UMT360 Blog

Blog Posts from the Leader in Enterprise Portfolio Management

Archive for March, 2014

PPM in 2014 is All about Value

Written by Ben Chamberlain on March 19th, 2014 at 9:44 am

When looking at PPM in 2014, there is one dominant trend – a focus on value.  Speaking at the recent Microsoft Project Conference in Anaheim, Gartner Analyst Donna Fitzgerald told a standing room only crowd that what clients are doing today, simply isn’t good enough.  Improvement depends on an ability to deliver value.

Fitzgerald used Gartner’s maturity scale to tell the story.  She said in order to climb the scale and move from a place where organizations are delivering consistency and process controls to a point where they’re delivering innovation and a continuous stream of value, people need to truly understand how value is defined in their organization.  She explained that there is a chasm between levels 2 and 3 of the maturity scale and in order to bridge that chasm, businesses need to focus on value and better portfolio management which includes value quantification.

“In organizations the focus is now shifting to what is competitive advantage…that makes the success of the planned investments more important,” Fitzgerald said.  She added that the new view of success isn’t about the completion of a project but rather value being generated which requires that projects deliver the enablers not ROI and she emphasized, earning maximum value requires change.

Fitzgerald said that by the time many organizations see the need to change, it’s too late.  “This is our window to move fast and start making changes.”  Among changes she says need to happen are existing practices such as project approval.  Before projects are approved, the business must be clear on what substantive value they’re delivering then establish a tracking mechanism and dynamic reviews to ensure projects stay on track to deliver that planned value.

How do you measure value?  Fitzgerald went through three key points.

  1. Value is not always financial but is expressed in measurable terms – financial or other.
  2. PMO needs tools and information to realize the value – “box checkers” won’t cut it.
  3. The PMO must design the support systems to support value goals – virtual business cases, strategy and value statements and deliverable-based milestones.

She stressed that value generation and benefits realization are not synonymous.  Benefits are contingent on factors outside of the project but measuring value delivered by a project can include a contributor or enabler of a program and is monitored throughout the life of a project.

Her rules for measuring value and financial management capabilities:

  • Projects and programs are approved in portfolio context only
  • Projects are evaluated for the degree to which they support strategy
  • Each project defines how benefits realization process is tracked
  • The portfolio supports dynamic reviews
  • Project/program has to include all changes to get it done, not siloed to different areas

Fitzgerald said it’s time to adopt an enterprise perspective and find a way to provide visibility people can understand.  Although the integrated portfolio approach has been discussed for years, she said today, it’s an imperative.  “The PMO of the future will be a portfolio office…it will think and speak in the language of money, it will be consultative and analytical, it will understand value and how the business can generate it.”  She went on to say that the PMO office will be capable of determining when an investment is going south before it’s too late and is not afraid of confrontation.

Her closing recommendations:

  1. Learn the language of money – adopt a financial focus to support value generation.
  2. Develop a collaborative approach to the business case that focuses on measurable value.
  3. Have a portfolio tool to support value and a strategic focus.
  4. Portfolio transparency and visibility is critical and ensures funding decisions are made in a portfolio context.
  5. Look at product management which provides a longer term perspective and ensures your analysis includes all interdependencies.

“Fundamentally you’ve got to make sure that the analysis is there to support good decision making.”

Learn more about how UMT360 is helping businesses get more value from PPM and Project Server.
UMT360 is built on  SharePoint and is the only Enterprise Portfolio Solution to offer seamless integration with Project Server.  If you’re a Project Server customer, be sure to check out our webpages on UMT360 for Project Server.

UMT360 Announces the Hiring of Carrie Clements

Written by Ben Chamberlain on March 17th, 2014 at 2:51 pm

UMT360 is pleased to announce the hiring of Carrie Clements who has been named UMT360’s Director of Business Development.  Carrie will partner with enterprise field reps to synch up on sales strategy, expectations, timing, etc., meet sales quota within installed client and prospect accounts, quantify and qualify target companies in relation to their need for UMT360 products, sell the benefits of the IT Financials solutions we provide to existing and potential clients, and assist regional sales managers in responding to RFPs and RFIs.   Prior to joining UMT360, she was a Team Lead, Inside Sales professional who partnered with marketing and sales management at Apptio. Carrie managed a pipeline, quota, reported on qualifications and stayed informed on company products and others within the IT financial management industry. Carrie can be reached at carrie.clements@umt360.com.

Interested in joining the UMT360 team?  Learn more here or contact UMT360 at 425.590.9901.

