Big Brother? Explaining Time Tracking To Employees

 Time Tracking

 

Time Tracking or time sheets have significant benefits for organizations, but getting your team on board can be challenging.  It is clear why organizations want to utilize time tracking – increased visibility, accountability, optimizing resources, and charging back departments.  However, chances are your employees do not see it that way.  They most likely see time tracking as an avenue for micromanagement (Big Brother), scrutiny over work performed, or lack of trust – none of which may be true.  Take a step back and look at it through their eyes.  For greater adoption and less resistance, encourage your managers to focus on the benefits to the employees, rather than just looking at the benefits to the organization.  Below are a few benefits to employees that will be helpful in rolling out your time tracking or time sheet initiative:

Get More Resources 

You will never have enough resources.  Markets are much more competitive than ever; forcing your organization to do more with the same amount of resources. For PMOs or Project Managers, one of the most challenging aspects of their jobs is making the case for additional resources. Tracking time enables managers to measure the amount of time being spent on projects and allow them to accurately forecast future resource demand – facilitating their ability to quantify their case for hiring.

Shift From Reactive “Crisis” Mode to Proactive Mode   

Once you know that you will be associating your work with specific time, you will naturally focus on the things that are important.  It is easy to get caught up in “urgent matters” or “fire drills” that ultimately do not impact your bottom line.  We’ve all been there; a request comes in and it will only “take a few minutes” to complete, so you just get it done and move on.  However, unplanned tasks contribute to loss of perspective on the greater picture.  By tracking time, you will not only focus on the “urgent” but the “urgent and important” – ultimately increasing your impact to the organization.

Increase Credibility Through Better Forecasting Accuracy   

Just knowing that you are going track what you worked on and for how long will drive good natured competitiveness.  Seeing your time spent on tasks next to others will want team members to strive to do better – resulting in better organizational execution.

Understand Time Spent On Non-Project Work 

If you know where you have been spending your time, you have a better chance of being productive. How many times have you asked yourself, “Wow, where did the time go?  I cannot believe we are already 3 weeks into the month.”  By thinking through and recording where you spent your time, you will quickly enable yourself to become more self-aware of how much time you spend on productive versus non-productive tasks.  You can then make adjustments if needed.

Try using some of the suggestions above when speaking to your organization about time tracking.  They already know that the organization will benefit, but try to make time tracking about them, not you.

Innotas Featured in the San Francisco Business Times – “Innotas survived a near-death experience”

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Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Richard Procter from the San Francisco Business Times.  Initially, I thought the conversation would be about where we are going and what I see for the industry.  However, as we started talking, the conversation focused on our history.  Innotas has come a long way – now we have been a “Leader” in the Gartner Cloud-based PPM Magic Quadrant for three years running.  Below is the article, enjoy.

Originally published in the San Francisco Business Times on June 13, 2014:

Innotas doubled revenue to $14.2 million in the past three years, says CEO Kevin Kern.

Just nine months after Kevin Kern joined Innotas as vice president of sales in 2008, the company didn’t have enough money to pay its workers.

“We had some people who were working remotely and flying in every other week,” he said. “For a company our size, that was insane.”

Fortunately, a strong sales team and a few bridge loans gave Innotas time to close the gap and survive.

Innotas is a growing leader in the field of project and portfolio management. Its software lets IT employees manage, track, trace and record all the projects they take on. Managers can keep track of how many projects all their employees and teams take on and gain a clear, definite picture of their allocation of resources as a result.

“We’re Salesforce for IT,” said Kern, who took over as CEO in 2010.

Innotas’ revenue has grown considerably over the last three years, doubling from $7.1 million in fiscal year 2012 to $14.2 million in fiscal year 2014. Innotas makes money by using a subscription-based model for its services, charging $540 per user per year. There is also a fixed, one-time fee at the start: $20,000 for companies with under 100 users, $40,000 for over 100 users, and if the company has over 1,000 users “then we talk,” Kern said. Innotas also provides ongoing technical support as part of the package.

