Dashboard Insight recently contacted Actuate's Jeff Perkins, who gave us detailed information about his performance management technology, as well as some thoughts on SaaS, open source, etc.
Dashboard Insight: Can you give us a little history on Actuate?
Jeff Perkins: Actuate Corporation, founded in 1993, is dedicated to increasing the richness, interactivity and effectiveness of enterprise data, for everyone, everywhere. Actuate delivers the next-generation RIA (rich internet applications)-ready information platform for both customer and employee-facing applications. The Actuate platform boasts unmatched scalability, high performance, reliability and security. Its proven RIA capabilities and highly collaborative development architecture are backed by the world's largest open source information application developer community, grounded in BIRT (business intelligence and reporting tools), the Eclipse Foundation's only top-level business intelligence and reporting project.
Actuate is a pioneer and leader in open source business intelligence. As a co-leader of the BIRT project, Actuate integrates BIRT technology within its own product line to deliver added value to users of BIRT and bring the innovations of open source to the BI industry.
Global 9000 organizations use Actuate to roll out RIA-enabled customer loyalty and performance management applications that improve customer satisfaction and employee productivity. The company has more than 4,400 customers globally in a diverse range of business areas including financial services and the public sector - many of which have a long history of deploying Actuate-based solutions for dozens, or even hundreds, of their mission-critical applications.
DI: The Actuate Performancesoft Suite, tell us how that solves customers performance management needs?
JP: The Actuate Performancesoft Suite solves customers' performance management needs as it helps businesses drive strategy at all levels, ensures better operational execution and improves decision making. Specific solutions include:
- Achieve improved performance by transforming strategy into an actionable plan, aligned with day-to-day activities and communicated organization-wide
- Automate any operational and strategic performance management framework including: the balanced scorecard (link to section), Malcolm Baldrige, TJC Accreditation (link to healthcare section), and sustainability management
- Seamlessly drill down to lower-level transactional data and investigate the root cause of performance issues for a total view of performance
- Monitor and communicate the performance of strategic initiatives – while locking down and standardizing how these initiatives are executed
- Actively harvest, save and share best practices that can be leveraged to raise performance levels across the organization
- Translate any strategy into tangible metrics, allowing management to make aligned and effective decisions
DI: Is Actuate taking any measures to help companies with their sustainability efforts?
JP: Actuate has its own solution called Actuate for Sustainability Management, which organizations can use to track and measure key sustainability metrics in a user-friendly and customizable format that provides businesses with superior sustainability efforts. The solution enhances sustainability as it is based on Actuate's Performancesoft Suite and Actuate BIRT products, which delivers sustainability scorecards and strategy maps.
Actuate for Sustainability Management takes organizations beyond environmental sustainability by helping identify and respond to social, economic and environmental risks and opportunities. The application has more than 100 built-in metrics available to organizations that help effectively manage and measure key indicators, including employee satisfaction, environmental impact, access to training and education and community engagement.
With Actuate for Sustainability Management, we help our customers to take sustainable thinking to the next level as sustainability means so much more than just "going green" and is proving to be an enduring method of running a successful business. To make an organization truly sustainable over time, managers not only need to consider quantitative metrics like greenhouse gas emissions and water usage, but they also need to be able to identify, measure and report on other more qualitative aspects of their operations such as employee satisfaction and corporate philanthropy.
DI: Are your solutions made for companies that only develop with Java?
JP: Actuate’s offerings are not for companies that only develop with Java. Actuate’s value-added products for BIRT, which is an open source software project providing reporting and business intelligence capabilities for rich client and web applications, can be used in all types of applications.
DI: Tell us about your on-demand SaaS Performance Management Solution.
JP: Actuate’s SaaS performance management solution is OnPerformance and it delivers world-class performance management functionality to companies of all sizes, in any industry through a SaaS model - eliminating the cost and administration hurdles of traditional performance management software implementations.
OnPerformance is a cloud-based version of a fully featured performance management application eliminating the need to buy, install, maintain or upgrade any software or hardware – delivering 24-hour access to your performance management information.
In addition, OnPerformance provides key performance indicators (KPIs) to managers who can positively impact performance. These KPIs are delivered without the burden of lengthy application development. The user-friendly, web-based solution provides a flexible system to address methodologies that include: balanced scorecard, Malcolm Baldrige, and operational performance management initiatives.
DI: What benefits might open source solutions provide for a company’s performance management needs that they can’t get from traditional commercial offerings?
JP: Open source solutions benefit performance management in various ways that exceed traditional offerings with cost and efficiency. Additionally, open source can bring performance management initiatives to market faster for information-based interactive content, scalable applications that keep up with business needs and the ability to develop an application to preserve momentum. Lastly, open source projects consist of large communities of developers which allow performance management initiatives to be integrated with shared resources through said community.
DI: What key customers are using your solutions?
(JP responds with these examples):
Johnson Controls: Johnson Controls is a global leader that brings ingenuity to the places where people live, work and travel.
GlaxoSmithKline: GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies, began automating its existing balanced scorecard using Actuate Performancesoft Views, and looked to track clinical development by country and protocol, as well as tracked performance of outsourced suppliers.
Presbyterian Healthcare Services: is a not-for-profit system of hospitals, a health plan and a growing medical group.
Bombardier: Every day, around the globe, Bombardier manufactures state-of-the-art planes and trains that help people and goods get where they need to go.
US Army Corps of Engineers: The Army Corps of Engineers Huntington District serves five states: West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina. In order to serve the diverse needs of the communities they support, the Huntington Corps consists of both military and civilian resources across many professions, including engineers, business managers, geologists, foresters, community planners, and economists.
DI: Do you offer localized versions for international clients?
JP: Yes. Actuate provides Global 9000 companies with its offerings and supplies localized versions where applicable.
DI: What's the process if someone wanted to evaluate your solutions?
JP: Actuate offers numerous ways in which it evaluate its offerings including:
- Calling your account manager
- Emailing questions
- Viewing online demos and webinars at www.actuate.com and www.birt-exchange.com
- Reading case studies
- Arranging for onsite visits with our staff
- Arranging for online product demonstrations with our staff
- Product bake-offs with competitors
- Day With Actuate
- Proof of Concept
DI: Can you tell us more about your Performance Management Consulting Services?
Businesses can opt for one of a number of onsite packages that deliver a fully operational system in four weeks, or they can choose extended services for larger implementations.
Our team of experts will work with organizations to develop a detailed plan, with a clearly defined and adjustable scope, which allows you to attain your objectives within your desired timeframe.
Through a series of planning sessions, you will be able to easily identify and align areas such as critical indicators, metrics and activities with your specific objectives and performance plan.
Organizations can opt for one of a number of onsite packages which deliver a fully operational system in as little as four weeks, or take advantage of our extended services for larger implementations. The packages include the following:
- Data Acquisition Package
- Strategy Map Development
- Measure Evaluation
- Target Setting
- Gaining Buy-in for your Performance Management Initiative
- Best Practices in Performance Management
Vice President and General Manager
Performance Management Solutions
With a solid background in systems engineering, product management, sales and sales management, Jeff Perkins oversees the worldwide Performance Management Solutions team at Actuate. After spending eight successful years as Performancesoft’s Chief Technology Officer, Jeff, a 13-year performance management software veteran, now works closely with Actuate’s engineering and product management groups to ensure that all Actuate Operational Performance Management products remain the most innovative and user-friendly tools on the market.