Monday Dec 23, 2013

Unlock the cash trapped in your contingency budgets

It is generally accepted that more companies fail due to lack of cash flow than for want of profit. This is an inevitable position because whilst profit is a vital indicator of performance, its generation does not necessarily guarantee an organization’s growth, development, or even in some cases, survival. For the C-level executive, cash flow also has a particular impact in the planning of short or long-term investment strategies, where decisions are more often focused on anticipated funding requirements rather than projecting levels of profitability. Capital budgeting is the process for managing cash flow, where the basic unit of analysis is the investment project. From a finance perspective, projects and programs represent a series of contingent cash flows over time, whose amount and timing are only partially under the control of the executive. The amount of expenditure these consume directly influences the level of available working capital, which is the primary benchmark for measuring a company’s operational liquidity. The eternal challenge for organizations is keeping this liquidity in the positive position needed to support day-to-day operations – i.e., to service both maturing short-term debt and upcoming operational expenses – and for maintaining the flexibility to respond to emerging opportunities. 

Read this complimentary paper and explore the ability of organizations to augment cash flow in their operations by addressing a key area of stagnant cash reserves – contingency budgets. It will argue that the collective pot of contingency monies is conservatively estimated at between 5-10% of total project operating costs across the portfolio. To free up even a small portion of these budgets can therefore enable organizations to expand their portfolios to decisive effect. Finally, it will also detail the way forward, and how a more flexible approach to setting contingency budgets requires the adoption of a portfolio approach to risk management.

Tuesday Dec 03, 2013

Driving a Shared Vision with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management

Written by: Guy Barlow, Director of Industry Strategy at Oracle Primavera

“Write that down!” the CIO of an Indian Oil & Gas company exclaimed. Honestly I was caught off-guard when he hollered this to his reports during our discussion. So what was he so excited about? Simply put, he saw how his team could provide a solution to improve a key business metric; a single number that could not only strengthen the business but also his team’s relationship with operations. Not a bad thing.enterprise project portfolio management best practices

A shared vision, that’s what it is really all about. When an IT leader understands the key business metrics they can instill those metrics in their team to forge the much-needed connectivity between IT and business. The CIO was making a point to ensure his team “got it”. He certainly did.

In our client interactions we’re seeing a rapidly growing trend towards this shared vision and purpose. In some cases it’s by proactive design – the CIO comes from the business – or in others it’s borne out of a reaction to market necessities, like a declining share price, poorer KPIs, or regulatory scrutiny. Crises are great catalysts for initiating change. Similarly, the infusion of technology-thinking into the business is making for much more savvy executives on the operational side of things. In the end this is all good.

So what does this have to do with enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM)? As it turns out, quite a lot. Whether it’s a failed IT implementation for a bank, a cost blowout for a petrochemical facility or a late-to-market delivery of a new vehicle, these are all critical initiatives to the performance of their respective businesses. And guess what? They’re projects – big, small, complex, simple, local, and global. Manage them, by aligning technology and business, and you’re managing your enterprise more effectively.

This link between technology, the business and EPPM is naturally of keen interest to our clients and us. The ability to drive transformational change through greater innovation, efficient operations, a heightened risk and financial management approach is top of mind. Composed of business leaders and academics, the EPPM Board* was formed to explore these types of ideas and communicate to business leaders some of the latest thinking and innovation via research and thought leadership.

Take some time to review these reports generated from the EPPM Board; Hedging your Bets, Stock Shock and In the Firing Line and I guarantee you’ll “get it” too. And more is on the way. Enjoy.

P.S. So what was that number the CIO was interested in? What generated the excitement was, LPO, or lost production opportunity, and for the energy sector it’s a powerful metric. If a facility is down for maintenance it’s not making money. EPPM can reduce maintenance time via a number of areas and by doing so you reduce LPO…and increase revenue.

*The EPPM Board is a prestigious international steering group from Oracle. It brings together senior figures from leading organizations to discuss the business critical role of Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) and establish how the challenge can be better tackled from the top.

Monday Oct 21, 2013

In the Firing Line: The impact of project and portfolio performance on the CEO

What are the primary measurements for rating CEO performance?

For corporate boards, business analysts, investors, and the trade press the metrics they deploy are relatively binary in nature; what is being done to generate earnings, and what is being done to build and sustain high performance?

As for the market, interest is primarily aroused when operational and financial performance falls outside planned commitments for the year. When organizations announce better than predicted results, they usually experience an immediate increase in share price. Likewise, poor results have an obviously negative impact on the share price and impact the role and tenure of the incumbent CEO.The impact of project and portfolio performance on the CEO

The danger for the CEO is that the risk of failure is ever present, ranging from manufacturing delays and supply chain issues to labor shortages and scope creep. This risk is enhanced by the involvement of secondary suppliers providing services critical to overall work schedules, and magnified further across a portfolio of programs and projects underway at any one time – and all set within a global context. All can impact planned return on investment and have an inevitable impact on the share price – the primary empirical measure of day-to-day performance.