“The land-and-expand strategy has worked really well for us,” Kern said.

When Kern joined in 2008, Innotas had 50 customers. Now it has approximately 400, Kern said, including UCSF, Autodesk and Bank of the West. The average tenure for one of Innotas’ customers is 2.73 years, though some have been clients for seven to 10 years.

AMN Healthcare, a San Diego-based healthcare staffing company with 1,800 employees and over $950 million in 2012 revenue, started using Innotas for its IT department this year.

“In terms of design, functionality and intuitiveness, it’s second to none from our standpoint,” said Tiernan Hussey, program manager for AMN. “We’ve used other (companies in project and portfolio management) before. This is really outstanding.”

Hussey said AMN learned about Innotas through Gartner’s Magic Quadrant ranking. Gartner, a technology research firm, rates companies in the project and portfolio management industry on 15 different criteria and plots them on a map with the axes “ability to execute” and “completeness of vision.” Innotas scored the highest by both measures, leading other, larger companies in the Bay Area such as Oracle.

A May 19 Gartner report on the industry notes that Innotas stands out from its competition because its product functions effectively on a portfolio level and not just an individual level. The same report cautioned that Innotas’ increasing popularity could become a weakness if it isn’t careful.

“Innotas is susceptible to growing pains as it continues to scale up to meet the needs of larger project organizations,” the report said.

The portfolio and project management industry is expected to grow — Gartner said it experienced a 208 percent increase in software inquiries in 2013 from 2012 — and Innotas plans to grow with it.

This month, the company will complete an office expansion that will double the space it occupies at 111 Sutter St. from 7,000 to 14,000 square feet, and Kern said the company plans to hire approximately 30 more employees between now and next February.

In addition to scaling up, Innotas wants to innovate its product even further. The company has begun developing a predictive analysis tool that Kern said will allow managers to optimize project portfolios based on the information available.

“It can tell if you can or can’t and should or shouldn’t take that extra work,” he said.

-          Richard Procter, San Francisco Business Times 

Cloud Blog Series #3: Scalability Builds an Elastic Foundation for Growth

In some ways, scalability is like a trampoline, while building out capacity for growth through traditional methods is like a concrete foundation.

In the cloud, server capacity can be added in minutes. It’s as simple as using machine images, or templates, so a new app server can be up and running in the mix in mere moments. The process can even be automated. It makes capacity planning and forecasting far more fluid; we can react to customer needs immediately. We can even add new data centers around the world to serve the legal and security needs of customers who need to store data locally, whether they’re based in Sacramento, California or Sydney, Australia.

The Innotas project and application management software solutions, hosted in the cloud, work the same way. When project managers need more power for a full plate of projects, the capacity is there; when the pipeline shrinks, the platform easily adapts.

So like a strong yet resilient trampoline, the cloud allows us to build and forecast based on a responsive foundation that springs back according to our and our customers’ needs at the time. When the extra capacity isn’t needed, it simply returns to its previous state. Contrast that with a traditional data center build-out, or static software solution, that acts more like a concrete building foundation. Certainly, if you want to build on it, it’s there—but if it’s time to scale back, it’s there just the same, costing you time and money.

The scalability of the cloud enables our customers to track the pulse of their IT projects and applications with greater visibility than ever. See how Cloud PPM gives The Weather Company visibility & transparency across the entire portfolio.  Now, that same flexibility is allowing Innotas to dream big about how we can help our customers be project and application management heroes.

 

Cloud Blog Series #2: Scalability = Success

I’d like to make a bold observation: From an IT perspective, the success of a business no longer depends solely on growth. True profitability is equally determined by scalability.

We at Innotas are discovering the value of scalability first-hand, thanks to some exciting new developments. In the process, I’ve become more convinced than ever that one of the most critical advantages that cloud-based solutions offer growing businesses is the ability to scale in periods of growth—as well as scale appropriately times of market contraction.

