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The sky’s the limit

Project, programme and portfolio management

BY VALERIE CARMICHAEL-BROWN

The emergence of project, programme and portfolio management (PPPM ) as a fast growing market for software-as-a-service (SaaS), which has an expected compound annual growth rate of 40 per cent, according to Gartner, clearly makes a definitive case for its relevance within the enablement and realization of cloud computing. Gartner reports in Competitive Landscape: SaaS Project and Portfolio Management Software, Worldwide, 2011: “PPPM solutions will become increasingly important to managing successful cloud adoption and to providing visibility and control of the cloud services portfolio. PPPM is the only product category that will see a significant increase over the next two years (up 13 per cent) when itcomes to managing public cloud migrations.”However, it is not only cloud that stands to gain from PPPM – it is a mutually beneficial relationship. The cloud and SaaS can become a portfolio manager’s best friend, especially when working in an immature or ‘red-taped’environment. In fact, Gartner states that PPPM is the fastest growing SaaS enterprise software marketplace, with an expected five-year growth rate of 41 per cent.

The PPPM in the partnership
So, with all this said, how does PPPM impact the adoption of the cloud and what will its role be in the adoption of cloud computing development platforms, such as Microsoft Windows Azure?

For one, in order to migrate to the cloud, companies need to employ due diligence and rigorous planning. Part of this planning is the
development of an organizational risk profile and determining how this will be impacted by the move to the cloud. Also, the risk profile determines which services and applications will be moving to the cloud. PPPM plays a fundamental role in this process, managing the programs, projects, resources and requirements that are needed to move to the cloud and need to be employed to deliver the most business value. Indeed, companies are increasingly using PPPM service providers to drive their cloud projects. PPPM offers the following benefits to cloud deployment projects:

  • A strategic view of IT
  • Organizations can reduce the cost and complexityassociated with managing the new processes
  • Crucial visibility and governance that will ensurethe transformative value of the cloud
  • Management of IT and cloud transformationprogrammes, projects and resources that areneeded to deliver change.

A PPPM -based approach provides CIO s with the insight, control, and flexibility to turn IT transformation ideas into real value-added
business services and to adapt quickly to changing business conditions.

Cloud gives back to PPPM
PPPM is dictated by technology’s ever-evolving nature. With the cloud and provision of SaaS, companies stand to save on costly IT expenditure while staying one step ahead of their competitors. Through SaaS, new technologies and solution sets can be adopted when and where required. It is undoubtedly a dynamic, competitive and flexible approach to deploying and managing IT resources. So what are some of the practical, day-to-day benefits to PPPM customers when using the cloud as Saas, as opposed to deploying and hosting these solutions in-house? For one, considerable investment in hardware and technical expertise are often needed to host new applications. With cloud-based SaaS, solutions are deployed quickly and a small, technical team is required. Furthermore, due toits on-demand nature, cloud PPPM tools offer faster time-to value. In a world where quickaccess is critical, cloud PPPM is a must – it can be accessed from virtually anywhere, which means decision-making is improved, allowing on-the-fly changes and implementation. Also, SaaS PPPM allows for easy updates, meaning managers therefore have access to the latest features and functionality and no upgrades or re-installation is required. PPPM SaaS also provides multi-tenant, single instance application – therefore, one platform delivering features to many PPPM customers via subscription or multi-tenant, multiple-instance where customers have their ownapplication platform delivering PPPM featuresvia subscription based pricing.

Cloud SaaS offers the following important benefits to PPPM:

  • Real time visibility and transparency ofproposed investments across all areas
  • Deployments timeframes can usually bemeasured in days not months
  • Lowered total cost of ownership – emphasison configurable solutions (rather than highlycustomised systems), usability, and automaticupgrade options
  • Minimal capital outlay – no need forinfrastructure to support multiple, on-premiseenvironments
  • Flexible, subscription-based – no majorupfront investment
  • Web-based task, project and portfolioallow team members to access the projectschedule, update individual tasks andcollaborate on projects from the internet
  • PPPM vendors configure and deployenvironments to specifications for a nominal,one-time charge.

SaaS-based PPPM solutions help to readily implement change and to ultimately drive a competitive and innovative organization. In the end, PPPM and cloud is a partnership that will set the trend for years to come. They allow successful deployment and usage and with offerings from Windows Azure, Windows 8 and Microsoft SharePoint, the sky is indeed the limit.

Valerie Carmichael-Brown is CEO of Triniti
Business Solutions

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