My last week’s visit to the Oracle Open World in San Francisco predominantly consisted of attending the Enterprise Project Management Solutions (EPM) sessions and interacting with people who had an Enterprise Project Management solution implemented in their organizations .While still high on these sessions and discussions, felt just appropriate to look at the key areas where Enterprise Project Management Solution must focus to be able to drive maximum ROI for the enterprise.
Organizations undertake projects to adapt to change, like for example the changing business dynamics in which they operate, to increase operational effectiveness or to achieve strategic goals.Whatever be the source that drives initiation of projects in an enterprise, it is almost certain that even relatively small and medium organizations will have multiple projects or initiatives at any given point of time. In case of large enterprises the numbers will be dramatically high.An Enterprise Project Management Solution is an implementation of processes and tools that enable organizations to manage all its projects and programs from initiation to completion.While there are obvious benefits of implementing an EPM solution, organizations must be vary of the fact that an improper implementation would most likely result in a null or a negative payback.On the other hand an effective EPM solution can propel organizations towards its strategic goals
So what makes an Enterprise Project Management solution work, Here are 5 key areas that every EPM implementation must consider,focus and address.
- Organization Adoption – Organization adoption is the overall is inclusiveness of the Enterprise Project Management solution within the organization. It goes beyond just the people using it but also the systems and process that the organization uses. Irrespective of the size and complexity of the project, initiative or program the EPM Solution should be scalable enough that it can be used on it with ease.Another aspect with organization adoption is that outputs from the enterprise project management solution which may be in the form of reports, recommendations , forecasts, templates or process should be consumable by anyone and any system within the organization.
Why this is critical – An EPM solution which is not easily adaptable by all the projects and initiatives in the organization either leads to projects slipping though without any system or necessitates disparate systems to be implemented. In either case this will be a negative for the enterprise.
- Business Process Interlock – Projects enable organizations to achieve operational effectiveness, strategic business goals Also projects seldom operate in silos. The EPM solution must be able to integrate seamlessly with the existing business process and the change management process within the organization. In an ideal scenario the EPM solution will have the capabilities to manage change as well as automate, manage and define business process.However if that is not the case, the solution must at the least be able to actively collaborate with these existing process.
Why this is critical – These capabilities are critical as they enable projects to align with the overall enterprise strategy and vision. It also empowers enterprises to identify and manage interdependencies within different business units of an enterprise and their process.The enterprise project management solution and organizations business process along with the change management process must be able to exchange information for maximum benefit.
- Facilitate Governance – The EPM solution must have capabilities to implement a governance model. This involves controls and standardization to enable establish standard process, templates and best practices so that they can be leveraged enterprise wide across projects.This EPM solution should have a governance model that does not only establishes, but also facilitates contribution to a centralized enterprise repository with can be leveraged by different project, programs and initiatives in a organization.
Why this is critical – Heard about Project CHAOS? , well I am sure most of us have. Now imagine this at an enterprise level without a governance model. The result will be a lot of rework and waste in capital budget, as a direct result it would increase the probability of failure.
- Enable Optimization – Enterprise projects operate within budget,resource and time constraints.The EPM solution should have focus on optimum resource utilization for the project. The EPM solution should also focus on optimizing the process to eliminate any redundancies that may exist.Optimization should also include prioritization. An EPM solution should be able to prioritize between the exiting projects. This will enable organization to adopt an optimal resource allocation strategy at the same time ensuring that business critical projects are prioritized.
Why this is critical – Optimization is a key driver for project success.The mantra is to do it better, do it cheaper and to do it faster, also since the resources available at the disposal of an enterprise are limited, it is critical for the EPM solution to be able to optimize and prioritize.
- Predictability – A robust EPM solution should extend the organisations predictability capabilities. Predictability goes beyond just traditional risk management capabilities and extends to project business intelligence. The EPM solution should be intelligent enough to perform analysis and leverage this intelligence to achieve repeatable project success.
Why this is critical – Organizations face both challenges (negative risks) and opportunities (positive risk). The ability to successfully mitigate the negative risks and capitalize on the positive risks differentiate an enterprise from its competition.The EPM solution must have this critical capability.
Enterprises are unique. They may share a common market segment segment or follow similar business models however each organization has its unique set of characteristics, challenges and opportunities. As such an enterprise project management solution can also not be a ‘one size fits all’ kind of a solution. Despite this diversity, the areas described above are the ones that any successful EPM solution must focus on to enable organizations align projects strategically.