Case Study: IT Portfolio Management

 

Background

This growing pharmaceutical company recognized the need to improve how they managed their IT activities. Senior management required a single view of project and operational activities which provided transparency into performance, and a value-driven approach towards approval of strategic initiatives.

Additionally, they needed to know that appropriate resources would be available to complete projects committed to the business. Finally, the Sales and Marketing, Research and Development, Business Operations and Infrastructure IT divisions all needed to follow the same processes so that the data could be aggregated for accurate executive reporting.

Challenge

Each IT division had their own processes, data repository and executive reports which often resulted in conflicting status on the same project /program. While three different Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) tools were in use, none were utilized to support demand management and project controls, or configured to provide portfolio analytics. Initiatives were approved based on their business sponsor rather than the value they deliver. The annual planning process took a labor-intensive five months and provided little confidence that the required resources would be available when needed.

Additionally, the lack of an enterprise view into project controls made it difficult for management to proactively respond to issues prior to costly overruns. At the end of the day, they managed to the budget rather than a portfolio designed to maximize value delivered to the business.

Solution

After an in-depth assessment, it was determined that the first order of business was to establish an Enterprise PMO chartered with creating, monitoring and enforcing standard processes across all IT divisions. A single PPM tool needed to be selected and configured to instrument those processes. Of the three tools in use, HP PPM was selected and a project was launched to configure the tool and on-board users.

The next order of business was to define Demand Management practices (project and operational) for capturing, scoring, aligning and prioritizing demand. Role-based resource requirements were associated with each demand item and compared to future resource availability to facilitate resource capacity planning.

Risk and value scoring criteria and business objectives were established to facilitate strategic alignment and portfolio analytics. What-if scenarios were created to model the impact of shifting dates and contents to the portfolio and determine the optimal mix of items which best support business strategies.

Finally, IT Governance processes were created to support shared service review boards, an IT steering committee and funding approval. Executive reports were created which combine project and operational activities into a consolidated view of IT spend across all divisions. With all of this in place, the time and labor required for annual planning has been dramatically reduced and they have a high degree of confidence that resources will be available to complete the projects as planned.