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Discussing Performance Management trends and topics with Børge Obel, Director of ICOA, Aarhus School of Business, Denmark


The KPI Institute’s presence at the 2014 PMA Conference, held in Aarhus, Denmark, gave the PERFORMANCE Magazine team the opportunity to access valuable insights from some of the most highly skilled and experienced academics and practitioners in the field of Performance Management.

One of the interviewed academics is Professor Børge Obel, head of the Interdisciplinary Center for Organizational Architecture at the Aarhus School of business.

Professor Obel spoke about what organizational architecture means and how it can improve the work flow – performance wise.

Mentioning some of the big research projects, and sharing his views on what challenges and future trends are emerging within the field, the head of ICOA referred to lessons learned from the healthcare sector.

Discussing challenges in implementing performance management systems, Professor Obel mentioned:

  • Aligning the various parts of an organization to create a better performance;
  • Multiple measures one needs to align to.

His advices for an efficient system are the following:

  • Optimizing a system as a whole: KPIs, workflow, consumer satisfaction, economic performance etc;
  • Recreate information and measurement systems for real-time tracking;
  • Aggregating and analyzing performance in a multidimensional system.

Inquired about companies or businesses that are recommendable as a best practice, Professor Obel mentions the Danish company Vestas, due to their integration of maintenance and service in the production process. The implication found here, for business and performance management, is the fact that the actual performance can be measured 24/7, not merely the product’s performance, in Mr. Obel’s opinion.

Another example he provided was that of the new tennis equipment, which records and measures performance in real-time.

Professor Obel expressed his fascination and reticence towards performance measurement in daily life, referring to the ethics and utility of gathering and measuring such data.

Stressing the ease with which data can be gathered today, he stated that high ethics needs to govern over the usage and collection of data, especially when discussing about personal performance.

Signaling emerging trends, advice and new types of business models, he states:

  • “The key to good company performance is to be able to manage your people right”;
  • Top management decision promotes the right performance management system;
  • “Measure the whole system and not only the parts that you can control”.

From his research activity, Professor Obel outlines a few future trends within the field:

  • Measuring performance in real-time, and not making decisions on historic data;
  • Concurrent analytics and algorithms for data gathering and processing;
  • Educating people that have the analytic skills to work with big data, concurrent analytics and understand the business modelling.
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