Cloud-based solutions unlock unprecedented potential

It all started with our decision to gradually transition Innotas data and solutions from traditional data centers to Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the cloud.

As I wrote in a recent post about the founding days of our company in the year 2000, it took hundreds of thousands of dollars to build out basic tech infrastructure that could now be accomplished by a start-up outlaying just $10,000 in monthly operating fees in a cloud-based environment.

Our decision to move to AWS now was driven by a desire to be more agile in responding to customer needs, while building out virtual capacity for our business and platforms to grow. We were also interested in how the cloud could enable us to offer product features and benefits for our customers that would have been cost prohibitive in a hosted environment.

It’s an exciting journey. Along the way, we’re seeing how the cloud gives us the flexibility to scale up (or down) in an unprecedented way—and it’s transforming how we view everything from expanding to new markets, to offering customers new options and updates, to experimenting with new innovations.

Ironically, it’s the same visibility and flexibility that Innotas solutions have offered project and application management professionals since we launched our first solutions. Yet I don’t know that I fully appreciated the power that true scalability in the cloud confers on businesses until now.

Experimentation and innovation in the scalable cloud

When we first started Innotas, a Sacramento-based co-location data center housed our database servers, network equipment and Oracle software to run the servers (not to mention the people needed to keep all of the gear up and running).

When we needed to grow, scaling meant new hardware. New hardware meant bringing new servers online, which was a months-long process from procurement to burn-in to configuration to go-live.

After going through all this to enable the business to scale up for projected growth, we were still sitting on pins and needles. If sales spiked, we had to scramble to add more capacity. If sales went down, we had extra capacity sitting unused that was already paid for.

Regardless of your industry, it’s a situation I think most IT folks would recognize. It was certainly one of those times that I appreciated the true value of the cloud-based solution we offer our customers; no matter how the number of projects or applications in play at any given time might fluctuate, our customers can be confident that the Innotas platform, hosted in the cloud, is ready to handle whatever comes its way.

Cloud Blog Series #1: Unlocking the Full Potential of the Cloud

Given that Innotas is a recognized leader in cloud-based solutions for project portfolio management (PPM) solutions, you might think that we’ve been a completely virtual organization from the very beginning. Yet even we are still unlocking the true potential of what the cloud and cloud-based solutions can offer our business—and what they can do for our customers. In this three part Cloud Blog Series, I will cover various topics that are related to cloud technology, challenges, and key learnings from Innotas. Enjoy!

A bricks-and-mortar start to a digital company

Back when we first set up the Innotas tech infrastructure around 2000, it was far more expensive than it would be to do today.

I remember paying over $100,000 just for a pair of database servers. That didn’t even include the cost of Oracle to run on them. Then there were the costs for hosting space at a co-location facility. Finally we layered on the costs of the people needed to put everything together and make it work. I’m sure we spent over half a million dollars just to get our basic services up and running at the co-lo space, once we covered all the necessary space, server, network equipment, personnel and other assorted costs.

Today, a similar-sized startup could be up and running with less than $10,000 in monthly costs, using Amazon Web Services (AWS). Besides the savings on equipment, servers and space, the Operations costs are reduced, since less people are needed to run and manage the hardware.

Making the move to the cloud

The net-net is that the cloud has made it easier than ever to start—and scale—businesses. While I don’t mean to paint a picture of, “Back in my day, we walked 10 miles to school, up hill both ways!” I am continually amazed at the freedom and capacity for growth that the cloud provides to our growing company and to the growing businesses of our customers.

Innotas is currently in the process of transitioning from traditional bricks-and-mortar data centers to AWS for our expanding operations around the world, to improve our velocity for making changes and reacting to customer needs. The change also will reduce cost and allow us to offer our customers features that would be cost-prohibitive in the current hosted environment.

