Will there come a time when business performance management is no longer fashionable? Will it join the list of office fads that came and left without warning or will it continue to dominate the business practice colleges? This is an issue to consider because prudent managers always plan for the future. A few decades ago, many of the business theories that are so entrenched were not in existence. However they are now part and parcel of the fabric of the business world.
I happen to believe that business performance management is here to stay and it will stay for a very long time. First of all people always need to be managed. There is no way I can envisage a time when all employees are efficient and there is no need for a manager to keep reminding them of company policy or objectives. Nevertheless it has to be recognized that some of the new innovations will have an impact on how performance management is carried out.
Collaborative technology has the potential to completely turn round the concept of working. The idea of working from remote locations will become a widely accepted practice, and many organizations will be willing to harness the new technology in order to expand their workforce. Performance management data will them also be more readily available to managers.
Technology transforms the way we do business by replacing some of the human frailties with the impersonal efficiency of a computer. Will this cause a backlash that will push customers back to traditional method of doing business? It did happen with credit facilities and non-organic foods. Managers should not be surprised that in the face of increased computerization, customers start going to organizations that can provide a human touch.
The narrowing of geographical boundaries through travel and telecommunication advancement like web conferencing facilities will mean that many old ways of performance management will become obsolete. The team meeting and the one to one session might be rendered completely useless by the entry of migrant workers who may not even be within the location of the company.
This is an opportunity for companies to find new ways of competing and horning their own performance management techniques. The larger companies will lead the way because they have the knowledge and the resources to be able to launch initiatives in facing ever changing environment. The small business will have to catch up or else it could be on the endangered species.
On a very fundamental basis, performance management is about people and I believe it can and should remain about people. All the technology and the new techniques mean that there is a support mechanism to help those who have to deal with people and make judgments on how to best manage them.
It seems to me quite difficult to conceive a situation when computers will completely replace human discretion at the heart of business performance management. Perhaps I am not using my imagination well but somehow that seems like a highly improbable scenario. What is more likely to happen is a great co-operation between the technology and business managers.