recognize employees, while tracking progress towards business growth. Some features include:
- Real-time insights into employee performance
- Tracking and keeping employees accountable about goal OKRs
- Confidentially gather and capture insights into career development
- Templates to support HR managers
- Scheduling and incorporating peer feedback
BetterWorks integrates with your company’s HRIS for added security and easy data transfer. There’s integration with Slack, which allows for better collaboration and private communications. Other integration options include Outlook and BambooHR.
After the free demo, pricing for the Team Edition is either $8 per user, per month with annual billing or $10 per user, per month with quarterly billing for between five and 250 licenses.
$8/user/month (billed annually)
$10/user/month (billed quarterly)
>Integrations with popular applications for better communication
>Templates for support
>More features at BetterWorks
Pros & Cons of BetterWorks Business Performance Management Software
|>More communication and transparency|
|>No free trial|
The BI360 Suite from Solver Global provides cloud management software for corporations. It’s specifically focused on financial managers and has four modules, Data Warehouse, Planning, Reporting and Dashboards. With the ability to share information between users, all users are able to make better-informed decisions that can bring down operational costs and increase plan implementations. BI360 gives a complete view of the organization, and some of its features include:
- Designing and reporting templates with a cloud-connected Excel add-in
- Automated budgeting and forecasting with real-time approval
- Maximized analysis and decision making with direct Power BI integration
- Secure centralized data warehouse storage for better collaboration
- Automated financial budgets and forecasts based on past data
- Real-time reporting process with drill-down
- Dashboards that help unify important assets and visualize trends
Along with Power BI, BI360 integrates with leading business applications, such as NetSuite and QuickBooks.
BI360 Suite provides a demo upon request, and the monthly cost starts at $312 per user.
|Starts at $312/month/user||Demo||>Real-time reporting with drill-down
>Automated budgets and forecasts
>Centralized data warehousing
>More features at BI360 Suite
Pros & Cons of BI360 Suite Business Performance Management Software
|>Powerful for budgeting and forecasting|
|>Tough to navigate at first
>High monthly price
Board is an all-in-one business performance management application that also includes business intelligence, simulation and analytics. It manages solutions for various operations within an organization, including marketing and supply chain management for stronger cohesion. Its features include:
- Intuitive drag-and-drop interface for self-service analytics and planning
- Interactive search functionality that works across screens
- Defining logical business rules to model typical processes
- A single environment for users to building and running their applications
- Creating consistent, personalized access from different environments
- Faster calculations thanks to HBMP, Board’s in-memory technology
- Allocation models for simulation
- Multilayer security for better adaptations
- ERP database write-back of outcomes and better system integration
Data Fast Track is Board’s native data discovery tool that’s responsible for automation. It’s able to pick up on potential relationships and create reports that can be customized later by users. Board also has a dedicated SAP connector that’s available upon request for access, and Board Web Services helps the software integrate with certain external applications, including legacy systems. Companies can request a free demo and a quote for the application’s cost.
|Quote-based||Demo||>Intuitive drag-and-drop interface
>HBMP in-memory technology
>ERP database write-back
>More features at Board
Pros & Cons of Board Business Performance Management Software
|>Fast calculations and process development|
|>Challenging for developers because it’s no-code
>No free trial
CCH Tagetik is a corporate performance management platform from Wolters Kluwer that’s built for financial planning, budgeting, consolidation and reporting. It’s an all-in-one cloud-based or on-premises solution that works to optimize performance with powerful agile planning.
It’s useful for helping companies have shorter cycles and for lowering the total cost of ownership, TCO, by making smarter, less risky decisions. CCH Tagetik eliminates the manual repetitive tasks and associated errors that abound when dealing with disparate data sources. Its features include:
- Real-time continuous planning with access to granular, in-depth data
- Driver-based simulations and built-in automation
- What-if analysis for measuring margins and improvement on P&L and cash flow
- Better visualization with dynamic scorecards and dashboards
- Integration planning for precise projections and KPI assessments
- Long- and short-term cash management simulations
With the use of AI and machine learning, CCH Tagetik uses multidimensional modeling to help businesses see and capitalize on possible opportunities within individual departments or their industry. The application has advanced simulations for users to draw from, including heat and geo mapping. The application integrates with SAP, Microsoft and Qlik, and has the ability to connect with other ERP, CRM or source systems.
|Custom Quote||Demo||>Real-time continuous planning
>More features at CCH Tagetik
Pros & Cons of CCH Tagetik Business Performance Management Software
|>Single environment for reconciliation and simulation|
>Fast, robust system
|>Pricing isn’t listed online
>No free trial
Close Management Software
Close Management Software from FloQast is a tool that’s created by and for accounting professionals. It automates accounting workflow and creates more streamlined operations, especially when it comes to improving SOX compliance and shortening close time. FloQast has a number of basic and advanced features, including:
- Centralized process documentation for consistency
- Automatically roll-forward of necessary documents for auditing compliance
- Collaboration, tracking and reviewing of the close
- AI-automated reconciliations
- Using historical financial data for identifying trends and improving accountability
- Improving workload allocation to reduce bottlenecks and gaps
- Detailed reports with real-time insights and realistic scheduling
Close Management has direct ERP integrations with Oracle, SAP and other mainstream applications and supports multiple trial balances. Data is refreshed automatically, and the software provides notifications when balances are off. It also integrates with hundreds of other accounting applications.
