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Don’t Leave the PPM Strategy to Chance

Take a more activist approach to executing strategy by adopting new approaches to PPM.

Many organizations today report too much demand for projects and not enough capacity to do them. Without laser-like focus identifying and rapidly delivering on the most valuable requests, organizations risk falling behind their competitors.

But too many organizations leave strategy realization to chance. In a digital world, the probability of success due to chance is low, and the implications of failure are severe. This is why creating and executing on a solid innovation-driven strategy is key.

If an organization’s strategy can be executed as part of its current operations, then that strategy probably is not sufficiently significant or far-reaching enough to be an adequate response to digital change.

Gartner predicts that, by 2021, enterprises that commit dedicated organizational resources to ensuring that strategy is successfully executed will be 80 percent more likely to be industry leaders.

Donna Fitzgerald, research vice president at Gartner believes that the stakes of digitalization are particularly high for program and portfolio management (PPM).

“Ensuring a relevant PPM future requires a dynamic strategy execution capability. PPM leaders and practitioners must seek new and unexpected partners as they reinvent their profession and earn leadership interest in providing engagement and funding for this new future,” said Ms. Fitzgerald. “Simply put, IT project management offices (PMOs) will need to adapt and become more active allies in digital transformation, or they will cease to exist.”

Over the next five years, the shift toward digital business will impact almost all organizations directly or indirectly. If an organization’s strategy can be executed as part of its current operations, then that strategy probably is not sufficiently significant or far-reaching enough to be an adequate response to digital change.

Developing an enterprise-level competency for strategy execution, such as a strategy realization office (SRO) can provide significant competitive advantage.

Executing strategy is hard because the organization needs to begin thinking, investing and ultimately, performing in the manner required by a new business model, while keeping its current business model operating to ensure short-term revenue.

“Developing an enterprise-level competency for strategy execution, such as a strategy realization office (SRO) can provide significant competitive advantage,” said Ms, Fitzgerald. “It not only increases the probability of success in the digital future, but also encourages the development of a cultural and human-centered competency rather than a technology or process-centered one.”

The first challenge organizations must confront is how to develop an internal capability to consistently and effectively execute strategy. While Gartner anticipates a surge in the demand for strategy consulting in the near term, organizations will only gain the long-term benefit of a unique capability if they learn to do it themselves.

Finding, hiring and retaining innovative employees to staff a construct like an SRO will be crucial if organizations are to succeed at executing new and evolving strategies. People who can deal with uncertainty, risk and more-than-occasional failure will be required, making this a significant culture shift.

“We anticipate that a concept like strategy execution is likely to be around for the next five to 10 years,” said Ms. Fitzgerald. “At some point in the digital future, the impact of all the potential changes, such as massive unemployment through automation, changes in mortality rates and so on, will become ‘the new normal’. At that point, strategy execution will simply become a vestige of the postmillennial era.”

For the foreseeable future however, strategy execution is the best all-around fitness program that an enterprise can adopt. Building the organizational muscle to run the race of effective strategy execution will be as important as winning the race.

Smarter With Gartner

Client Research
Gartner clients can read more in the research note Predicts 2017: PPM Leaders.”

Visit Gartner’s Program & Portfolio Management hub for complimentary research and webinars.

Gartner Event
Gartner analysts will provide additional analysis and information on PPM trends at the Gartner Program & Portfolio Management Summits 2017 taking place June 5-7 in Orlando, Florida and June 12-13 in London. You can follow news and updates from the events on Twitter using #GartnerPPM.

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