UMT360 Blog

Blog Posts from the Leader in Enterprise Portfolio Management

Archive for March, 2014

Adopting a Dual Investment System

Written by Ben Chamberlain on March 31st, 2014 at 2:31 pm

When it comes to aligning investments with company strategy, organizations need to take a hard look at their existing system for managing investments.  The current business operating system includes products and services, and capabilities such as processes and assets.  What’s needed is an additional investment system capable of addressing both rapid change and challenges created by competition.  The second investment system, comprised of an investment portfolio, will continually assess the business, industry and the organization and will react with greater agility, speed and creativity than the existing PPM process.

There are three main principles of this dual investment system:

  1. Two systems, one organization
    The business operating and enterprise investment systems must be inseparable with a constant flow of information and collaboration.
  2. Greater financial management
    Financial management must go beyond project management and accountability to a completion plan.
  3. Many moving parts, not just the project and its tasks
    To move more quickly and link the business operating and investment systems, you must have more people than ever before collaborating and involved in the strategic game change.

To learn more about the differences between a project and product-focus and the benefits of adopting a product-based approach, read UMT360 CEO Mike Gruia’s complimentary whitepaper Should You Shift from a Project to Product-Based Investment Approach now available here.

UMT360 Provides a Better View of Project Financials

Written by Ben Chamberlain on March 31st, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Fortune 500 manufacturer of agricultural and farming equipment, AGCO, was having trouble base-lining their portfolio every year.  The issues associated with identifying just what they had in their portfolio sent the company in search of an enterprise PPM solution.   For portfolio management, they had been relying on what amounted to an Excel dump of the data; issues and risks were maintained in Excel but didn’t connect to the portfolio, and reporting was done in in PowerPoint requiring project managers to spend countless hours score-carding and updating PowerPoints for various audiences.

AGCO selected Microsoft Project Server for its PPM with UMT360 on top of it to address two key priorities – providing the financial management and configurable workflows they needed.  UMT360 also provided them with a range of new capabilities including robust investment management, aggregation, project budget/forecast/actuals, benefits planning and realization, data import, change management and financial reporting.  The company says with the visibility UMT360 provides, it’s been able to dramatically enhance its understanding of project financials and, of particular interest to the CIO, is the portfolio view that includes all projects with the ability to filter the data in numerous ways such as by cost or region.  They’re now focusing on applying some of new capabilities that came with UMT360 such as benefits management.  Click here to read more about AGCO’s experience.

Interested in learning more about UMT360?  Contact us today for more information or to schedule a free demo.

What’s Driving Benefits Realization?

Written by Ben Chamberlain on March 28th, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Today’s businesses are moving away from a focus on measuring project results and towards a focus on business benefits.  Senior managers want to know how investments align with business metrics and will impact the business.   There’s a lot of discussion about organizations instituting benefits realization frameworks to ensure investments deliver real business value.   As organizations begin to build a benefits realization framework, they need to be aware of the elements that will influence its success.

  1. Investments Driven by Business Objectives:  An organization with an investment strategy driven by objectives will first look at business perspective and goals then shop for investments which will meet those objectives.
  2. Relevant Business Case:  The business case helps ensure the right investments are funded.  A thorough and accurate business case will address the dependency of outcomes on cost or revenue based drivers.
  3. The Benefits Realization Process and Governance:  Rather than focusing on an isolated project, start thinking in terms of portfolios, the full project management lifecycle and accountability for benefits realization.
  4. Reliable Metrics:  Know what’s going on throughout the project, asset or product lifecycle and be in control of those investments.
  5. Technology Capable of Digitalizing Aspects of Benefits Realization:  Improving processes and motivation isn’t enough to improve benefits realization.  Powerful software solutions are needed to aggregate metrics at program and portfolio levels, deliver the business case and enable process and governance.

Knowing what will help benefits realization succeed, businesses can move forward with an audit of their existing system to see where improvements should be made.  A change will likely be required to move from a system which has long said it is measuring project success to one which looks at the bigger picture, the portfolio view, and works to ensure projects and investments deliver true business value.

Want to know more about Benefits Realization?  Read UMT360 CEO Mike Gruia’s white paper, The Benefits Realization Crisis, for a look at how organizations should get started.  Click here to download.

Three Hurdles to Benefits Realization

Written by Ben Chamberlain on March 25th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

A recent UMT360 webinar on Project and Portfolio Financial Controls for Project Server included discussion of the need for a benefits realization framework.  It’s a topic of intense interest as businesses focus on getting the most out of their investments. Executives want to be assured that they’re getting 100% of the benefits promised and that those benefits are being delivered when expected. So, what’s keeping businesses from realizing benefits?

In working with clients over the years, UMT360 has seen clear themes emerge as to why businesses fail to achieve investment benefits. Most seem to face three main hurdles.

  1. Stakeholder Involvement, Commitment and Engagement
    In many cases, once a project is funded, no one is responsible for benefits realization. There has to be accountability, a clear vision and agreement on objectives.
  2. Lack of a Proven Benefits Realization Process
    No one understands how to manage the benefits lifecycle or there’s a lack of management support for a formal benefits realization process.
  3. Uncertainty
    Market conditions, scope and resources change along with the inherent challenges associated with defining and managing soft or non-financial benefits.

Benefits realization is key to ensuring businesses get the expected payoff from investments. Learn more about how to get started with Benefits Realization by reading UMT360 CEO Mike Gruia’s white paper The Benefits Realization Crisis.  Click here to download.   Did you miss the webinar?  Click here to view it and learn how Adding Project and Portfolio Financial Controls to Microsoft Project Server can help you realize more ROI from your PPM investment.

Project & Portfolio Financial Controls for Microsoft Project Server

Written by Ben Chamberlain on March 21st, 2014 at 8:00 am

In March, UMT360’s Chief Product and Marketing Officer Ben Chamberlain presented a webinar showing Project Server customers how UMT360 can help them gain complete financial intelligence across their project portfolios and increase ROI.   Ben discussed how UMT360 helps eliminate the need for Excel and standardizes investment governance controls across the PPM lifecycle, streamlines capital planning, and helps build stronger business cases and a benefits realization framework.  Click here to view this complimentary webinar for Microsoft Project Server customers.  UMT360 is built on the SharePoint platform and is the only enterprise portfolio management solution to provide seamless integration with Project Server.