Read this complete complementary report, In the Firing Line and explore what is the direct link between the health of the portfolio and CEO performance. This report will provide an overview of the responsibility the CEO has for implementing and maintaining a culture of accountability, offer examples of some of the higher profile project failings in recent years, and detail the capabilities available to the CEO to mitigate the risks residing in their own portfolios.

Friday Oct 18, 2013

Exclusive Webcast Series Explains How Project Success Drives Business Success

In the wake of the global financial crisis, organizations throughout the world are redoubling their efforts to enhance financial discipline, achieve operational excellence, and mitigate risk. How can they address all these areas with one comprehensive strategy? With enterprise project portfolio management solutions that provide greater transparency and visibility across all projects and portfolios, says Guy Barlow, OProject success drives business successracle director of industry strategy. In the following interview and in an exclusive, three-part webcast series, Barlow examines today’s new management realities and explains how organizations can succeed in this environment.

Q: Financial discipline has always been important, what’s different today?

A: A number of organizations are showing that by fiscally aligning projects with the business goals of their organizations, they can shave off hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in inefficiency and waste. For example, one Oracle customer, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, reduced its unbudgeted costs from US$24.4 million to US$3.5 million, for an 88 percent improvement.

Q: How do organizations achieve results like this?
A: First, they need to have the vision to see project management as part of a broad and critical element in their overall enterprise strategy. That means using a single solution, such as
Oracle‘s Primavera, to manage multiple projects across multiple functions within a company. So someone in corporate mergers and acquisitions as well as a capital projects team can standardize on the same technology. By doing so they all gain greater efficiency in planning and execution—because the technology can be configured for their specific roles and needs—and the IT organization really benefits from lower maintenance.

Second, enterprises must give executive leaders—CFOs, COOs, and CEOs—visibility across the entire business to easily see what projects are on track and which ones are falling behind. In fact, once executives see the power of enterprise project portfolio management, uptake is very quick across the organization.

Read the full interview here.

Tuesday Oct 08, 2013

Explore the Fundamental Connections Between Stock Value and Project Management

Senior executives are today more accountable, even vulnerable, than ever before to poor share price performance. There are numerous reasons for this, but the increasing negative impact for organizations means that senior executives need to take a more active role in making the right decisions throughout business operations. According to research conducted by the global consulting firm Booz & Co.1, over the last decade the average tenure of a global chief executive has dropped from 8.1 years to 6.3 years. This analysis of the world’s top 2,500 publicly listed companies found that executive turnover had increased from around 12% in 2000 to 14.3% in 2009, with more than a third (36.7%) of departures in 2009 being dismissals rather than part of a planned succession. project and portfolio management on share price and stock value

For project-intensive organizations, there is even more intense pressure on executives to deliver forecasted returns on investment (ROI). With the current economic climate, shrinking margins and increased global competition, the impact of huge capital investment projects extending beyond their scope and budget carries significant consequences. This places even greater emphasis on capital planning, a core business process that remains fraught with difficulties. In a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit in October 20102, only 11% of companies could claim they delivered expected ROI on major capital projects 90-100% of the time, and 12% reported planned ROI delivery less than half the time. These results highlight that organizations – irrespective of industry sector – are still struggling to manage risks, accurately predict levels of ROI and consistently deliver bottom line growth from their major capital investments. Bad investment decisions can lead to huge financial losses, which serves to place the spotlight firmly on the capital planning process. It also places greater emphasis on executive decision-making capabilities to determine which potential investments deliver the greatest value and reliability, as well as providing the financial stability to attract funding.

The danger of poor evaluation can quickly lead to a significant reduction in the value of the organization’s overall portfolio and compromise long range capital planning goals. From here, it is a short journey to poor share price performance.

Click here and read this full complimentary paper that looks at the intrinsic connection between long-term capital investment and short-term market performance, and how this can in turn affect the profit outlook for project-intensive organizations. Discover existing research undertaken in this area, and highlight case examples where project management performance has impacted – whether positive or negative – the stock price and, in turn, the overall image of both the company and those in the C-suite of these organizations.

Read here and share with your colleagues.