There’s a free demo available, and for companies that need a minimum of six licenses, the Business Starter bundle costs $999 per month plus $129 per month for additional users. Corporate Starter costs $1,349 per month, plus $149 for additional users. The Enterprise bundle is ideal for companies with geographically dispersed teams and pricing is by custom quote. All bundles are billed annually.
|Business Starter Bundle: $999/month|
Corporate Starter Bundle: $1,349/month
Enterprise: Contact for pricing
>More features at FloQast
Pros & Cons of Close Management Software
|>Streamlined close cycle for easier monitoring|
>Time-saving email alerts
|>High monthly price
>No free trial
Corporater is a business management platform that specializes in governance, performance, risk, compliance and GPRC. This integrated solution provides corporations with the opportunity to streamline processes, manage risks and provide visibility for stakeholders. It’s an adaptable platform that can grow with the organization while keeping it accountable at all stages. Some of its features include:
- Data dashboards and scorecards that provide contextualized analysis
- Complex business rule modeling
- Automating budgeting workflow and consolidate financial results
- Automatic and manual data collection with access control
- Reporting engine that integrates with business modeling layer
- Central management of all projects and activities
- Creation of project and activity apps for monitoring performance and visualizing expected outcomes
- Aligning individual employee goals, targets and timelines for more accountability
Corporater provides the framework for businesses to create their own solutions. The software has more than 250 objects, such as Gantt charts and employee dashboards, that are configurable without coding. The company partnered with Microsoft to integrate Power BI into the software for deeper insights. There’s a free demo available, and pricing is provided by custom quote.
|Quote-based||Demo||>Centralized project management
>Reporting engine and business modeling integration
>Data dashboards and scorecards
>More features at Corporater
Pros & Cons of Corporater Business Performance Management Software
|>Great visibility at different management levels|
>More transparency and accountability
|>May be cost-prohibitive for smaller businesses
>Limited third-party integrations
DataRails is an AI-driven financial analytics platform designed for finance professionals. It’s designed to rid companies of data silos and enable better insights. The software uses machine learning to analyze complex data and consolidate it for better insights. The improved data integrity and comprehensive capabilities DataRails provides make it easy for companies to adhere to industry regulations, such as SOX and DFAST. Some of the platform’s features include:
- Process automation that reduces human error and more accurate forecasting
- Auto backup and version management
- Real-time data for quick comparisons and adjustments
- Performing variance, vertical and horizontal analyses along with line-item drill-downs
- Centralized control and management
- Cell-level audit trail to see changes over time
- Customizable web-based dashboards and what-if modeling
- Speedy information extraction for ad-hoc reporting
- Monitor and track deadlines
- Data loss prevention
- What-if scenario analysis
DataRails extends its functionality by integrating with other business intelligence platforms, such as Tableau, Qlik and Sage, to name a few. There’s a free demo available, but businesses have to request a quote for pricing.
|Quote-based||Demo||>Real-time data for quick adjustments
>More features at DataRails
Pros & Cons of DataRails Business Performance Management Software
|>Saves time and is responsive|
|>Pricing isn’t listed online
>No free trial
IBM Planning Analytics
IBM Planning Analytics is an enterprise performance management platform that creates a single repository for a company’s data. It’s proprietary planning solution engine, TM1, is an OLAP in-memory database that aims to help companies keep up with the numerous changes in digital business transformation. Its key features include:
- Customizable web-based interface for performance measuring and monitoring
- Viewing KPIs and creating scorecards and dashboards
- Integrating data sources into one single source
- Real-time data access for more accurate reporting
- Collaborating and syncing with team members in different locations
- Automated workflow for process visibility
- Custom scorecards and automated visualizations to track KPIs
- What-if scenarios to see the business impact
- Building multidimensional models and using attribute data to conduct analyses
Users can import data into IBM Planning Analytics from Cognos and SAP with the help of the TM1 TurboIntegrator. There’s a 30-day free trial, and for those who want to continue, pricing starts at $45 per month.
