CIO Review >> Magazine >> October - 2013 issue

Democratizing Portfolio Management Software for Business Gain


Monday, September 30, 2013

Linda Roach Austin based Planview,Inc. is a portfolio and resource management company that helps organizations maximize business opportunities by optimizing the capacity of their finite people and financial resources.

Global organizations are under sustained pressure to bring competitive products and services to market more quickly than ever. To satisfy shifting customer demands, companies must innovate using scarce resources that are increasingly being shared across geographies, projects, teams, and departments. The need to be more agile and work more collaboratively across business functions is putting project and portfolio management (PPM) in greater demand from IT as well as business units. While PPM software can handle the complexity of planning and executing company wide initiatives across multiple business units, regions, products, and customers; it needs to be simpler for employees in different roles and departments – including business users – to use it for the company's greatest advantage.

Why PPM as the great facilitator?

According to Robert Kugel, Senior Vice President and Research Director of Ventana Research, corporate planning in particular is "…one of the core business processes that can benefit most from using more appropriate technology" and that technology is PPM software.

As Robert says, "Competence in long-range planning is vital to the success of any business. Being able to select the best alternatives for capital projects and major corporate initiatives promotes long-term competitiveness and the ability to achieve necessary returns to sustain a company's financial health. Being able to examine the ongoing performance of these investments and make necessary adjustments to ongoing plans gives a company needed flexibility and agility in today's turbulent economic and financial environment."

Because of its ability to integrate planning and execution across organizations, PPM software is no longer just for the IT department: In today's dynamic business climate, line-of-business organizations such as product development and services are increasingly using PPM software to understand how to best use their distributed resources to execute projects better and more quickly deliver profitable, differentiated products and services to market. Part of the reason is that cloud computing makes it easier to deploy cost-effective, flexible, and scalable applications quickly.

In fact, because of the ease of cloud computing, business units are more often deciding what technologies to use, making the "consumerization" of PPM software especially important: The user experience must be easier to use and more intuitive. If the experience is complicated and does not perform as advertised, users are quick to switch to another option via the cloud.

Rising to meet this challenge, a new breed of PPM software is emerging that leverages the advantages of the cloud and provides a simpler user experience for all types of employees. With more relevant business information embedded in the software according to role, the software facilitates informed decision making across organizations. Using a common user interface, beginners as well as experts can play active roles in optimizing portfolio and resource management, and as a result more quickly achieve business objectives.

Only by democratizing PPM software to business users will organizations unlock the full potential of portfolio management and expand the discipline across companies for competitive advantage. This includes making better, faster decisions to more efficiently connect companywide strategic planning with execution, furthering business goals while making the most of scarce resources.