UMT360 Blog

Blog Posts from the Leader in Enterprise Portfolio Management

Archive for April, 2014

TIME Analysis & APM

Written by admin on April 25th, 2014 at 7:00 am

An important part of Application Portfolio Management (APM) is creating a strong inventory of information and leveraging powerful business intelligence and analytic capabilities to help identify transformation alternatives and make decisions in terms of which applications to maintain, invest in, enhance or retire. A comprehensive analysis will help identify under-performing applications, redundancies within the portfolio and highlight applications which may be costly and a poor fit.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Difference Between Project and Product-Based PPM

Written by Ben Chamberlain on April 21st, 2014 at 6:00 am

A move is on to shift from project to product-based thinking which allows a business to focus on aligning investments with business drivers and adjust to quick shifts in the marketplace.  A buzz really started when Gartner addressed the topic in a Matthew Hotle and Bill Swanton report which came out in November 2013.

Read the rest of this entry »

Senior Executives Focused on Growth and IT

Written by Ben Chamberlain on April 17th, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Analyst firm Gartner has released the results of its 2014 CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey and it finds that growth is on the minds of executives.  A third of respondents ranked it as their top priority with IT also high on the list.   In Gartner’s announcement of the survey, vice president and Gartner Fellow Mark Raskino said CEOs talking about the increasing significance of technology-related change have to now move to invest in that insight.

Read the rest of this entry »

Changing the PMO Status Quo with Frank La Rocca – May 13th

Written by Ben Chamberlain on April 15th, 2014 at 11:02 am

Today, many businesses are questioning the effectiveness of their traditional Project Portfolio Management (PPM).  What does the PMO need to do to position themselves as leaders with the ability to optimize the spend and maximize ROI across the portfolio?

Join Con Edison’s Director of Financial Governance Frank La Rocca for a look at how he built an Enterprise PMO and established complete financial transparency across a $2 billion capital portfolio.  He’ll talk about the governance framework for increased financial intelligence, how to gain “buy in” from the top, setting baseline metrics, establishing a dynamical reallocation process to drive greater ROI and more.

Click here to register today for this webinar opportunity then plan to join Frank on Tuesday, May 13th at 2pm/ET.

The Magic Ingredients of Managing IT

Written by Ben Chamberlain on April 14th, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Businesses today are challenged with ways to fund innovation as budgets remain flat or increase incrementally.  The inability to efficiently invest in the future is one of the reason’s IT is becoming less relevant.  It’s imperative that organizations make changes and not only gain a greater understanding of their spending dynamics but also adopt a new approach to decision making, one that focuses on strategic investments and their ability to create competitive advantage.  How do you get started?

Read the rest of this entry »

Three Steps Toward Benefits Realization

Written by Ben Chamberlain on April 9th, 2014 at 7:00 am

Research shows us that businesses rarely get full benefits from their investments.  It’s largely why Benefits Realization is such a hot topic today.  Defined by Gartner as the discipline organizations adopt to maximize the business value of projects and investments, Benefits Realization  allows senior management to see how specific investments align with the business so they’re better able to understand the total impact of investments on the business.

Project owners are in a great position to lead a transformation in their organizations which will result in stronger delivery of promised benefits.   They can begin by taking three important steps.

  1. Shift thinking and focus from investments to benefits
    Recognize that business has to own and control the investment; business owners must be involved with investment decisions. The investment system should measure and reveal how projects contribute to improving specific business metrics.
  2. Shift from fragmented to integrated investments
    Create a system to evaluate and manage investment programs then determine measurement improvement needed to meet business objectives and evaluate how programs will achieve the new metrics positions.
  3. Augment the current PPM control system with the benefits realization control system
    Extend the investment control sheet to measure cost and benefits of the programs and portfolios including how benefits are impacted by lifecycle project decisions.

Redesigning benefits realization enables improved monitoring and increasing pressure on the project world to avoid poor investments and deliver business value.   Why is Benefits Realization challenging for today’s businesses and what are the variables driving Benefits Realization?   UMT360’s CEO Mike Gruia explores those topics and more in his new white paper, The Benefits Realization Crisis, now available here.

Interested in more information about Benefits Realization?  Check out the following UMT360 resources:

The Trifecta of Business Value Erosion

Written by Ben Chamberlain on April 4th, 2014 at 7:00 am

Despite significant investments in PPM, it is failing to deliver the anticipated results.  Both Gartner and the Standish Group have reported low project success rates and UMT360 research finds that today companies are failing to realize up to 46% of the planned business value from project portfolios.

UMT360’s Chief Product and Marketing Officer Ben Chamberlain refers to the causes of that lost business value as the “Trifecta of Business Value Erosion.”  He says there are three  main areas of concern.

  1. Innovation & Estimating
    Most organizations have adopted an annual planning methodology, where analysts spend a couple of months ahead of each new fiscal year evaluating competing project requests to select a portfolio that best aligns with strategic priorities and maximizes ROI.  There are inherent problems with the traditional annual planning process that results in business value erosion.

