It was no surprise that EDUCAUSE 2016 was an incredible learning experience for me. Getting close to the action and meeting with CIOs, dedicated Project Management professionals, and those managing projects as part of their role in a very condensed timeframe was really eye opening. It always amazes me the diversity of projects, organizations are faced with managing. From the expected IT portfolios to managing a library collection move, the Higher Education space is an excellent example showcasing the far reaching benefits of PPM.
Especially with larger institutions and systems, the Higher Education world provides a bird’s eye view of the PPM marketplace that demands solutions to meet the diverse needs of their stakeholders. Needs can range from sophisticated score carding requirements of portfolios to basic capture of project requests. With that being said, here are some common recurring themes shared with us by conference attendees who had visited our booth at EDUCAUSE 2016:
- Centralization of project information – like with many other organizations, Higher Education institutions are faced with fragmented methods to capturing project data. Since many of these organizations cannot be standardized on a specific set of tools, the ability to have a single place for project stakeholders to capture even basic project data can improve the way portfolios are prioritized, managed and tracked.
- Managing and tracking project intake – due to the sheer number of incoming requests across multiple administrative and academic departments, the biggest hurdle many of these institutions face is an effective way to manage requests and efficiently focus their efforts where mostly needed. In some cases, the ability to properly manage project requests can result in saving many months of avoidable delays in executing on strategic initiative.
- Increase visibility across the portfolio – partial and/inaccurate information on the portfolio has left many project leaders with the inability to effectively report on where their portfolios stand. For many stakeholders, they are seeking a PPM solution that offers the most accurate set of data on statuses, performance metrics, and all around value the portfolio is delivering the organizations they serve.
- User experience matters – all of the above three points do not matter if the selected PPM solution is shelved. Especially in Higher Education where the very diverse user base falls within a broad spectrum of PPM maturity, PPM solutions need to be flexible enough to adapt to both PMPs and novices alike.
All in all, EDUCAUSE 2016 validated what we have known all along – the need for PPM does not end with the PMO or even with the PM. Projects are ubiquitous and the ability to provide a solution to address all those who come in contact with the portfolio will ultimately result in improved performance and justification of the projects an organization invests in.
To learn more about Upland Software’s Enterprise PPM offering Eclipse PPM for Higher Education go to: https://uplandsoftware.com/eclipseppm/
About the Author: Neil Stolovitsky has over 16 years of IT experience with end-user, consulting, and vendor organizations, along with extensive expertise in business development, software selection, and channel strategies. He has published numerous white papers and articles covering Professional Services Automation, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for service industries, Project Portfolio Management, IT Governance, and New Product Development to a global audience. Neil currently holds the position of Senior Solution Consultant with Upland Software.