This means that we’re leveraging the cloud to explore doing things like creating virtual “Customer Preview” environments or Sandboxes to allow customers to test drive new features. Using our own hardware, setting up an identical environment with customer data and building in strong “worst-case-scenario” security would have been far too expensive to do. Yet in the cloud, we can call upon the power of servers to create an environment where customers can see how our latest release will work with their own data before we upgrade their production copy. And through the magic of the cloud, we simply shut down the environments after the necessary runtime. No unused servers sitting around means we can focus more investments on innovation and improvements.

Strides forward like these have been a huge win with our customers. They show how the power of the cloud allows us to make our vision for product enhancements a reality, while allowing us to be more nimble and responsive to customer needs than ever.

Change is good

The real moral of the story is that the cloud offers businesses of all stripes—ours included—the ability to dream bigger than ever before, while gaining unprecedented transparency and visibility into our operations, even as they rapidly change and grow.

This clarity and ability to know where we stand with all of our data, products and projects at all times is at the heart of what our software solutions are designed to do for IT project and application managers.

Thanks to the flexibility, speed, visibility and almost unlimited capacity the cloud offers, Innotas solutions were developed specifically to live in the cloud and make the most of its potential. Empowering our customers to proactively manage projects from end to end, and be exponentially more responsive to leadership and their businesses than ever before, has always been core to our vision.

The cloud is the key that makes it all possible. So it’s exciting that we at Innotas are continuing to explore the potential of the cloud and push the boundaries of what’s possible today, so that our customers can achieve their goals tomorrow.

Five Steps Towards PMO Success

Ideally, it’s a centralized hub for organizing processes; managing special projects; and facilitating the free flow of information across your enterprise. The ultimate Project Management Office (PMO) is a model of defined and aligned processes, with results tracking and transparency to match. Try these tips for project management success.

ONE:  Make business processes defined—and repeatable. Bringing in a project on-time and on-budget once is a combination of good project management and a little bit of luck; consistently executing projects successfully, time after time, is a hallmark of PMO perfection. Take an opportunity to explicitly define your processes as they stand today. Often, things are simply done the way they’ve always been done, without defining the steps and desired outcomes. Worse, and possibly more commonly, different people do different things in different ways, each time.

Get a handle on what happens and how, then weed out those that don’t work consistently. Finally, ensure that the rest are truly replicable. In doing so, you’ll join good company; a growing number of businesses now have formal Project Portfolio Management (PPM) processes in place, rising from 64% in 2003 to 71% in 2013. (Source: 1. The State of Project Portfolio Management PPM 2013 PM Solutions Research)

TWOBreak down departmental silos. A second mark of PMO maturity is the ability to look antagonistically at the needs of the business as a whole, rather than view projects solely thorough disparate departmental lenses. Are your business processes truly aligned with supporting the way your company runs today? Even more importantly, will those processes support the growth and innovation required to take the business to the next level tomorrow.

Make a renewed effort to examine when and where projects cross organizational lines. For example, how should efforts to implement and leverage CRM or digital marketing initiatives intersect to create a more effective outcome for all departments involved? Taking a broader view can help open your eyes—and demonstrate to leadership—how important the PMO’s efforts are to the business as a whole.

THREE: Maximize effective technology. Even the best project manager can’t be everywhere all the time. Moving beyond spreadsheets or traditional project management software to a cloud-based solution can provide governance controls, facilitate communication between project managers and corporate stakeholders, and promote consistency in methodology and best practices.

In addition, the ability to track metrics more transparently than ever before will pay dividends when you’re called on to demonstrate results and value.

FOUR:  Be a traffic director rather than a bottleneck. The centralization of information within the PMO provides the possibility of developing organization-wide performance indicators and operational figures. Yet that accumulation of information can mean that project managers become bottle-necks rather than information facilitators.

Think of new ways to channel the right information to the right people at the right time, and your perceived value to the organization will increase dramatically.