Rationalize & Get More Business Value from Your Applications – March 18th

Written by Ben Chamberlain on March 10th, 2014 at 8:00 am

Today, more than a third of IT budgets are consumed by applications with half of that dedicated to maintaining legacy systems which, in so many cases, don’t align with current business needs.    As a result, executives are turning to Application Portfolio Management (APM) to rationalize their operational costs, modernize their applications and better align with business priorities and needs.   In a webinar now available on-demand, UMT360’s Ben Chamberlain demonstrates how UMT360’s APM is helping businesses get more business value from their application portfolios.

He will show how UMT360 helps you:
  • build an application inventory and maintain key metrics
  • derive total cost of ownership of each application
  • identify redundancies across the portfolio
  • use TIME analysis techniques to rationalize the portfolio
  • capture lifecycle decisions in powerful transformation roadmaps

Click here to view the complimentary webinar on Application Portfolio Management and for more information about UMT360, contact us today.

SP1 (2014 release) for UMT360 for SharePoint 2013

Written by admin on March 5th, 2014 at 4:32 pm

The UMT360 SP1 for SharePoint 2013 includes a significant set of major changes and the upgrade from earlier versions should be planned and validated in line with the approach for any other version-to-version upgrade. A thorough testing of the upgrade steps and existing customizations should be performed in a non-production environment first.

UMT360 SP1 further differentiates the Financials and Portfolios modules with key new scenarios and capabilities included for both:

UMT360 Financials Improvements and New Features

  • Financial Timeline Management Improvements:
    • Ability to contract the timeline while in execution for EFTs (e.g. Cost)
    • Ability to modify the timeline for Breakdowns before and after execution
  • Snapshot Improvements:
    • Modifying the financial date range will not impact previously created snapshots
  • Financial Data and Governance Improvements:
    • Ability to edit financial values only at the pre-specified workflow stage detail level or below it
    • Updated formulas for Actuals Financial Custom Fields
    • Ability to reset the execution status of in-flight projects
    • Ability to update settings for existing projects without the need for workflow restart
    • Ability to update Mapped Custom Fields for existing projects on demand
  • Enhance Data Import Module:
    • Ability to import data into Breakdowns and Financial Custom Fields
  • Manage Financial Status Periods:
    • Updated status period reporting process workflow
    • Improved central administration page to lock/open/edit status periods at the portfolio level
  • Integration with Project Server:
    • Include Enterprise level mappings between Project Server resources and UMT360 financial categories
  • Report Center
  • Security:
    • Automatically sync CALs with Security Groups
  • Configuration:
    • Introduce Entity Types as the central object in UMT360 bringing together EPTs, SharePoint Lists, SharePoint Site Templates
  • UI Enhancements:
    • Ability to collapse/expand Financial Custom Fields in Breakdowns
    • Hide Unallocated cost center by default
  • Reporting Improvements:
    • Include new data sets in the reporting tables and OLAP Databases, like custom snapshots, full financial values, etc.

UMT360 Portfolios Improvements and New Features

  • Governance Workflows for SharePoint entities
    • UMT360 defined stages along with the ability to configure the financial governance on each workflow stage
    • UMT360 defined forms and the ability to show/hide forms on a workflow stage by stage basis
  • Other new features:
    • Portfolios (groupings of Entity Types)
    • Portfolio Center
    • Surveys
    • Visual Roadmap and Transformation Decisions

Visit the version history page for version details.

Customers and Partners can download the 2014 release via the online portals on www.umt360.com.

 

Cumulative Update 4 (CU4) for UMT Project Essentials 2012

Written by Alexandra Schiopu on March 3rd, 2014 at 10:22 pm

We are pleased to announce the release of the UMT Project Essentials 2012 Cumulative Update 4 (CU4). This update includes a number of fixes, therefore UMT strongly recommends that you test this in a test environment based on your production environment before putting this fix live in production.

Here’s the list of fixes and improvements addressed:

  • Core Financial functionality
    • Fixed issue with Actual values not been overwritten in Forecast when a financial reporting period is approved
    • Improved behavior on distributing values among Unallocated, cost centers and node totals
  • Performance and Reliability
    • Addressed issues with the Cost Center management page when using a large number of Cost Centers (more than 1,000)
    • Removed the need for escalated permissions when defining new relationships
    • Addressed financial data aggregation issues when users had limited permissions on linked entities
    • Improved performance on showing Budget columns in the Actuals web part
    • Improved reliability on workflow stage transition when ‘Project has write lock’ behavior was triggered
    • Fixed unexpected errors when using the Workflow.StageEntered event

Visit the version history page for version details.

Customers and Partners can download CU4 via the online portals on www.umt360.com.