Monday Oct 29, 2012

Salt River Project Identifies US$500,000 in Cost Reduction Opportunities Through Unified IT Portfolio Management

Salt River Project implemented Oracle’s Primavera Portfolio Management to unify management of its extensive IT portfolio, including essential utility systems, like work and asset management, as well as programming frameworks and development tools. With the system, SRP discovered almost US$500,000 in cost-reduction opportunities by identifying redundant or low use software, including 150 applications that are close to being unsupported. The company retired 10 applications in the last year and upgraded 34 systems. SRP also identified preferred technologies and ensured that more than 90% of applications are based on standard technologies—reducing procurement costs, simplifying maintenance support, and lowering total cost of ownership.

[Read More]

Wednesday Apr 11, 2012

Navigating the Unpredictable Swinging of the Financial Regulation Pendulum

Written by Guest Blogger: Maureen Clifford, Sr Product Marketing Manager, Oracle

The pendulum of the regulatory clock is constantly in motion, albeit often not in any particular rhythm.  Nevertheless, given what many insurers have been through economically, any movement can send shock waves through critical innovation and operational plans.  As pointed out in Deloitte’s 2012 Global Insurance Outlook, the impact of regulatory reform can cause major uncertainty in the area of costs.  As the reality of increasing government regulations settles in, the change that comes along with it creates more challenges in compliance and ultimately on delivering the optimum return on investment.  The result of this changing environment is a proliferation of compliance projects that must be executed with an already constrained set of resources, budget and time.

Insurers are confronted by the need to gain visibility into all of their compliance efforts and proactively manage them. Currently that is very difficult to do as these projects often are being managed by groups across the enterprise and they lack a way to coordinate their efforts and drive greater synergies.  With limited visibility and equally limited resources it is no surprise that reporting on project status and determining realistic completion of these projects is only a dream. As a result, compliance deadlines are missed, penalties are incurred, credibility with key stakeholders and the public is jeopardized and returns and competitive advantage go unrealized.

Insurers need to ask themselves some key questions:

    • Do I have “one stop” visibility into all of my compliance efforts?  If not, what can I do to change that?
    • What is top priority and how does that impact my already taxed resources?
    • How can I figure out how to best balance my resources to get these compliance projects done as well as keep key innovation and operational efforts on track?
    • How can ensure that I have all the requisite documentation for each compliance project I undertake?
Dealing with complying with regulatory efforts is a necessary evil. Don't let the regulatory pendulum sideline your efforts to generate the greatest return on investment for your key stakeholders.

Sunday Jan 29, 2012

Financial Services Industry Study Finds Swift Action and Proactive Approach Is Key to Reducing Project Risks

Volatile markets, weak customer demand, and heightened regulatory scrutiny require financial services firms to flawlessly manage project portfolios to minimize risk. Those that identify failure early in the project development process and respond to problems as they arise can invest in higher-risk initiatives without threatening their bottom lines or their reputations.

Those are some of the key conclusions in Preemptive Action: Mitigating Project Portfolio Risks in the Financial Services Industry, a research report created by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Oracle.

“[When] firms understand how to identify and deal with indicators of failure early in the planning process, they can safely invest in higher-risk initiatives, such as launching new products and acquiring other firms, without putting their reputations or bottom lines in jeopardy,” the report explains.

The report further explains that this proactive approach, which requires both a rigorous project management practice and intrepid executives willing to make difficult decisions, is unusual in the industry. Where it exists, it allows companies to mitigate project risks and use resources more effectively to propel growth. In its absence, companies become more risk-averse, focusing on low-risk projects that merely protect assets and meet regulatory requirements.

A discussion of the report and its key findings are the focus of a new Oracle Webcast now available on demand. In this Webcast, the benefits and impact of using the right project portfolio management solution is also discussed as a key factor in successfully managing the project portfolio and achieving success.

Success Factors and Other Findings

A primary conclusion of the report is that financial services companies that excel in executing projects, especially those that involve regulatory compliance, can gain a competitive edge by embracing opportunities unavailable to peers with a constrained appetite for risk.

