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What are BI and CPM – and Which Should You Choose?

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For an organization to manage their performance, they need to be able to interact with their data in meaningful ways. Business Intelligence (BI) solutions focus on information delivery, while Corporate Performance Management (CPM) platforms are more robust, with access to deeper planning and reporting tools. While CPM and BI can often look very similar, as both regularly feature interactive dashboards, the two are very different. As organizations determine their needs, some may opt just for a purely BI solution, but is that really enough?

What are BI and CPM?

First, we need to understand the difference between the two. BI systems’ main use is data collection and organization, then serving that information as a visualization or dashboard. These visualizations are generally customizable, and they communicate previously collected historical data very effectively. BI allows analysis of what has already happened, such as over the course of an initiative or the lifetime of your organization.

Planning for the future, however, requires tools that BI platforms are not designed for. Corporate performance management platforms are built with planning, forecasting, and decision-making in mind. For example, a CPM solution can allow you to create forecasted numbers based on your historical data, then compare your forecasts and goals with actuals as they happen. A fleshed-out CPM platform will often contain built-in business intelligence capabilities or connections, such as a dashboard component, but it picks up planning where BI stops.

Capabilities of Each

Microsoft Teams
Business Intelligence vs Performance Management capabilities.

Operating your business with only a BI platform, while providing some key benefits, leaves much detail on the table:

  • No planning and budgeting – shows you the data you already have, but can’t provide insights into what’s happening next
  • Inability to see the bigger-picture – no integration of multiple sources of data into one source of truth
  • No ability to adapt – with no way to visualize multiple future scenarios, your plans are inflexible to crises or developments
  • Lack of context – showing only the end result of complex scenarios leaves room for misinterpretation
  • Difficulty creating accurate reporting outlines – Can’t provide enough dimensions to generate statements that can act as bona fide reporting documents

With these limitations, you will have to use other tools to complete your business’ reporting and planning. You can turn to basic spreadsheets, which share some of the same downfalls BI has. However, another option is an analytics solution that has answers to those issues:

  • Insight – forecasts based on your history
  • Holism – brings together data about different products, departments, or entities
  • Agility – informs for quick pivots when new information arises
  • Context – provides drill-down to see behind the big-picture
  • Reporting – utilizes all necessary dimensions to create usable reports
Demand Review
Planning in a CPM solution.

Still, many CPM solutions fill in where BI lacks but don’t contain adequate built-in BI components themselves. This, again, requires the use of additional resources, which means users must maintain multiple platforms with multiple processes and interfaces. Users must analyze data in different locations than they are planning in, creating missing contexts, data inconsistency, and general inefficiency.

You Need Both in One Solution

Integrating corporate performance management and business intelligence onto a single purpose-built platform, such as one offered by Kepion, is what is needed for a more efficient process for your organization’s planning. Kepion provides real-time reports and dashboards within the context of your business process. Acting as a single point for integration, all data is the same no matter what platform it originated from. Kepion also provides users the ability to collaborate in real time on dynamic business processes, such as budgeting, forecasting, and reporting. While Kepion currently supports integration with Microsoft platforms, like Power BI, it can also integrate with other tools, such as Tableau. Learn from a partner of Kepion, Alpine Consulting Partners, on how companies integrate their Tableau directly into Kepion and take advantage of Tableau’s reporting and analytics power.

While BI is powerful on its own, you need a CPM solution to take full advantage of your data, preferably an all-in-one solution like Kepion. Doing your analyzing, planning, and reporting in the same place cuts out inefficiency and room for error. You can set up a demo with Kepion today to get started making more confident decisions business decisions for you organization.