Progress can be dangerous, creating an unhappy ending for even the most iconic of companies, just ask manufacturers of photographic film, CDs, or even book stores. But progress is nothing new; CDs replaced cassettes; cassettes previously replaced LPs; LPs had replaced 78s, and so on. And it is not progress itself that is dangerous, it is the failure to recognize the threat and turn it into an opportunity. By continuously seeking out ways to innovate, a company can change what seemed like a predictable ending to their story.
Pitney Bowes has done exactly that, finding new ways to innovate for nearly 100 years. Pitney Bowes is now undergoing a digital transformation focused on delivering innovative products that customers want. In order to grow their business and profitability in existing investments, and to fund new opportunities, such as international shipping and cross-border e-commerce, they needed a solid management system. They wanted a new management that could help their leaders drive initiatives, and make better and more informed business decisions with reliable data.
Pitney Bowes’ Portfolio and Project Management Office (PMO) is undergoing its own transformation to support these needs, with the goal of driving business results, not project results. Their adoption of Clarity PPM is a key aspect to their story of enabling digital transformation.
“At the end,” Gale Persil, Portfolio Program Director, says, “if we’ve only been successful at project management, we’ve failed.” She explained that Pitney Bowes wanted to, “reduce the amount of time people spent collecting and validating data in order to focus their time on using that data to make good decisions. Secondarily, the burden of collecting that data could not impact employees’ day-to-day jobs and take them away from delivering products.”
With Clarity PPM, Pitney Bowes can focus on achieving strategic, multi-layered portfolio analysis while integrating with multiple, disparate tools across the company, such as: Rally (formerly CA Agile Central, SAP, Jira, Aha!, and others. The new focus has enabled them to bring together engineering, finance, and product management. This integrated approach to product delivery is powered by complete, timely, and integrated data. At the same time, it automates all of the minutiae, delivering on the company’s desire to allow employees to drive value.
Gale Persil describes how this value exceeded their expectations: “One of the fantastic things about Clarity PPM is its flexibility which supports us in any direction we want to go, and some we hadn’t even previously considered.”
Taking advantage of Clarity PPM’s flexibility and data-rich reporting, Pitney Bowes has achieved a number of significant benefits:
- Higher-quality, more timely, and more complete information is driving better business decisions. At the same time, the cost of capturing and managing that information has been reduced.
- Levels of insight never previously available, such as multi-year trend analysis and cross business unit collating and comparisons, can also be analyzed against whichever variables are important to individual stakeholders.
- A greater understanding of their global workforce distribution drives best practices.
- An enterprise-wide delivery calendar, managed through Clarity PPM, helps to drive necessary cross-functional planning.
- Coordination and collaboration have improved across all areas of the business. The relationship between product management (the innovation engine) and engineering (the delivery engine) has been enhanced, as well as the relationships between marketing, sales, support, and other teams.
The steps that Pitney Bowes took to achieve these benefits were remarkably straightforward and accelerated because, from the outset, they selected the right tool for them. Effectively leveraging Clarity PPM’s out-of-the-box functionality provided the foundation for achieving their goals. Pitney Bowes was further supported by: aligning all the tools to enable agile delivery, embracing multiple leading-edge approaches to project delivery that aligned with how they wanted to work.
From the start, the focus was on product level financials, not project level financials. This product level focus ensured that the transformation was delivering business performance improvements. They also continued to focus on measures of customer value, recognizing it as a long-term driver of business value.
Leveraging Clarity PPM in their product level, customer-centric approach, Pitney Bowes took the following steps:
- Loaded three years of historic data into Clarity PPM before launch, as well as ensuring portfolio analysis functionality was available on day one. Not only did this provide insight into historical information that could be leveraged to improve current decisions, it instilled a data management and normalization discipline that helped ensure quality standards were met immediately.
- Modernized time tracking, eliminating antiquated systems. The introduction of “hands off” time capture wherever possible was combined with a platform independent time tracking approach that maximized information capture while minimizing workload. With the integration of Clarity PPM with financials and reporting systems this allowed for automated financial management and report generation.
Gale Persil, Portfolio Program Director of Pitney Bowes, is proud of what has been achieved; and she should be. You might wonder what drove the process, what kept everyone pulling in the same direction? Persil’s response is both simple and genius:
“Begin with the end in mind, even if you’re in the middle. In agile fashion, every day we need to ask ourselves if we are focused on the most important stakeholder needs. Is what we’re building still what they’re looking for? If not, we need to change direction – fast. We can’t get stuck in waterfall thinking. Put a plan together, scope and fund it, and then execute. Some projects are started then put on the shelf when better ideas come our way. Sometimes we hit dead ends and have to backtrack. One of the fantastic things about Clarity PPM is its flexibility which supports us in any direction we want to go, and some we hadn’t even previously considered.”
Continuous innovation is what Pitney Bowes has been doing for the past 100 years. Embracing modern digital thinking and tools is driving their current transformation to remain relevant and deliver customer value. It works for the company as a whole, and it works for the PMO function. It can also work for you.
You may not work for a nearly 100-year-old organization; you might not work for an organization that has ever transformed; but it is likely you work for an organization that faces both challenges and opportunities as a result of the evolution of work. You might also work for an organization that is not as effective or as efficient as it might be, with productivity loss impacting projects. Develop the vision that Pitney Bowes’ Gale Persil showed in your own organization, combine it with a world class PPM solution like Clarity PPM, commit to the journey, and you will find your performance is transformed.