The Often-Overlooked Value of Project Portfolio Management (PPM) in the Digital Enterprise

Posted by on May 21, 2018


Digital transformation is beyond the cutting edge. It’s gone mainstream. Nearly 70 percent of respondents to a 2017 Constellation Research survey said their organization has a defined digital transformation strategy.

As digital transformation has gained momentum, IT has moved from a supporting role to a leading player. You can see evidence of this in a recent upswing in IT spending. In 2017, IT budgets for 469 CIOs grew an astonishing 20 percent overall, according to SIM international.

With this rapid growth in volume of IT projects, it has become all the more critical to select the right projects and to manage each one effectively. And, in a digital economy that moves at lightning speed, there’s less room than ever for IT project failures, late deliveries, or cost overruns—issues that have historically plagued as many as 70 percent of IT projects.

An effective project portfolio management (PPM) solution enables you to dramatically improve your ability to successfully deliver projects and services to the digital enterprise. PPM solutions help you ensure you’re working on the right projects, provide visibility into individual projects (and across your entire project portfolio), support cross functional collaboration, and optimize your resource utilization.

Effective Project Selection and Prioritization

Digital transformation is not a “one and done” deal. You need to innovate continually and deliver incremental value quickly to stay ahead of fast moving competitors. Teams throughout your organization must be empowered to propose new projects as new needs emerge. To quickly evaluate and greenlight the right projects, you need a fast and effective way to field requests and assemble the supporting budget and resource plans—as well as evaluate the associated risks and benefits.

PPM helps you choose the projects that promise the most value in the quickest timeframe. Demand management capabilities allow you to prioritize all the ideas and project requests across your organization so your PMO can execute the right projects at the right time. Teams can evaluate benefits, costs, and risks using a scoring matrix, called a balanced scorecard. And dashboards make it simple to manage requests of all types, enabling teams to easily compare and prioritize project requests.

Increased Project Visibility and Transparency

With traditional project management methods, data is often scattered across siloed, legacy project management systems, as well as spreadsheets, smartsheets and email. This fragmented approach makes it difficult and time consuming to update the status of individual projects—and virtually impossible to track status across a portfolio of projects. As your enterprise accelerates product and project delivery, you don’t have time to wait while project and status information is gathered from multiple sources. Real-time data is essential for making the right decisions quickly.

A PPM solution allows project leaders to see the overall status of all their projects at a glance and then rapidly drill down into the details of any specific project. The system automatically rolls up effort, cost, schedule, and risk information so project managers can easily assess and communicate status through health indicators. The most pressing items and actions appear most prominently.

Cross-Functional Team Collaboration

Cross-functional collaboration is vital to fulfilling the promise of the digital enterprise. Collaboration between IT, sales, marketing, customer service, HR, and other groups has the potential to uncover new opportunities and transform the enterprise. Yet a recent study found that nearly 75 percent of cross functional teams were, in fact, dysfunctional—failing on at least three of the following five criteria: meeting a planned budget, staying on schedule, adhering to specifications, meeting customer expectations, and/or maintaining alignment with the company’s corporate goals.

To improve the workings of cross-functional teams, organizations need to make goals and project status visible to stakeholders across the enterprise. PPM delivers dashboards for demand, resources, and projects at the portfolio, program, or individual level. This visibility enables your team—as well as other teams across the organization—to understand the health and status of any portfolio of projects and instantly see how well the team is doing in advancing its strategic objectives.

Optimal Utilization of Resources

The ability of IT teams to successfully execute projects and deliver services is frequently constrained by the availability of resources, particularly IT staff. Furthermore, these resources are often poorly allocated and managed due to limited or inconsistent visibility into capacity and availability of the people they need. The result is project delays, budget overruns, and subpar outcomes.

It’s vital that you have tools and processes that provide a clear, complete, and accurate view of your most critical resources and enable you to keep the right people working on the right activities at the right times. PPM allows you to evaluate the commitments of organizational roles or specific individuals to ensure there is capacity to complete the work during the desired timeframe.

The digital enterprise is here to stay. IT projects will become ever more critical for improving productivity and maintaining your competitive viability. As your organization ramps up its digital transformation initiatives, project portfolio management solutions can only enhance the success of your efforts. PPM solutions speed delivery by helping you prioritize projects, providing you with a clear view into the status of individual projects and across portfolios, enhancing cross-functional collaboration, and optimizing your use of scarce resources—leading to the kind of outcomes your organization seeks. 

Discover how Cherwell PPM solutions can help you better drive IT projects and solutions during our webinar.

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