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March 11, 2009

Business seeing value in centralised project management office

Mature change controls in portfolio management support

By CBR Staff Writer

Organisations with a centralised project portfolio management office tasked with helping drive documentation, guidance and metrics about the execution of scheduled and planned projects see it as a strategic enabler of business change new research has confirmed.

In a survey carried out for CA Inc across 14 countries in EMEA, businesses that operate with a centrally-managed PMO were found to experience a higher degree of project maturity in terms of people, processes, technology and financial management. 

According to Gartner this is said to accelerate the realisation of business value.

Earlier studies carried out in the area have found that the number of redundant projects at sites that run their projects as a managed portfolio decreased on average by 78%, project failure rates declined by 59% and cost per project fell by 37%.

Experts put this down to the way PPM supports processes that link information about costs, schedules and HR for investment prioritisation. It also ensures the effective release of new deliverables, as well as helping to control spend patterns for ongoing operations.

According to CA senior VP Chris Miller, the current economy is helping drive a good level of interest in project portfolio management software. “Perhaps more than ever businesses are looking for ways of getting accurate predictions of project costs, and how their forecasts about project delivery will impact on the need and availability of resources,” the UK head said.

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Clarity, the project portfolio management software the company acquired a few years ago from Niku, has become one of the rising stars of the broad CA portfolio, Miller claimed. “It introduces planning rather than panic into business project initiatives. That’s one good reason why CIOs see a need for the software.” 

He added that the company has seen additional interest since it made its PPM product available as an on-demand software service, something that can drastically bring down the cost of entry to portfolio management.

CA is one of the segment leaders and competes against Planview and Primavera, who arguably are better known as market specialists.

Data from the latest sentiment study for CA shows that there is some common ground concerning how the value of the PMO is expressed by organisations who have them. 

Three quarters of respondents (75%) cited four common benefits of a PMO: ‘delivering projects on time’, ‘delivering projects on budget’, ‘alignment with business objectives’, and ‘generate higher customer satisfaction’.

PMO in itself is not a panacea, CA noted. Instead, it is a centralised PMO strategy that makes the difference. And as the role of the PMO matures, the success metrics improve.

“The mature PMO takes on more roles—in both portfolio management and people management, thus elevating its value across the enterprise.”

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