      •  Innovation – During this annual planning exercise, business units submit their project requests / ideas. These ideas are analyzed, prioritized and optimized and projects are then either included or excluded from the investment portfolio. There is a significant risk that utilizing a bottom up approach to innovation results in analysts just selecting the best projects from a sub-optimal bunch of investment alternatives. The quality of the requests / innovation obviously will impact the business value delivered by the resulting portfolio. By adopting Enterprise Portfolio Management techniques, companies move from a “project to product-based investment approach” which involves linking business and IT assets and projects to key capabilities or “products” that power your business. Analysts then analyze these capabilities and will base investment decisions on critical changes to improve business performance. This top down approach improves the resulting demand / innovation before you start to utilize optimization techniques to select the best initiatives.
      • Estimating Accuracy – The other inherent problem with annual planning is that often the cost and benefit estimates are inaccurate. Unreliable estimates can have a significant impact on portfolio value. When project cost estimates are too high, which is often the case, projects are excluded from the selected portfolio during the annual planning window. Unless you’re revisiting those decisions throughout the year, that value cannot be recaptured.  Under-estimating means you’ll select more projects during the annual planning exercise and have to cut them as you go through the execution year leading to an erosion in business value.
  2. Project Success Rates
    Industry analysts all agree that many companies struggle to deliver projects on time and within budget. Although they don’t agree on the exact statistics, there is consensus that a problem exists.  The Standish Group says that: 18% of projects fail to get implemented and 43% of projects are challenged (late and over budget).  Gartner states that 1 out of 3 completed projects  experience cost overruns and even the PMI says that 33% of projects fail to deliver their planned business value.   Obviously project success rates have a significant impact on the resulting value realized from the portfolio. If you fail to implement a project, you will not realize any business value. Cost overruns result in PMOs cutting scope and cancelling projects to stay within the budget constraints, again, eroding the business value.
  3. Budget Utilization
    Surprisingly, many organizations fail to spend all their budget allocated during the year, instantly impacting the planned business value from the portfolio. Common reasons for the under-spend are:

      • Due to resource shortfalls they simply did not start planned initiatives
      • Projects that slip into the next planning year; also known as unplanned carry overs. These projects fail to  utilize the allocated budget and worse, they consume funds from the next year’s budget.
      • Over estimating projects often results in Project Managers holding funds hostage meaning the PMO cannot  reallocate to inflight or new initiatives
      • Project Managers often aggressively re-forecast that their projects will spend all funds and then late in the year (i.e. Q4) confirm that they don’t require all the funds. This leaves the PMO no time to reallocate funds.

Once you understand “why” value is being lost, how do you respond to capture the planned business value?  One way is for the PMO to view projects as business investments and move toward integrating financial management with PPM so that the business is better able to gauge the economic impact of poor project performance and take corrective action.  In a recorded presentation, UMT360’s Ben  Chamberlain discusses how UMT360 is helping businesses do that and more.  He shows you how to:  

  • Eliminate the need for Excel and standardize investment governance controls across the PPM lifecycle
  • Streamline capital planning and build stronger business cases
  • Automate financial tracking and variance analysis and move to an agile re-planning process
  • Establish a benefits realization framework

Click here to access the complimentary UMT360 presentation.

The PMO of the Future

Written by Ben Chamberlain on April 3rd, 2014 at 7:00 am

In a recent presentation, Gartner Research VP Donna Fitzgerald told a standing room only crowd that PMOs must start change the way they see the landscape and understand that their improvement depends on an ability to deliver value.  She explained that 80% of her company’s clients are below level 3 on Gartner’s 5 point maturity scale and that getting to level 3 depends on two things.  “One is truly, deeply understanding what value means and the other is everything in the world comes from follow the money…it’s really what ‘s important.”

Her presentation is now available online and includes her rules for measuring both value and financial management capabilities and well as how she sees the PMO of the future and what steps need to be taken today to prepare.  Click here to view the presentation “The Most Important PPM Trends for 2014.”

UMT360 Seamlessly Extends Project Server

Written by Ben Chamberlain on April 1st, 2014 at 9:33 am

Built on SharePoint, UMT360 is the only Enterprise Portfolio Management solution offering seamless integration with Project Server.   Our customers who also use Project Server  have found that UMT360 is helping them get more from their PPM.

“We wanted one source of information; we wanted a common language; we wanted to be global; and we wanted to integrate and align our business better.”  -Sudanese Spence, IT Director, Global Portfolio Management Office, AGCO

“UMT360 brings greater financial clarity to Microsoft Project Server that’s not out of the box.”  -Rob Morrison, IT Project Manager, ConocoPhillips

“UMT360 has consistently produced innovative products that help organizations transform their business and gain even more value from their Microsoft platform investment.  UMT360 helps Microsoft customers gain financial transparency across their project, program and asset portfolios and collaborate to improve investment decisions.”  -Ludovic Hauduc, Director of Development, Microsoft Project Server

Cick here to learn  more about how UMT360 helps companies get more ROI from their Project and Portfolio Management investment – Financial Intelligence, Application Portfolios and IT Business Management.   UMT360’s Chief Product and Marketing Officer Ben Chamberlain recently discussed how UMT360 is helping businesses establish a benefits realization framework to effectively track the actual value delivered across the investment portfolio, drive accountability and encourage realistic estimates.  Click here to see the solution in action.