1Favaro, Ken et al, CEO Succession 2010: The Four types of CEOs. Issue 63 2011. Booz & Co

2“Prepare for the unexpected: investment planning in asset-intensive industries,” Economist Intelligence Unit, January 2011

Thursday Sep 05, 2013

Transform your business with Oracle Primavera

If you use Oracle’s Primavera solutions, and you're attending Oracle OpenWorld, then the Primavera sessions are for you. Featuring 18 sessions, hands-on labs, demos, meet the experts and exhibits. The sessions are designed for you to gain valuable information on how to drive innovation, enhance operations or manage finance & risk, and effectively use our solutions to support both short and long-term growth through better formulation, alignment and execution of corporate initiatives and projects.

Add these ten essential sessions to your schedule:

  • What’s New and the Planned Roadmap: Primavera P6, Primavera P6 Analytics, and Primavera Gateway
  • Improving Productivity Throughout the Capital Asset Lifecycle
  • What’s New and the Planned Roadmap: Primavera Unifier and Instantis EnterpriseTrack
  • Instantis EnterpriseTrack Cloud Service for IT and Enterprise Project Portfolio Management
  • Primavera PPM Solutions for Manufacturing Projects
  • Leveraging Oracle’s Primavera Across the Enterprise at Pacific Gas & Electric
  • New Product Update: Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Scheduling Process
  • Primavera PPM Solutions for Maintenance Projects
  • Primavera PPM Solutions for Capital Projects
  • Qualcomm Streamlines Its Design and Manufacturing Process with AutoVue/Agile Products

In practical self-paced learning sessions covering everything from Oracle’s Primavera P6 solutions to Primavera Portfolio Management, Primavera Capital Planning and Instantis Enterprise Track and Unifier, you’ll discover new ways to derive maximum benefits from your Oracle software.

(Seven labs to choose from - see Focus on Oracle Primavera for more information)

Download the Focus On Oracle Primavera guide (pdf) and stay connected via, LinkedIn, and Facebook/OraclePrimavera.

Monday Aug 26, 2013

NEW! Oracle's Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) Webcast Center

We have just launched Oracle's new EPPM Webcast Center, a single console where you can search and watch all EPPM related OnDemand webcasts and register to attend upcoming live webcasts.

These webcasts provide updates on new product features, best practices, customer case studies and more.

Simply log-on to the webcast center where you can filter by products and industries that you are interested in.

Click here to visit the webcast center now!

Tuesday Aug 20, 2013

Oracle Expounds on Primavera Software Roadmap

Since acquiring Primavera in 2008, Oracle has worked on enhancing several features of its software, such as application integration and mobile functionality.

Looking to the future, Oracle seeks to provide more governance of the project portfolio management (PPM) application. Tony Banks, product director for Primavera software, spoke recently to TechTarget editor Lena J. Weiner about the roadmap for Primavera software.

In the video, Banks said that Oracle's goal is to continue to deliver "its vision" of a "true" enterprise PPM solution. According to Banks, that means "single platform, single vendor."

But Banks added that it also means being able to organize projects across all departments, capitalizing on similar business functions across departments while acknowledging specific business use cases. Watch the video for more details.

Monday Jul 29, 2013

Upcoming Webcast Series: Drive project success with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management

With an increased focus on controlling costs, driving efficiency and minimizing risk, delivering projects that create measurable business value is becoming increasingly tough. Consistently delivering successful projects is vital to the financial success of any organization. Watch these exclusive Oracle Primavera webcasts, featuring expert insights and real-world case studies from across a range of industries showing how you can meet these challenges. Each webcast focuses on one of the three hottest topics in project portfolio management today:

  • Financial Discipline: learn how you can gain greater visibility and control of project finances
  • Operational Excellence: discover the key to increasing efficiency and reducing project costs
  • Risk Mitigation: understand how to overcome uncertainty and avoid costly project delays

If you need to deliver consistent project success, register for the webcasts today to learn how EPPM is helping organizations like yours do just that.

Register today, for the first webcast of this three part series, Financial Discipline: Take Control of Project Finances to Maximize Business Value, August 1st, 2013 – 2:00 p.m. ET

Wednesday Jul 17, 2013

Live Q&A Automotive Webcast: Make or Break: Why Auto Products Must Get to Market On-Time - July 30

According to a new industry forecast from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, automakers who replace their products faster stand to increase market share over the next four years.

But standing in the way of this opportunity is a daunting reality:

  • A four month delay in the auto industry for new products can translate into a cost of $1m per day of delay.

  • Lost profits due to delays can be as high as 60% over the product lifecycle.

So, how can automakers avoid these challenges and get to market on-time?

Join auto industry expert John Reichard
and learn about the importance of how planning, resource optimization and project management enables automakers to reduce development cycles and time-to-market.

 Live Date: Tuesday, July 30th 2013 / Time: 12:00pm EDT


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