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The Winds of Digital Change Are Howling

This year’s Gartner PPM Summit was held just outside of Dallas, TX, in early June. One of the highlights of the event was the standing room-only presentation by UMT360 client Frank LaRocca about how PMOs need to adjust their methods to adapt to a changing business environment.

The wild local weather that passed through the area just before the event was a fitting prelude to an event with the theme “Thriving In Digital Chaos”. As Frank’s presentation makes clear, this chaos has savvy PMOs innovating to keep up with the pace of their businesses. A few other take-aways from the event include:

Those Storm clouds have a silver lining

Gartner’s message was unmistakable. They see the clouds of a powerful digital storm beginning to form on the horizon. This coming digital chaos presents challenges for any PMO that doesn’t embrace change. It also presents an amazing opportunity for PMOs willing to take a leading role in architecting the new Digital Business. But that opportunity will only come to those that acknowledge and adjust to these new digital realities.

Everyone else is spending IT’s budget!

We’ve all seen more and more budget shifting from IT to the business for years now. By the end of 2017, Gartner predicts that about 50% of IT-related spend is projected to occur outside of the IT domain! For PMOs wishing for the good old days when IT controlled all tech spend, this is the very definition of chaos. But it’s a reality that can’t be simply wished away. And it’s just one of the many things PMOs must adjust to in this new digital landscape.

The path to PMO success? Fail fast!

It wasn’t long ago that PMO success was tied to simply delivering projects on time and within budget. These days, it seems that lots of ideas/projects/programs are thrown against the wall to see which ones will stick. With budgets tight, it’s more important than ever to quickly identify ill-conceived programs and kill poor performing initiatives before they consume any more budget and resources. In other words, you’re going to have some failures, so you’d better learn to fail fast.

Plant both feet firmly in parallel universes

The rise of bi-modal IT means the PMO must be equipped to support both waterfall and agile methodologies. It’s a schizophrenic world in which “Old-school” PPM methodologies are still required to support traditional mission-critical projects and programs. But new PPM approaches are also needed to keep up with the agile engines of innovation. But one thing doesn’t ever change… the coherent execution of strategy will always be the core mission for every PMO.

Adopt a more enterprise-focused mindset

The traditional PMO must transform into an enterprise-focused PMO. An enterprise PMO takes strategic responsibility for managing and optimizing all enterprise investments, regardless of where they originate. It’s a critical role that is key to orchestrating business transformation and performance.

New thinking + new tools = better results

PMOs have no choice but to adapt to the digital chaos and adopt new approaches for aligning both operational and strategic execution with strategy. This requires tools that augment your current PPM platform to create a comprehensive snapshot of business capabilities, products, IT assets and programs/investments. This gives the PMO a complete and integrated view of how all aspects of a business map to strategy. Innovative tools and techniques can help the organization build road maps, visualize strategic plans and assess the impact of investments. Armed with deeper insight, decisions that used to take months can now be made on-the-fly, with budget and resources dynamically reallocated in response to ever-changing conditions.

How is the coming digital chaos impacting your organization? What steps are you taking to adapt?

Ben Chamberlain

Ben Chamberlain is the Chief Product Officer and is responsible for the strategic direction and worldwide go-to-market activities for UMT360’s Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM) software solutions. He is an accomplished enterprise software executive with more than a decade of experience of building innovative SPM solutions that have helped global 2000 companies drive business transformation and increase their business agility. Ben joined UMT in 2002 and was responsible for the in-market success of UMT Portfolio Manager which was acquired by Microsoft in 2006. Ben has a degree in Business and Sports Science from Surrey University (UK).