How one UK Financial Services player focused on time to value in their ongoing journey from maturing PPM to transformational Strategic Portfolio Management.
In a financial landscape marked by relentless change, the journey of a UK-based financial services firm provides a compelling blueprint for harnessing technology to not only navigate but also capitalise on the transformational tide.
This story offers insights into how the client, in partnership with Ignite Technologies’ Professional Services Team and Broadcom’s Clarity platform, has begun to master the complex art of strategic portfolio management and resource planning and their journey from project to investment planning.
Faced with a strategic project portfolio that included programmes such as a mortgage transformation program, core banking platform upgrade, brand strategy, general ledger upgrades, system replacements, product optimisations, security posture and website re-platforming this UK building society needed to rapidly improve their ability to deliver these programmes on time, and on budget.
“As we embark on mass change and technology transformation, we need to manage resources better, projects better, and improve our visibility across reporting all work”Client portfolio leader
The pivotal challenge the client faced was an all-too-common tale in the sector: managing internal resources effectively. Their previous system was adept at planning but fell short in execution and lacked the necessary data granularity for real-time and informed resource scenario planning.
In particular, the absence of a comprehensive resource picture across the business meant decisions were often based on outdated data and whilst there were ambitions to do great things in the future, step one was to get hold of what was really happening. Fast.
“They knew in principle what projects the teams were working on…but in reality the truth was far less rosy, and it was in the details that the problems lay”Consulting lead – Ignite Technology
By the time we got involved, Clarity was not the only contender; however, the deciding factor was a positive prior experience the main decision-maker had with the platform. This first-hand knowledge of Clarity’s capabilities influenced a critical decision that would shape the client’s operational future.
The project brief was clear, to deliver an out-of-the-box implementation of Clarity within weeks, not months.
Their view was simple and ruthlessly pragmatic:
“We’re going to pick up an enterprise-level tool and we’re going to adopt whatever we can, and we’re not going to try and change it. We’re not even going to rewrite processes until we know what it can do”Client portfolio lead
It was simple: value today, albeit without the bells and whistles that Clarity can deliver, versus months of value deferred.
“It wasn’t our usual brief, the temptation for many enterprise clients is to gold-plate requirements, even at the cost of time to value, and so it was a refreshing project to work on”Consulting lead – Ignite Technology
The results – Phase One
12 weeks after the project kick-off the project was delivered. The client gained visibility into their project portfolio, by strategic roadmap and project hierarchy. The platform provided a clear snapshot of resource allocation, enabling the client to assess what was being worked on, the progress of various tasks, and what remained to be done, eliminating the cumbersome process of sifting through spreadsheets.
This newfound clarity had an immediate impact. The client could now capture the cost, impact, and resource implications of their projects in real time. They could compare this with their existing operations and make informed decisions about initiating new projects.
“For the first time ever, we have used data to drive prioritisation for the second half of this year, and for the first half of 24. It has landed VERY (sic) well with our CEO and our Exco team”Client portfolio lead
For instance, when a new project with a material budget was proposed, they were able to immediately determine whether they had the headcount and budget to execute or if they needed to reallocate resources or secure additional funds. In essence, for the first time they were able to make decisions based on data they trusted.
Next Steps – Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM) and Investment planning
The executive team, initially very satisfied with the high-level project prioritisation Clarity offered, is now gearing up for a more sophisticated approach.
As an immediate step , they are preparing to expand their use of the system to include non-labour costs and other financial elements, by deepening the integration with financial planning and management tools. Clarity will be pivotal in enabling them to undertake sophisticated scenario-based investment planning and modelling, moving beyond the tactical to the strategic.
This work will enable the client to see project portfolio financial health at a glance —budget numbers, forecasts, and spend to date. Although they had not yet delved into detailed benefit figures, the system’s potential in this area promised significant insights into future financial planning.
“The next stage is the point at which Clarity’s SPM and investment planning capabilities become truly transformational – enabling them to model scenarios based on multiple variants, including complex resource planning and cost-benefit analysis”Consulting lead – Ignite Technology
- There’s a logical journey from mature PPM to SPM. Don’t trip over your shoelaces. Walk before you can run.
- When delivering a strategic project in hard-pressed economic times ‘time to value is a critical measure’. Focus on the deployment of capabilities that accelerate that. Everything else is a ‘nice to have’ and can wait.
- There’s a myth that enterprise planning tools like Broadcom’s Clarity are always ‘complex’. Not true. They are rich, but complexity is a choice.