On the road to digital maturity: Managing the IT portfolio

In Part 1 of our series exploring IT portfolio management, we looked at why managing IT projects as a portfolio vs. managing projects individually is a preferred approach. We also looked at some of the challenges that can keep organizations from realizing the full potential of portfolio management. Today we look at what leading portfolio managers do to overcome these challenges and progress on their digitalization journey .

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On the road to digital maturity: Managing the IT portfolio

Part 1: Why portfolio management trumps project management—and where there’s still room for improvement

Posted by Akhand Singh on November 18, 2019.

Evolving digital business and the rapidly changing business landscape requires organizations to continually adapt—a situation that relies heavily on the IT function. The need to stay relevant, keep up with industry requirements, and meet customer needs result in numerous IT projects in the pipeline simultaneously. Organizations typically follow one of two different philosophies to manage and oversee these projects—project management and portfolio management. Here’s what makes portfolio management the more masterful approach.

Following an IT project management philosophy relies on project-by-project management, giving each individual project the opportunity to demonstrate value while competing for resources with all other projects. In contrast, portfolio management relies on collective management of all IT projects, sharing resources, people, and stack space across all projects, giving the organization opportunities to manage the portfolio holistically.

In our 2016 survey on technology implementations, we assessed the benefits of managing IT programs at the portfolio level vs. the project level. We compared highly mature portfolio management organizations to all others to understand the benefits and challenges organizations face while moving their entire stacks to portfolio management.

What we learned:

1. Organizations moving toward portfolio management saw significant benefits in multiple areas compared to organizations operating at a project level.

Highly mature portfolio management organizations reaped key benefits in these areas:

2. While organizations are moving toward portfolio management approaches, the value across all success factors was not as significant as we originally anticipated.

As more and more organizations lean toward moving their stacks under one portfolio, they are realizing that their portfolios overall often fail to live up to expectations. Gaps in the organization’s portfolio management strategy may be the cause. Given the push toward digital business, the traditional style of portfolio management is often inadequate. The survey identified several specific portfolio management challenges:

  • Synchronizing timelines and aligning deliverables
  • Driving efficiency gains
  • Minimizing scope creep
  • Aligning leadership
  • Reducing resource crunch

Broader challenges IT organizations leaning toward portfolio management may face include:

  • Prioritizing effectively. Projects in the portfolio should be prioritized to support the organization’s overall business strategy. But too often that relationship and alignment aren’t understood, so IT ends up working on projects that don’t have as much strategic impact.
  • Maintaining business as usual, both within and outside the portfolio.
  • Pulling the plug. IT organizations often lack a mechanism to identify and stop projects that are performing poorly.
  • Poor reporting, leading to poor decision-making. In a vicious circle, a lack of integrated portfolio management business tools results in inconsistent portfolio data across projects and business functions, which results in ineffective reporting, which is a core reason for bad decision-making.

The good news is these challenges associated with transitioning to IT portfolio management and building competency can be alleviated. Up next in Part 2 of this series, we’ll look at some of the ways leading portfolio managers increase the effectiveness of their portfolio approach and ease their digitalization journey.

Akhand Singh is a senior consultant in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Digital & Cloud Enablement practice, advising global client across industries to help them activate their digital organizations and prepare them for digital transformations.

On the road to digital maturity: The way of the agile master

Posted by Shannon Murtha, and Akhand Singh on July 1, 2019.

More than ever, organizations are embracing digital transformation, focusing on increasing agility across processes, operations, and technologies. Our 2016 survey on technology implementations revealed that over 80 percent of the 550 companies responded were already operating on both agile and traditional waterfall methods while only 16 percent had not applied agile.1 Highly mature agile organizations, which are those using agile methods for all IT projects, have all seen significant improvements in quality, speed, risk reduction, and ROI. But for organizations to truly embrace agile requires very different organizational structures. Organizations must be prepared to not just transform their IT or I&O (infrastructure and operations) departments, but also transform their entire organization, from culture to governance to operations.
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I’ve learned to be comfortable with the uncomfortable

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Posted by Emily Scott, on February 22, 2019.

Remember when “a disruption” was reserved for a game-changing technology, product, or business model? Things like 3D printing, smartphones, self-driving vehicles, on-demand media subscription services? These types of disruptions still exist, of course, but now the world talks about disruption more broadly—it’s everywhere and constant, affecting all industries and workplaces and the very nature of work itself. To survive in a world of always-on disruption, organizations need to be proactive, stop playing from behind, and always be ready to change course.

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The digital revolution and your candidate as customer

HR for humans: How data, digital, and human-centered design can transform HR


Posted by Mike Grennier on January 28, 2019.

While the customer has long been king in business—and rightly so—the digital age has enabled companies to treat customers like royalty by catering to their needs and preferences in unprecedented ways. Now, a competitive job market and underlying social and workforce trends have given employers another royal to consider: candidates. How is your Talent Acquisition organization taking advantage of digital capabilities to treat candidates like customers?

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Mind-set over matter

One of the four shifts for the future of HR


Posted by Garth Andrus, Dana Swanson Switzer, Arthur Mazor, and Michael Stephan on January 8, 2019.

It’s a changed world out there, and the future of the enterprise, the workforce, and how work gets done demands a new future of HR. We’re exploring each of the four shifts HR needs to make to step into the future: mind-set, focus, lens, and enablers. Today we’re tackling the mind-set shift needed to adopt new traits, behaviors, and ways of working for thriving in the digital age. It’s more than just doing digital things like creating apps or adopting digital technology and automation. It’s about reshaping an enterprise’s culture to act with agility and collaboration.

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The future of HR is built on a digital mind-set


Posted by Arthur Mazor and Michael Stephan on December 21, 2018.

We’ve been having many discussions in recent years about various disruptions affecting all businesses—but what does this all mean for HR? Now more than ever, HR is being asked to take the lead on behalf of the enterprise in making shifts and changes to thrive amid constant disruption. One of four major shifts HR must make to prepare for the future is to help the enterprise build a digital mind-set—from doing digital to being digital. Why? Because it’s critical to addressing three very different futures affecting all of us: the future of enterprise, the future of the workforce, and the future of how work gets done. Nobody is better positioned than CHROs and HR leaders to take the lead in preparing themselves—and their enterprises—to thrive in this new world of work.

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