Expert Interview – Paolo Panza, Performance Manager, Ericsson Network Services, Italy
For the report Performance Management in 2013, The KPI Institute conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with practitioners, academics and consultants from 18 countries, who offered a detailed image of Performance Management as a discipline in the analyzed year.
An important editorial rule followed in the development of the content is that a discipline can only evolve through the combined efforts of practitioners, academics and consultants. Paolo Panza, Performance Manager at Ericsson Network Services, Italy was one of the practitioners that The KPI Institute interviewed.
1. What does the term Performance Management mean to you?
Performance Management (PM) has to provide to the managers of the company, not necessarily ICT managers only, the information to take decisions.
2. What drives interest in Performance Management?
PM must identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) required by the objectives of the company. PM should use methods and models agreed between the parties: who is measured and who measures. PM must perform the setup and the monitoring of KPIs. PM needs to improve internal processes of the company, or between customer and supplier, for example in an outsourcing contract.
3. What are your thoughts on the relationship between Performance Management at organizational, departmental and individual level?
Depending on the company’s size and organization, PM must clarify the cooperation among the actors that participate to the KPI measurement. For example in for ICT KPIs must look at ITIL best practice, realizing simple processes or procedural behaviors to match and harmonize the communications between the actors. We can imagine PM like a Project Management Office present in the company in the department with strategic functions (relational or Internet like connections).
4. What are 2013 key trends in Performance Management from your point of view?
PM must consolidate its function in the company by getting recognition of its role in decision making processes. To obtain this, PM must standardize the main functions of KPIs process: setup and monitoring.
5. What aspects of Performance Management should be explored more through research?
BIG DATA and ICT KPIs (not only) must be explored. In particular I’d like to explore the automation of KPI production and the construction of algorithms to perform correlation between the KPIs and the setting or self-correcting of Service Level Agreement (SLA) if defined. A good cooperation with University must be settled.
6. Which companies would you recommend to be looked at due to their particular approach to Performance Management and subsequent results?
I think that today there are few companies that use Performance Management to build ICT projects with less human discretion. In particular during the cost-benefit analysis of an ICT project there is no adequate quantitative control: I invest X money to have Y performance improvements or Z cost reduction. Still too many companies talk about SLA and not KPI method. We need to pay attention to the companies that deal with KPIs but in reality these companies have jurisdiction only of SLA.
7. Which are main challenges of Performance Management in practice today?
For ICT PM the main challenge is to persuade ICT managers that it is important to govern the ICT processes and projects with KPIs, not only with specific ICT KPIs (direct ones) but also with business e2e KPIs (indirect ones). These KPIs must be produced automatically by ICT systems with minimal human post processing. ICT managers need to accept the challenge of being measured with these kinds of KPIs.
8. What do you think should be improved in the use of Performance Management tools and processes?
9. What would you consider best practice in Performance Management?
PM best practice is to standardize the KPI production and monitoring, addressing properly loss of performance to the KPIs owners, activating quickly the decision for improvement plans.
10. Which aspects of Performance Management should be emphasized during educational programs?
Performance Management produces KPIs technical measures to allow people to talk to each other. If KPIs are correctly used and on time, they reduce conflict because they clarify the responsibilities and the consequent actions. KPIs are a very powerful method, not only a tool to accelerate decisions to reach or modify rapidly business objectives.
11. Which are the limits in order to achieve higher levels of proficiency in Performance Management among practitioners?
I think that cultural constraints and the natural law of inertia are the principal limits that reduce the achievement of the objectives or introduce a serious delay, thereby jeopardizing the objectives themselves.
12. If you are to name in few words the main aspects governing Performance Management today, what would they be?
PM has an important role during a setup of an ICT environment or a transformation. It is fundamental to govern ICT projects through quantitative indicators outside of ambiguous interpretations of the actors participating in the ICT projects.
13. Which are the recent achievements in generating value as result of Performance Management put in practice in your organization?
The governance of outsourcing contracts in the different phases of the project through KPI methods has allowed to properly define the goal of the activities, to monitor the trends of the quality of services, identifying the process and organizational weaknesses.
For more interviews with professionals from all around the world, access Performance Management in 2013