The modern PMO provides insightful business intelligence

by September 22, 2017

CA recently partnered with TechValidate to perform a research study that would help us to understand how organizations are leveraging our CA Project & Portfolio Management (CA PPM) solution to evolve their businesses. The study validated the changing role of the modern PMO.

When asked, “Who typically consumes your reports?” 95 percent of respondents pointed to managers, while 60 percent also included VPs. Nearly half said their reports made their way up to the C-level.

It’s clear that people across the organization—from the resource manager to the VP of product development to the C-level evaluating business opportunities—are using data collected and distributed by the PMO to make strategic business decisions.

While the work done by today’s modern PMOs guides the entire organization, the main focus is increasingly on providing executive leadership with meaningful insight around the work being delivered through both predictive (traditional and waterfall) and adaptive (agile and hybrid) innovation methodologies.

Getting timely data to decision-makers enables business agility and helps ensure that the work being delivered will bring the most value to customers and the company. Following are five tips to providing insightful business intelligence:

Track and extract the right information

Real business insight is provided through the collection of key metrics. The right metrics allow business leaders to evaluate initiatives, identify issues, implement necessary changes and then reevaluate. For this, PMOs need a tool that employs a comprehensive approach to data.

Unlike most data warehouses that are built with a primary focus on incorporating new data, CA PPM was designed for the easy extraction of information users need for effective decision-making. Capturing the right data is imperative, but it must be quickly and easily accessed to bring real value.

Be discerning when it comes to what information is shared

While the ability to capture and extract data is crucial, it’s also important to distribute business intelligence that’s relevant to the recipient, without bogging them down in reports.

As Gartner states, “PMOs must make a cultural shift from ‘the more detailed information the better’ to providing just enough of the right data to leadership about ongoing activities…Executives and leaders want to do one or two things with PPM metrics and data—make a decision or take an action.”[1]

Nobody wants to receive a 30-page PowerPoint® presentation in response to two or three questions. Report only the specific information necessary to assist decision-makers.

Provide for data visualization and easy interaction

Our survey found that today’s organizations are using business intelligence (BI) solutions to make data more accessible and present results in a way business users can easily understand. Compelling graphics enhance visualization, aid in the decision-making process and improve value stream prioritization.

Organizations reported using a number of solutions including Microsoft® Power BI®, Jaspersoft, QlikView and Tableau. CA PPM works with these solutions (and others with OData connectors) to provide enhanced data visualization and interaction. Users can limit their focus to just the projects they’re interested in, see the most important elements of the project, drill down for specifics, change filtering options and pivot as required.

Employ self-service business intelligence

Organizations typically rely on data experts to locate, consolidate and make sense of critical business information. In fact, 100 percent of the organizations surveyed are using five or more data experts to respond to requests for information, and yet, 74 percent estimate that it takes a week or longer for these experts to respond to requests for information.

To speed the process and remove some of the reliance on data experts, CA PPM works with the BI tools mentioned above to help users answer questions themselves. For example, Power BI placed atop CA PPM provides a simplified, ad hoc solution for business users to directly access the data they need, via visualization capabilities and personalized dashboards.

The combined solution also includes a mobile device option built to provide decision-makers with immediate real-time answers to project questions regardless of their location—a feature 64 percent of respondents identified as important.

Let trending help guide your business

Of the organizations surveyed, 87 percent agreed that trending capabilities that help to accurately predict project success or failure throughout the project lifecycle are important. But because most solutions only provide real-time status reports, organizations must build and execute multiple custom jobs to gain a clear picture of trends.

The CA PPM data warehouse tracks changes over time. This enables companies to use past trends as a predictor of future performance—without the need for customized data capture. CA PPM tracks and stores this information so that users can understand how projects are progressing, identify issues and course correct before the project is in jeopardy.

[1] Schoen, M., Gartner, “Seven Best Practices for a Highly Effective PMO,” March 10, 2016