FIVE:  Position project management as a source of competitive advantage. With reliable and replicable processes in place; the transparency to see projects and progress from an organization-wide perspective; and the tools to demonstrate results and value, you have everything you need to elevate the visibility of the PMO and position it as a source of competitive advantage for your company.

Imagine giving leadership the confidence to pursue new innovation strategies, retire costly legacy systems or kick-start new organizational processes that will reduce cost or drive organic growth. A corporate culture that recognizes the value of project management and treats it as a critical core capability is a stronger organization than one that views project management as a transactional function.

While the old adage that “practice makes perfect” may be true, by following these tips, you can make your project management function that much more successful.

 

 

Different is Better

By Kevin Kern, CEO of Innotas

dare to be different resized 600 One of the questions that “C level” executives often get asked is what keeps them up at night? What are the addressable critical components for the role that ostensibly determine success or failure? Careers are made or vaporized if these questions aren’t contemplated, answered, planned, and then executed. The question that keeps me up at night is how we can be different and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

I read a fantastic article by Christopher Lochhead on behalf of Sandhill.com

In the high- tech business, it’s always easy to rely on the conventional fallback position of feature/ function, or who builds the better mouse trap. Clearly, a defensive position, but not always the right strategy for success. If that were all there was to it, Sequent, DEC, Wang, and Pyramid Technologies would certainly still be in business. They were fantastic technologies loaded with rich functionality. Unfortunately, each of them perhaps failed to realize that the basic problem they were solving was not simply speeds and feeds but the creation of a new paradigm for computing technologies. Technologies that shouldn’t simply cater to the Fortune 500 firms, but to all markets.

Pardon the over simplification, but they failed at becoming different instead they focused on being better. They sold to the same companies that HP, IBM et.al tried to sell to in the same fashion. The world of the mouse trap was enticing.

The real challenge becomes how to market and sell any disrupting technology and vision, rather than simply the company or a product. Lead and you will find followers. Today, with so many choices for IT to evaluate, how can any “C level” executive determine which move to make unless the choice is positioned differently?

From our earliest days here at Innotas, we have been consistent with our belief that IT Governance was a concept that that was different from simple PPM or APM. Project management was one stop on the road to IT Governance and this concept is non-negotiable to IT personnel if they wish to revel in the accolades that the business users want to garner them with.

The Innotas market perspective from our beginnings was always to be different, relevant, and supportive of the process for IT Governance. Our multi-tenant architecture was disruptive; our support model and subject matter expertise culture is known throughout our industry. We have always, and will continue to understand the challenges of working towards the holy grail of IT governance. This is what keeps us awake at night.

Now you can sleep.

The changing role of the CIO – From Technologist to Business Strategist

An article published by CIO.com about the modern day CIO and the challenges that they face resonated with us for several reasons.  First, the talent pool for the position as ascribed in the article differs a bit from years past.  Secondly, the characteristics and requirements for this role are shifting and lastly, the expectations for the modern day CIO, by business leaders has evolved prompting a new paradigm for staffing the position.

The CIO requirements for today’s IT leaders consist of stronger business acumen versus the traditional technical proficiencies required in past years. It’s not good enough to be a guru in technology given the business demands and decisions that CIO’s are responsible for in today’s fluctuating environment.  Consider the impact on IT with the new cloud computing offerings that are being introduced into the marketplace.  If you believe that most of the sustaining, non strategic work that CIO’s were chartered with managing in past years is now being outsourced then it follows that the skill set would probably demand modification.

One of the past challenges for CIO’s was always to have a “seat at the table” when it came to impacting business strategy and direction but often could take years to gain the trust of senior management.  Things have changed.

Today’s executives are far more tech savvy and don’t require as much hand holding.  The technology skill set once required to source CIO’s will continue to shift from traditional technology backgrounds to other management functions.  The importance of connecting the advantages of technology to real business problems is now a critical characteristic of the makeup of the modern day CIO.  Buying and using technology for the sake of it is a dead thought process in 2011.  Connecting the dots between the tools and the value to users is here to stay.