Other key findings of the study include

  • Managing must-do regulatory projects requires a balance between flexibility and adherence to process
  • Processes are not sufficient in identifying signs of failure and finding solutions—effective communication and collaboration are crucial.
  • Many companies fail to reassess risks throughout the project lifecycle—assess risks during planning and at project milestones
The full report is available for download.

Sunday Jan 22, 2012

Intelligent project selection in the Federal government

According to the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of Americans believe that the government cannot run program efficiently and without waste.

The Economist Intelligence Unit issued a report sponsored by Oracle titled "Creating value in the public sector: Intelligent project selection in the federal government". The report explores how some agencies are taking a portfolio-based approach to improve program performance.

Programs can be run more efficiently when agency leaders and managers improve their program management practices. A solid portfolio management solution enables them to:

  • have a holistic view of all the projects to see if and where new projects will fit.
  • identify the right projects.
  • balance the project portfolios
  • select and manage resources
  • constantly adjust programs to account for changes in strategy and demands.

Read the full EIU report to find out how.

Monday Jan 02, 2012

How effective is your company at capital planning?

Asset-intensive industries are presented with many challenges when it comes to effectively managing the capital planning process. And failing to make good decisions when the stakes are high can lead to huge financial losses. Is your company making good investment decisions?

A recent survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Oracle, found that:

  • Only one in ten companies in the utilities, oil & gas, chemicals and metals & mining industries consistently achieve the expected return on investment on capital projects
  • 47% of executives surveyed rate their organizations as "effective" at planning, prioritizing and selecting capital investment opportunities, and just 8% say they are "extremely effective"
  • Fewer than one in five organizations involve program managers in capital investment planning decision-making

With the cost of projects running into the millions, and even billions of dollars, the stakes have never been higher: timelines are long, investments are huge and lifecycles are even longer. Good decision-making in the planning stages can have a tremendous impact on the bottom line and mean the difference between the success and failure of a project.

How does your company compare? Take the EUI five-minute benchmarking survey to find out. See how your views of the capital planning process compare with those of more than 425 asset-intensive industry executives around the world.

Monday Dec 26, 2011

How portfolio management can reduce project portfolio costs and speed time to completion

In today’s increasingly complex and volatile business environment, companies in asset-intensive process industries need to achieve the expected return on their capital investments. Portfolio management can help companies make critical enterprise investment decisions by simplifying the investment selection process. In addition, portfolio management solutions can help organizations balance short and long-term planning, integrate planning groups across the organization, and align planning with execution, resulting in better decision-making that delivers enterprise value.

The Benefits:

  • Select, prioritize and align initiatives to achieve objectives
  • Understand the impact of changing or adding initiatives to portfolios
  • Track performance throughout the investment lifecycle process

Here is a 2 minute flash demo explaining how to improve capital investment portfolios with portfolio management. 

Wednesday Dec 14, 2011

How Mature Financial Services Firms Deal With Troubled Projects

Project Oversight in Financial Services

In today's uncertain global economy, firms must execute projects flawlessly or risk losing market share, eroding customer confidence or failing foul of regulatory compliance. Few financial services firms can afford to let their projects underperform. Those that do risk damaging their bottom line, their reputation and their market share.  But according to an Economist Intelligence Survey, only 17% of financial services organizations deliver projects on time - and only 20% deliver projects on budget - at least 90% of the time.

The smartest financial services firms use formalized project management practices to gain strategic and regulatory advantages. The Economist Intelligence Unit, in partnership with Oracle, conducted new research that will help financial services executives ensure successful governance of project portfolio planning and execution, and avoid failure. 400 Senior executives in the financial services industry were interviewed and asked for their views on how to achieve greater success. The key findings are highlighted in a report and discussed in a webcast. You can also benchmark your own performance by completing the EIU Benchmarking Survey" Project Oversight in Financial Services".


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