I read this interesting article today on gantthead.com. In their 2007 Survey of CIO’s they found that only 20% of CIO’s felt their IT organization and services were aligned with the organization. I find that to be an amazing statistic. So 4 out of 5 companies have an IT shop that is not pursuing projects that add significant (if any) value to the business! According to the article, this is why the CIO’s have difficulty measuring the ROI on their projects. These CIO’s get paid how much to pursue projects with no ROI?
It certainly doesn’t have to be that way. There is no shortage of project portfolio analysis software which companies can use to make sure they’re investing in the right projects. By right, I don’t mean whatever is the flavor of the month. I mean projects that are aligned with the corporate goals and that have been estimated and determined that the payback will meet a corporate hurdle rate for to be given the green light.
Doing some further reading I noticed the comment from one reader on the original CIO survey page who was asking if only the IT leaders would allow the business leaders to assign the priority of the IT departments so that it aligns with the business plans and initiatives. You mean actually have the needs of the business drive IT priorities? What a novel concept! I’m actually amazed that it happens any other way.
It’s very typical for corporate leaders to struggle with decisions on which projects to fund without a documented submission and approval process and a pre-defined objectives and weighting system that green light projects that are most aligned to the corporate goals. Using portfolio analysis software obviously isn’t the only magic bullet required to achieve perfect alignment of IT projects to business goals, there are many other factors as well.
However, as shown in the CIO survey, anything that can help you achieve greater alignment will be worthwhile. CIOs who said they were aligned with the business reported that IT had enabled a new revenue stream more than twice as often as those CIOs who said they were not aligned (24 percent versus 11 percent). More important, more aligned CIOs said they had used IT to create a competitive advantage for the company than unaligned CIOs (38 percent versus 23 percent).
Now those 1 in 5 CIO’s are earning their pay!
Everywhere you turn on the internet now you see Web 2.o. Everybody has it or everybody who doesn’t have wants to have it or is trying desperately to prove they have it. And the ones that have it now want to one up everyone and say they have Web 3.o! (Although there are some naysayers against that as well.
Well here at the big red machine we are no different. We get those pangs of envy about sporting Web 2.0 just like everyone else. Thing is, large enterprise software companies like us aren’t usually going to be on the cutting edge as much smaller companies can. They can go from concept to product in the time it takes their developers to quaff 30 Red Bulls (is that the drink du jour for programmers? I lose track of what those kids do these days.) Whereas we have a lot more at stake when we develop something. Our product is obviously much more integrated throughout an enterprise that we have a lot of dependencies to consider.
That’s not to say we don’t recognize a good thing when it happens though. Obviously Web 2.0 isn’t a flash in the pan so it’s imperative that we too examine the business applications for it. We have to go beyond just mashing up Google maps and facebook applications of course. When a company is running their mission critical projects using our software the users want more than just to know what’s the latest Starbucks (or anti Starbucks ) location and status of their friends. They need to see some business value in what we develop otherwise it’s just slick interface that is amusingly distracting for a while.
We’re bouncing around several use cases and business ideas and frankly looking to rip off (nay, “borrow”) some of the great ideas that those smaller, nimbler companies I talked about earlier are bringing to market. Over the next little while I’ll examine some of those applications and the ideas behind them and how they might help a big company like us become another hip follower of the Web 2.o wave.
In a recently released report titled “Introducing Project-Based Solutions”, Forrester Research showed that compared to 14 competitors Oracle was the only vendor with a “High” rated product in every one of 22 sub-industries examined.
Forrester’s inaugural coverage of project-based software solutions (PBS) identifies a new category of software designed to manage and support project-based business processes, provides a business justification for PBS, and assesses the key vendors and their solutions. Use of a project-based solution will be one of the key competitive differentiators for successful enterprises competing in a people-centric marketplace.
Forrester interviewed 32 customers and 15 vendor companies representing 17 solutions, including: Agresso, BST Global, Computer Methods International Corp. (CMiC), Deltek, Epicor Software, IFS, Lawson, Maconomy, Meridian Systems, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, Primavera Systems, Sage Software, SAP, and Tenrox.
Oracle Press release
Forrester Research article excerpt
Hello Project Management Lovers! Is there really such a thing? I’m sure there are. From my experience I’ve found it takes a special breed of person to want to become a project manager and actually enjoy the job. Sadly, project managers are often seen in the same light as a referee or a dentist – necessary evils that do essential jobs but people usually don’t like the news they deliver or advice they dispense.
I was personally drawn to project management because I like being in charge of things but more importantly it is a great way to see progress made on a continual basis. I’ve always been a bit of a gamer too, and sometimes you can see how managing a project to completion compares to finishing off a video game – completing the quest, vanquishing the boss, rescuing the fair maiden, etc etc.
When I first started as a project manager the tools were quite rudimentary however compared to what is available today. Of course there was Microsoft Project, but the consulting firm I worked for used a more sophisticated program called CA Super Project. It was one of the last programs to become ‘window-ized’ after Microsoft made it practically the standard for software applcations. You didn’t use a mouse on this program and it’s powerful functions were hidden layers deep in an arcane menu structure. It took us two days of training on the product just to learn to setup a fairly routine work breakdown structure with resources, rates and schedules. The last thing a project manager needs is to spend hours fiddling with a program just to visually represent the work that is happening and needs to happen.
When I joined Oracle I was very impressed with what they had built for a project management application. It went so far beyond the tool that we had even though it still had some features that were deeper around the workplan. From an overall standpoint though, the Oracle product managed many more of the day to day tasks a project manager needed to do and had collaborative and powerful reporting features to boot.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that our product isn’t perfect. It would be hard to ever believe that anyway because in strategy you’re usually dealing with customers telling you what’s NOT in the product versus what is great about it. That’s perfectly fine of course since if no one bothered telling us what they want next, we wouldn’t have much of a job now would we?
Just to wrap up this first post and get it ‘in the can’ as they say, my focus with this blog is to discuss project management software in general but also with a slant towards how we view it in Oracle. I’ll try to share as much as I can about future directions and ideas but obviously I have to remain very careful about what I can say. Since I don’t want to publish a Safe Harbor staement at the front of every blog posting, I will need to keep it clean.
One last thing – feedback! I’d love feedback. Any and all kinds. Whether you’re a customer (or a competitor!) or just a person interested in project management feel free to leave your thoughts on what I say or if you have some topic ideas. As to frequency, I don’t want to commit to anything specific but I am going to try and get a new posting out every few days or so. In the meantime I’ll be asking some of my colleagues to share their thoughts as well and posting links to interesting relevant articles.