The impact of globalization, recession, cloud computing, and IT governance requirements on CIO’s today are impacting the role and the skill set for the better.  IT should always have a “seat at the table” to ensure that the available technologies are impacting the business in the right ways.

Big changes ahead to be sure, but the one thing that won’t change is the importance of the CIO role to any organization regardless of the shifting demands of the position.

Resource Management: It’s Not About Saying “No” …It’s About Saying a Strong “Yes!”

Let’s face it, we are all being asked to do more with less.  Yet, most organizations do not take the proper resource planning steps for their IT departments.  The result – misalignment with corporate or organization goals and IT becoming the bottleneck.  Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. According to a survey posted on ProjectManagement.com, 51% of organizations feel that resource allocation is their single biggest challenge.  This is not a surprise, I have never come across an organization that has enough resources to manage their entire project demand.  As markets evolve, customers change, and organizations pivot, it is impossible to forecast the number of requests that you may get throughout the year.  These requests range from change orders, to infrastructure improvements, to new projects, all adding to your organization’s bottom line.

Although there is not a simple, quick fix solution, there are several steps that you can take.  For example, an IT executive or IT management should be looking at the entire project portfolio while focusing on prioritizing requests and resourcing projects. By exercising Project Portfolio Management (PPM) on the organization as a whole, one is able to get a bird’s eye view on resource capacity and demand.  This is valuable when you are trying to assess “what if” scenarios and make key strategic decisions. Typically, most organizations will ask the question: “What if I move Bob off of Project A, what will happen to the timeline of the project?”  This may be the correct question to ask, but only provides limited value.  What are you going to do with Bob? How will Bob affect his new project?  A more strategic way of looking at your resource (Bob) would be to ask the following: “What if I move Bob from Project A to Project B? What will happen to both project timelines, Bob’s overall capacity, and the overall resource capacity for my organization?  Will I have a better chance of hitting my demand?” By asking these questions and taking control of your entire portfolio, one is able to make better and more informed decisions – adding more value to your organization.

So how specifically will a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution help with your resource management challenges? A good PPM solution will assist in performing the following analysis:

Capacity Planning
Much like financial models depend on having good data, so does effective Resource Management.  Starting off by understanding what the “true capacity” of your team is imperative.  It is easy to say 40 hours per week per person, but this does not take into account holidays, administrative time, or out of office time (due to travel, sick days, customer engagements, etc).  Although hard to measure, true capacity should also take into the type of resource (FT vs. PT), role (project manager vs. developer), skills, and experience.  By understanding the availability and the profile of each resource, you can accurately analyze capacity.

Demand Planning
Demand is best categorized as “true workload.”  This means quantifying project workload and adding it to the overall operational workload.  This is where many organizations stumble – underestimating the operational workload portion of the overall demand.  More often than not, as managers we tend to focus on the “new” projects and marginalize the workload requirements for keeping the business running (operations).

Resource Optimization
Optimization is realized when capacity and demand is aligned, humming in tune.  Your projects are in line with the organization’s strategy, your team is busy and not overcommitted, you are upholding commitments to the business, and you are able to point to how your team is adding value to the organization (i.e. working on that important project).  Optimization needs to be looked at constantly as the variables (capacity and demand) change or evolve.  Having tools that allow you to see different project scenarios and outcomes as you toggle, push out, or change resources and projects is vital.  Creating these “what if” scenarios will help in further optimizing your resources and project portfolio – are your resources working on strategic projects that progress the company or stuck on maintenance or legacy type projects for soon to be end-of-life systems?

Resource management is a tough nut to crack and you will never have enough resources to keep up with your demand.  At some point, you will have to say “no” to something and prove that your resources are working on the most important and strategic projects.  The best way to handle saying “no” is with a stronger “yes.”  A high quality Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution will enable yourself and your team to say stronger “yes’s” by seeing the entire project portfolio – not just individual project capacity and demand – and engaging in more strategic discussions about resource management.

