By Melissa Centurio Lopes on May 31, 2016
By: Mike Sicilia, senior vice president and general manager, Primavera Global Business Unit, Oracle
Process improvement (PI) and process excellence (PEX) initiatives, stalwarts of the modern enterprise, are increasingly under the corporate microscope. Starting in the C-suite, expectations are rising as organizations – facing a challenging economic climate and growing regulatory burdens – embrace continuous improvement as an essential element to securing a competitive advantage.
PI and IT have a complicated relationship. Enterprises undertake IT initiatives to improve business performance. In many cases, however, the technology ends up driving process change – for better or worse. Insufficient alignment between business and IT is often at the heart of this growing issue.
Ultimately, leadership wants to ensure that these initiatives align optimally with and support broader business strategies, and are flexible enough to adapt to a web of ever-changing regulations. As important, they want to better predict, measure, and optimize the impact of their PI/PEX initiatives. Speed is also essential in the age of digital transformation as enterprises seek to accelerate insight, action, and outcomes.
These competing requirements can be a tall order for many enterprises as they work to achieve a new level of maturity for their PI/PEX programs. Increasingly, organizations are finding an answer in an unexpected place – project portfolio management (PPM) – a domain traditionally associated, in many enterprises, with IT initiatives.
Selecting the Right Tools
Many PI/PEX initiatives are, in fact, complex projects. As such, it’s logical that PPM methodologies and tools can help to ensure their success.
A McKinsey & Company report found that organizations that actively manage their initiative portfolios can create significantly more value – up to 30 percent more. Further, organizations that formally manage the OpEX initiatives as a portfolio report that projects are always aligned with business strategy 62 percent of the time. These are promising proof points for PI practitioners focused on integrating strategy and action.
It’s important to consider that not all PPM solutions are universally suited to all types of initiatives. Many were designed to support traditional projects, such as capital improvements or IT installations. Line-of-business managers responsible for PI/PEX initiatives have a distinct and often broader set of requirements. For example, PI/PEX professionals must not only manage execution of the project, but facilitate its integration with larger enterprise strategies and goals and then measure its ultimate impact on operations.
When evaluating PPM solutions for use in P/PEX initiatives, it is important to consider multiple factors and requirements, such as:
- Does the solution enable strategy mapping and tracking to promote alignment between business priorities and PI/PEX initiatives?
- Does it support continuous improvement over time – enabling migration from one area to the next – from business transformation to continuous improvement?
- Are you able to identify, track, and manage costs – direct and indirect, capital expenses and operational expenses, real time vs. historical?
The Road Ahead
The PI/PEX landscape is changing, spurring organizations to turn to PPM methodologies and tools that help ensure success while juggling the balance and intersection of IT and PI. PPM offers a clear and strategic path forward – enabling PI leaders and professionals to overcome the complex strategy-execution gap of PI/PEX initiatives and continually sustain change and build on success. PPM solutions, like Oracle’s Instantis EnterpriseTrack, provide organizations with the tools needed to improve strategy execution and drive successful business transformation initiatives.
Check out our white paper, “Process Excellence Re-Imagined,” to learn more and get ongoing insight and practical advice on effectively managing process improvement in an upcoming blog series from Mike Metcalf, director services industry strategy, Oracle Primavera.