|Starting at $45/month||30-day trial||>Automated workflow
>Custom scorecards and automated visualizations
>More features at IBM
Pros & Cons of IBM Planning Analytics Business Performance Management Software
|>Robust NLP and great cognitive processing|
>Scalable and great reporting
|>Limited integration options|
KPI Fire is a strategy execution software that’s geared more toward midsize and larger companies that are focused on creating and supporting a lean culture within companies. Executives come up with strategic goals, which are broken down into smaller goals for each department or unit. They can tackle these objectives with the help of KPI Fire’s Strategy Execution solution. The software’s features include:
- Strategic planning methods including Hoshin Kanri and Balanced Scorecard
- Idea funnel for aligning goals and prioritizing projects
- Real-time updates on teams, departments and projects
- Colorful X-Matrix and Bowling Charts to see goal status
- Dashboards to show KPIs and actions needed
- Idea generator to turning ideas into overall strategy with goals and projects
- Create detailed workflows that include timesheets, assignment, and priority
KPI Fire works with Zapier, which allows users to work with hundreds of apps, including SQL and SAP. Companies can also create a KPI Fire setup within Microsoft Teams. A free demo is available and after that, it starts at $19/month billed annually.
|$19/month, billed annually||Demo||>Idea funnels for goal alignment
>Create detailed workflows
>More features at KPI Fire
Pros & Cons of KPI Fire Business Performance Management Software
|>Encourages employee participation|
>Companies can see their goals
|>No free trial
>Lacks predictive analytics
What Is Business Performance Management Software?
Also called corporate or enterprise performance management, business performance management software is a tool that uses metrics, methodologies, processes and systems to track and manage an organization’s continuous growth. It’s able to translate all of the structured and unstructured data and create complex analyses that give teams insight into potential outcomes and opportunities.
Popular types of performance management software include:
- EIS: This is the executive information system that provides a visualized account of the organization’s overall performance.
- On-premises: This software is deployed at the business site and can be further tailored to suit its needs
- Packaged: This type of BPM software gives a good 360-degree view of the business operations. It measures metrics to improve the company’s financial standing, accountability and operational efficiency.
- Cloud-based: These options are easier to deploy and typically cost less than on-premises solutions.
BPM Versus BI
The term “business intelligence,” or “BI,” is often used interchangeably with business performance management software, so it’s important to understand the difference between the two. Business intelligence software gathers disparate data and organizes it in reports and dashboards. That output is what allows BPM software users to create comparisons with other types of data, such as financial and strategic movement. Then, corporations are able to visualize how certain performances affect the company’s overall health, and what they can do to shift and hit strategic goals.
BPM software uses BI data to better plan, control and manage KPIs to meet overall objectives, making it far more complex and a stronger source of information.
Benefits of Business Performance Management Software
Using business performance management software allows an organization to gather trustworthy data and make sound decisions and plans. Cleaning up the data that comes from several sources and trying to weed out duplicates is an intensive process if you don’t have the right business performance management software in place. Here are some additional benefits to consider:
- Timely and accurate information: BPM software allows executives and managers to use up-to-date and accurate information infused with meaningful metrics. This provides a solid basis for future decision making.
- Streamlined process automation: Manually cleaning up data takes a lot of work, and this cuts into productivity. Implementing the right business performance management application creates more streamlined, automated workflows that are all about reducing human error and freeing up valuable time.
- Greater financial visibility: With an idea of how much money is associated with operations, the finance team has the data it needs to create models for more accurate forecasts.
- Increased control and decreased operational risk: Security comes from having your data in one centralized location with specific permissions and integrations. With that system in place, stakeholders are more likely to trust the information, and it’s easier to get buy-ins when needed.
Must-Have Features of Business Performance Management Software
The purpose of BPM is to support an organization’s planning and analysis. Some of the key features it needs are:
- Planning and forecasting: With the ability to plan and forecast based on reliable data you’re able to create goals that align with what’s happening in your company and industry.
- Reporting and analytics: Top-notch enterprise business performance management software integrates financial reporting and visualizations and includes customized dashboards that reflect key KPIs.
- Workflow and process management: Managing workflows and real-time updates for different divisions and units.
- Easy-to-use interface: All software has a learning curve, but the length and stiffness of that curve depends on how easy the interface is to use. BPM software should offer easy navigation and intuitive layouts that don’t make users guess.
- Integration: The software should provide seamless functionality that integrates vital functions and data sources into the system so it’s all in one secure place.
The Cost of Business Performance Management Software
Most business performance management software solutions use a tiered plan that specifies a monthly cost per user license. Pricing varies, and starts at less than $10 per user, per month. Some vendors charge a flat fee for a certain number of user licenses per month. In those cases, providers may charge a fee per additional individual license after that minimum, or they may charge you a little less for another similar block of licenses. For those that are read-only, the cost is generally cheaper. With some BPM solutions, you have to request a custom quote.
On top of any monthly charges, be prepared to pay implementation fees that range from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars.