If businesses can be said to be made up of processes and practices, then project management is the string that ties these processes together. Even the largest companies have a resource limit, and good project portfolio management (PPM) makes sure resources are focused in the right areas for maximum efficiency.
PPM is concerned with asking the most pertinent questions about your business practices:
- Are you doing the right things?
- Are you doing them in the right way?
- How well are you doing them?
- Are you seeing the benefits?
Okay, we’ll admit these are pretty basic questions. Nonetheless, they are very important in terms of anchoring your business philosophy and giving you a direction to aim for. Keeping these questions in mind is more important than we might think. PPM is about managing multiple projects across your business, and, importantly, these portfolios need to be monitored and evaluated for their business value.
In this post we will explore Forrester Consulting’s recent Total Economic Impact (TEI) report on the deployment of Office 365 PPM, and examine the risks and rewards of migrating to a cloud-based PPM solution for your business.
Benefits of implementation
Office 365 Project Portfolio Management is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) designed to help your business by:
- Improving resource management.
- Increasing visibility into projects, programs and portfolios.
- Bettering project management performance.
- Reducing infrastructure costs and software upgrades.
- Unifying with other Office 365 products which grow as your business does.
What we’re talking about here is a flexible solution for project portfolio management that allows you to work from anywhere on nearly any device. You can get going immediately with enterprise-level reliability and no upfront infrastructure costs; gaining valuable insight into your project portfolios at the click of a button.
Better project management performance
Making the switch from On-Premises project management to a cloud-based alternative allows you to build more consistent project management practices, providing greater visibility into project management performance.
Improving resource management
Getting the most out of what you have can be the difference between success and failure in any business. By regulating your resource management processes, you gain a better understanding of who is doing what, reducing the overlap of resources, project risk and conflict. You can also see where your company’s talents lie, or conversely any training or skills shortages.
Reduce infrastructure costs
The Capex vs. Opex question. Shifting capital expenses to operating expenses can really help your budget. You reduce your up-front and long-term investments to a pay-as-you-go model. Moving to the Cloud means there’s no need for on-site servers, nor the up-front capital cost that comes with it. Doing more with less – and maximising your Return on Investment (ROI) across the business – becomes a very real prospect by migrating efficiently to Office 365 PPM.
The Forrester report gathered some interesting findings, involving interviews with users that had many years of experience using Office 365 PPM. Prior to migrating to Office 365, customers were most often using an outdated On-Premises project management solution that was not utilised efficiently by project managers. Microsoft Excel, in many instances, was the tool of choice to track progress and performance, and so managers’ overall visibility of projects was impeded and their ability to strategically manage project portfolios was greatly hindered. The switch to Office 365 PPM and the immediate visibility of an entire project portfolio had a huge effect.
Some interesting statistics based on the same report suggest just how ‘huge’ that effect has been:
- Office 365 PPM delivers a ROI of 301%.
- Improved visibility into project performance reduces budget overruns by 5%.
- Migrating to a cloud-based, SaaS PPM solution allowed organisations to save as much as $162,000 (~£112,000) annually.
- Improved resource management led to $3,103,119 savings over a 3-year period.
Based on the above, Office 365 PPM sounds like an excellent investment. But what are the risks involved in migrating to a Cloud-based SaaS?
The potential cost
Switching to Office 365 PPM reduces expenditure by avoiding capital expenses. However, there are costs related to the migration. These include: software licensing fees, implementation costs and change management-related costs such as internal training.
You’ve invested in the switch to Office 365 PPM, but what happens if your users don’t take to it like you envisioned? Suddenly your ROI is compromised; possible confusion in communication lines across the business mean productivity slows down, and suddenly those software licencing fees look a little more expensive.
Barriers to change
As the cliché goes, nobody likes change. Attempting to implement new practices in your business can be a hard sell, even if the rewards might seem obvious and changes necessary. Whether it’s a lack of employee involvement, poor communication, bad planning, or organisational complexity, failure to change can be pinned to multiple causes but ultimately it disrupts your vision for a better way of handling your company’s project portfolios.
The conclusion to be made from the risk and reward of switching to Office 365 PPM is quite clear: if you understand the barriers to change and can put in motion good implementation plans across your organisation, you stand to gain a lot from the switch.