PPM in 2013: Consolidation, Change and Collaboration

| , EVP, Innotas

First published on ProjectManagement.com on January 2nd, 2013.

As  2012 starts to become a distant memory and companies begin implementing their 2013 plans, I’ve spent some time reflecting on the Project Portfolio Management (PPM) trends of 2012 and how those trends will continue, amplify or decrease into the new year.  From observations made over the past year, I’ve formulated some predictions for the coming 365 days that I like to call the “Three ‘C’s of PPM in 2013”: Consolidation, Change and Collaboration.

Consolidation

This first prediction was not hard to identify, since it was a primary trend of 2012. This year, vendors in the PPM space were acquired at record rates. Oracle’s acquisition of two sizable PPM companies in 2012 (Instantis and Skire) and Silverback Enterprise Group’s purchase of PowerSteering, EPM live and Tenrox are just two examples. It’s happening throughout the industry, and we expect this level of consolidation to continue, particularly over the next 18-24 months as larger companies look to increase their share of the market and capitalize on native cloud computing companies.

In addition to the consolidation of vendors, I predict continued consolidation between PPM and APM (Application Portfolio Management). More specifically, I see IT project management consolidating to include APM/PPM, ALM and PLM as well as integration with agile development and service desk. In the past year, so many articles and viewpoints revolved around the notion of a single source of truth for reporting and managing new product development work, bug fixes, enhancements to in-house applications and ticketing systems.  Consolidation seems natural at this point in time.

Change

Along with consolidation comes change, my second prediction for the industry. I think change will reveal itself in many different ways, deeply affecting PPM leaders and resource managers. But let’s first look at the causes of this change in the coming year.

The first and probably most obvious cause leading to change is the continued economic turbulence, which began with the 2008 recession. With economic downturn comes increased cost considerations, and PPM is no exception. Despite the fact that a solid PPM solution will save businesses money and is a smart investment, PPM vendors are still faced with trying to sell their solutions to companies that have tightened their budgets. And with workforces already stretched to capacity, continued cost pressures on most IT organizations will force IT and PPM leaders to rethink how they deal with increasing demand in more efficient ways.

Resource management itself is ripe for change. Current top-down best-practice approaches to resource management are difficult to implement, available only to a handful of very disciplined organizations and often provide diminishing returns relative to their costs. The tools are available, but the appetite to consume change is generally difficult for organizations.

Change in 2013, and likely beyond, will take a number of forms. Chief among them: I believe that PMOs and resource managers will be forced to rethink how they manage their resources, focusing on determining how to maximize results and making it equally important to actual utilization. They will need to take more of a leadership position within their companies. They have to be bold. How they will be required to change leads us to my final prediction.

Collaboration

Collaboration will be the watchword of success in 2013 and beyond. Success depends on a combination of best practices, executive support and tools that provide visibility into project and portfolio execution. Many larger corporations have already established an enterprise program management office (EPMO) to monitor and improve the value created by investments in projects and programs. I believe many more companies will follow suit.

PPM software vendors such as ourselves know we play a key part in the picture. We know we must continue to evolve our knowledge sharing and collaborative capabilities, focusing on improving speed, accuracy, agility and decision making. We need to work in an even more collaborative way with our clients to help protect them against project failure and increase project success. Our success and that of our clients depends on it.

Here’s one last prediction I hope will become reality: a happy, healthy and very successful 2013.

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