What is ePPM and why is it becoming more important?

Author: Tony Antoccia

ePPM is the acronym commonly used for Electronic Project Portfolio Management. More and more companies are constantly striving for faster innovation and experiencing digital transformations. Thus, it is becoming more and more important to provide a single source of truth for projects, portfolios and resources that touch work that align with these company strategies. Without an ePPM in place, it often results in hours of time wasted consolidating/reconciling data, a loss of resource utilization and poor strategic alignment.

When the Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (ePPM) system connects all the different people and processes in a way that delivers value, the organization gains business transparency, profitability, and project success. The organization that successfully implements ePPM will be aligned around the strategic objectives, and will be effectively cascading communication to its people, whether the communication is about shifts in strategy, project performance, or resource capacity. Staff can be working in a proactive mode, managing everything that directly impacts the performance and probability of success of the projects underway. The cost information that accounting department has captured will help the project manager evaluate the cost performance of his or her project, his or her supplier relationships are well maintained because of the proactive nature of the work, and the estimated remaining project costs will help the financial office generate an accurate cash flow projection for the organization. The system creates a synergy that adds tremendous value for organizations of any size.

With ePPM, management gets the ability to understand exactly what their organization has planned to do, how well they are doing against plan, what they have spent to date, how much progress they have made, what is running behind schedule, what needs to be reworked or rethought, what should be paid for the work that has been completed, when to order critical materials for just-in-time time delivery, and experience-based forecast of what it will take to finish each project and the ripple effects of being late. With the right enterprise-wide processes in place and enforced, every project team member can get an accurate, up-to-the-minute picture of what they could do and what should be done, so that informed decisions can be made to ensure successful on-time, under budget, and high quality results.

An integrated solution certainly has some tactical benefits, such as eliminating redundant data entry across systems, which otherwise might introduce errors—and certainly would delay having access to the most up-to-date information. But a single, integrated management system for ePPM brings even greater business benefits. With the actionable business intelligence of ePPM, senior managers can look across all the projects in the enterprise, and literally see the future of that organization and its ability to compete and to succeed. Project data is integrated with global resource details, individual resource assignments, budgets and forecasted costs, tasks/activities, progress information, and most importantly, forecasts to compete from the field. The managers can collaborate intelligently in a fully informed way with any and all of the participants, clients, sponsors, contractors, consultants and others who can make a difference to the organization's future. The same project-based processes that used to be fragmented across disparate systems, now flow smoothly, enabling people to do their jobs that ultimately have an impact on project delivery. Everyone has the information they need to move the project forward—even if they don't realize that their everyday decisions impact projects because they don't work directly on projects.

With ePPM, an organization will be more agile because it can be sure that clear goals are communicated from the top down, and are then reflected in the project priorities. The impact of an integrated EPPM solution is the ability to get more projects successfully completed per investment dollar and the time allotted.