Top-5 Predictions for Project Portfolio Management in 2013

As project management gains wider visibility and recognition in organizations around the world, PMO’s will now develop new tool-sets to serve a broad spectrum of users. Organizations have recognized that projects are a major aspect of their business and more of their people are working on projects and using project management processes. Because projects are a major vehicle by which companies grow, improve and meet their business objectives, the need to successfully complete projects has never been greater. Daptiv forecasts top five PPM trends for 2013 and they are:

  1. PPM will Continue to be the Fastest Growing Category of SaaS - According to the Dataquest research report, “Competitive Landscape: SaaS Project and Portfolio Management Software, Worldwide,” PPM is the fastest growing category of SaaS enterprise software, increasing at a 41% CAGR for the 5-year period of 2009-2014. In 2013, even more organizations will embrace SaaS-based solutions to manage or transform their portfolios. In the PPM world, the benefits of this approach versus traditional on-premise software products include: Rapid deployment, team collaboration, reduced risk of failure, tighter vendor/customer relationships, and reduced cost of implementation and support.
  2.  PPM will Cross the Chasm From IT-Driven to Business-Driven - Organizations have come to realize that much of their growth and future sustainability comes through projects. Projects are vehicles of change, and the best way to improve the management of them is through PPM tools. PMO’s are getting more strategic about where PPM principles can add value, and they are finding green field opportunities for PPM in places that didn’t previously exist. In 2013, we will see an increased emphasis to “projectize” work in different business functions, such as line-of-business divisions, sales, marketing, and human resources. As such, more organizations will begin taking into consideration the business intelligence generated through PPM systems to refine their overall business strategies.
  3. Putting IT back in control of the BYOD explosion: PPM goes Mobile - Smartphones and tablets are poised for dramatic growth, especially with the arrival of new devices from Apple, Google and Microsoft. According to a Forrester report, 66% of employees now use two or more devices every day, including desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets. As the mobile market continues to grow and with the increasing BYOD trend, enterprises/project managers will look at IT and the PMO to help implement new applications to ensure secure access across dozens of disparate platforms and handsets/tablets being used by the company across multiple regions.
  4. CFOs Give Green Light to PMOs - According to PM Solutions research, 65.8% of high performing organizations have enterprise PMOs. As companies begin to quantify the financial benefits of having a PMO,CFOs will be the ones leading the charge for the implementation of PPM solutions in the year 2013. This in turn will have a positive impact on creating an effective portfolio management operation, and it will be viewed as a way to bridge strategy, operations, and finance. Portfolio management will stimulate the interest and attention of the CFO, as PPM services become a proven method of improving system quality, and project and service delivery levels across the organization.
  5. Economic Uncertainty Drives Need for ROI Accountability - Given the continued uncertainty of the economy, cost management and efficiency will continue to top the list of priorities for most CEOs. In this environment, companies will remain cautious, and we will find companies leaning more heavily on PPM as a way to measure the ROI of their investments. In 2013, PPM will be recognized as a crucial change agent that will help companies’ transition out of recession-area thinking, towards driving innovation and business transformation initiatives at companies both large and small.

Mobile Devices in the Enterprise

by Tom Stone

I was talking with my mom the other day about some of the differences between what I experience in the workplace now and what my dad experienced while I was growing up.  It struck me that one of the biggest changes has been in the boundary between “work-time” and “off-time.”  When my dad, who was a manager at a large communications technology company, was away from his desk, he was truly away from his desk – and all of his normal work-related activities waited for his return.  This was true when he was home for the evening, on weekends, on vacation, on business trips, or even sitting in meetings.  If he wasn’t physically in his office, he was truly disconnected from his regular everyday activities.

In today’s connected world, this is no longer the case.  I can’t remember the last time I was home in the evening or over the weekend, or even on vacation, when I wasn’t regularly checking email and responding to the ongoing demands of my job.  And hardly a meeting goes by when I don’t see a handful of people responding to some time-critical request via their phone or tablet. 

Mobile devices allow us to stay connected to the goings-on of our job regardless of our location – we’re no longer tethered to our desk phone or desktop computer, nor do we need to be in order to remain productive and involved.  And this business trend isn’t just a flash-in-the-pan trend, either.  According to Strategy Analytics, iOS and Android smartphone device manufacturers shipped a total of 21.3M units in the US in the 2nd quarter of 2012 alone.  And smartphones aren’t the only mobile game in town any more.  During that same quarter, Apple sold 17M iPads across the globe – and other tablet devices are appearing with increased frequency.

To the enterprise, mobile access doesn’t simply mean the ability to tweet or post an update to <insert your favorite social media site name here>; it means the ability to see what work needs to be done, respond to critical events, post updates to your tasks or projects, and have immediate access to business-related information.  This is particularly true for project teams, project managers, and PMOs in general.  Project status information is expected to be up-to-date at all times.  Project managers are expected to have their finger constantly on the pulse of their projects.  And requests for status updates are expected to be satisfied anytime, anywhere – not just at the regularly scheduled “status update briefing” meeting.  Being away from your desk is no longer a viable excuse for not having the latest information at your fingertips.

In order to satisfy this new anytime/anywhere business trend, enterprises need to include mobile access in their plans for all mission-critical systems.  Here are some key criteria with which to evaluate your mobile access strategy:

  • Fully available from any location – Easy access is key.  Any barriers to access, even as straightforward as signing on to a corporate VPN, will reduce usage.  Ideally, users should have full access from their mobile device’s browser or application regardless of where they are, without heavy configuration or connection processes.  Typically, SaaS solutions meet this criterion nicely, since they are already Internet-based and are not “hidden” behind corporate firewalls.
  • Device independence – With the proliferation of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, the need for your solution to address a wide variety of devices, screen sizes, operating systems, and browsers is greater than ever. 
  • Avoid native applications, if possible – This one might sound counterintuitive, but relying on native applications puts a much greater burden on the user and your IT organization.  If your corporate policy allows users to update their own devices, you’ll soon find yourself with multiple versions of each application being used by your staff.  When you add the permutations of applications specifically developed for the different Android revisions and specifications, iOS applications, and tablet applications, you can see how easily this variety of targeted native applications can get out of sync or out of date from a functional and support perspective.  Browser technologies, such as HTML5, are sophisticated and feature-rich and can provide an application experience that rivals any native application.
  • Avoid proprietary UI formats – The use of Flash or Silverlight technologies can make an application look “cool” and modern, but they are also completely incompatible with most smartphone and tablet browsers; rendering them unusable for mobile devices.
  • Security – One oft-overlooked aspect of mobile devices is their tendency to be easily lost or stolen.  Be wary of any application which stores your company-confidential information on the device itself.