 

 

Key Project Management Trends to Watch in 2014

Last year, we predicted that in 2013 we would see the three Cs: Consolidation, Change and Collaboration—and we most certainly did. These forces will no doubt continue to shape the project management landscape in the year ahead. Yet trends on the horizon point to a renewed focus on the alignment of IT operations and strategic business goals. In addition, competition in all markets will continue to place pressure on both optimization and innovation. Savvy professionals can stay ahead of the curve by keeping the following project management (PM) trend predictions in mind as they craft strategies for 2014 and beyond: 

  • Business Value and Business Technology Optimization: Enterprises will continue to increase focus on the value that IT and PMOs bring to the business—not solely what these departments are costing the company. Rather than cost-cutting, we’ll start to see more companies invest IT dollars more effectively, by moving away from legacy, on-premise Project Portfolio Management (PPM) and Application Portfolio Management (APM) solutions, and into the Cloud.
  • Relevant Metrics and Analytics: As PM becomes even more sophisticated and critical to companies’ success, it will no longer be enough to create reports and dashboards to share with key stakeholders. The value of the PMO and the work that IT does will be micro-analyzed; measurable results will be essential to validating the PMO and IT as valued partners who contribute to the success of the business overall. Therefore, investing in solutions that provide relevant, detailed visibility and transparency will become “table stakes”—a required investment—in determining the value of these departments.
  • Project, Application and Resource Management will be viewed as a trio: There will continue to be  less tolerance for failed projects. In this environment, the PMO must do more than just manage applications or projects. A key driver will be leveraging smart resource allocation to allow executive teams to drive innovation to create competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  • Integrating Critical Business Systems with existing solutions will be key to companies’ success: It seems a simple credo, but it’s challenging to achieve in practice: People should be allowed to work in environments that enable the most productivity. A necessary step toward creating this ideal environment is integration between systems. A nice perk when it worked in the past, integration among PM and critical business systems such as Agile Solutions and ERP systems is now a significant requirement, particularly given the plethora of mergers and acquisitions that took place last year.
  • The rise of the Application-Centric World and the Knowledge Worker: We’ve moved from an era of homogeneity to heterogeneity. In the post-PC era, the focus is no longer on hardware and operating systems; it’s all about applications. Our lives are run now by applications, not restricted by platforms. At the same time, this increased mobility will continue to drive a new definition of a “Knowledge Worker”.  Entire industries will also be redefined, as the post-PC era will create 1.3 billion Knowledge Workers in the next five years alone. We are in an exploding phase, and new application-based technologies are creating untold opportunities we can all take advantage of—including IT departments.
  • The role of the CIO continues to evolve: Because business processes are becoming increasingly complex and applications are composites of many interdependent IT applications and services, CIOs must become shamans leading the right development for the right business reasons. In a dramatic and strategic shift, they will move from being optimizers of processes to managers of Portfolios. They will be accountable for the return on investments by Portfolio—not simply the successful execution of individual projects or application work. 
  • Enterprise Applications will be significantly influenced by the demand for easier-to-use and faster-to-deploy requirements: Amazon, Apple, Google and many others have changed the way we consume applications. These visionary companies incited a new wave of user-friendliness demands, which are now translating into similar demand for requirements in IT enterprise offerings.  Complex is out, simple is in. These new mandates will certainly put pressure on both IT departments and vendors who sell to IT, to evolve to survive and thrive.

As these trends illustrate, in the next three to five years project management professionals will witness some of the most challenging and innovative opportunities that technology and the business environment have to offer. Those who are ready to take advantage of the new paradigms and realities will be inspired by the challenges, and driven to make the most of the opportunities, that lie ahead. Fortunately, awareness of how the world is changing around us is the first step to getting there. By keeping an eye on the key trends, 2014 can be a year of improved efficiency, value and impact for you and your organization.