Posted: 06 Sep. 2021 10 min. read

Navigating Modern Project Portfolio Management - Part 2

PART II: Hosting, Security & Data Residency

Read Part 1 of this blog series here.

In the last article, we looked at the evolution of PPM capabilities and the considerations that enables the selection of tools with the right capabilities to meet your organisation’s PPM needs. In this second part of the two-part series, we will examine reporting and data visualisation options, and look into hosting, security and data residency considerations.

Executives rely upon information presented through status reporting to tell them how their portfolio is performing. Trustworthy, concise and accurate information also empowers them to make decisions that affect the outcomes of the portfolio.

In recent years, organisations have begun to see the benefits of strong visualisation through tools such as PowerBI or Tableau. Having seen how data is represented in a user-friendly and interactive manner, there is often the interest to see similar tools used for reporting of their portfolio, project or program status.

While these and other third party data visualisation tools offer a degree of familiarity and ability for deep customisation, it is worth considering the in-built reporting capabilities within one’s PPM tool of choice.

Most in-built reporting capabilities typically stand out for their ability to reporting real-time. This up-to-the-minute status is desirable since analysis and decisions can be based on the very latest information. In-built reporting is able to traverse data from a summarised view down to the detailed task or activity – an advantage when performing analysis of projects that are not going to plan. Some PPM tools also have interesting capabilities such as the ability to automatically generate PowerPoint status reports for more traditional consumers of reporting. It’s therefore advantageous to consider what your needs are before settling on the reporting approach.

PPM tools have also taken several steps forward from being isolated on our local computers. Just a few years ago, the premier offering of many PPM tools were on-premise solutions. Fast forward a few years and most leading PPM tools are now available on the cloud and offer Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models. This shift has brought about numerous advantages to organisations as they can pivot away from owning and managing the PPM application and infrastructure to focusing on the governance and management of the projects, programs and portfolios they manage.

Gone are the days when a tool took months to set up. Many tools offer generic capabilities right out of the box, while many organisations also offer pre-packaged solutions that significantly accelerate the time it takes to get productive on a PPM solution.

Similarly, organisations no longer need to purchase licenses in bulk blocks. SaaS solutions operate on a consumption model, are elastic and can be activated relatively quickly with little to no CAPEX investment.

The SaaS trend has shone the spotlight on data security as organisations are ever-increasingly concerned about how their data is stored and secured. Fortunately, the security standards employed by most leading PPM tool providers often meet or exceed accepted industry standards. Because the technical management of the solution is the responsibility of the tool provider, the application is always at the latest version, is proactively patched and vulnerabilities found are addressed more quickly.

Alongside the question of data security is the question of data residency. Some organisations are cautious about where their data is stored and have requirements that dictate which country the data can or can’t reside. Only a few PPM tools offer the ability to specify where production and backup data resides. As this requirement continues to gain popularity, more tool providers are expected to offer the ability to specify where data resides. Where this is not possible, some tool providers have kept the option to host the PPM tool on-premise or on a cloud server available to their customers.

The landscape of PPM tools has come a long way and the ever-maturing market has plenty of room to grow. One can reasonably expect the pace of maturity to gather pace with technology advancement and increased competition in the market. With this ever-evolving landscape, selecting the perfect PPM tool can be a scary undertaking. There isn’t a clear map that can tell us which tool to choose – that capability hasn’t been invented yet. So until that happens, stay current, be curious about new capabilities, and keep your PPM roadmap evergreen. Use this as your navigation guide as you traverse the market and make your selection for the PPM solution that’s right for you today and into the future.

Advancements in PPM tools have also increased the complexity of tool selection. This is the second of a two-part series celebrates these advancements and is intended to highlight key considerations. References to tools are just examples and is not tantamount to a recommendation. 

Trevor Richard is a Director in Deloitte’s Technology Strategy & Transformation practice. Having managed many programs, he believes that a great PPM setup bases decisions on facts and greatly sharpens delivery focus.

More about authors

Trevor Richard

Trevor Richard

Director, Consulting

Trevor is a Director at Deloitte’s Technology Strategy & Transformation practice in Sydney. He has spent the last 15 years advising, establishing and running projects, programs and PMOs both in industry and as a consultant. With a career that has taken him to the UK, Europe and Asia, he now focuses on Financial Services in Australia with a particular interest in divestments and technology carve-outs. Trevor also has a keen interest in PPM technology and looks for opportunities to leverage this tech for transparency and consistency of program delivery.