Defining reporting standards and governing processes to collect and share data is a core remit of the PMO, aiming to deliver visibility of portfolios and projects to decision makers.
So the PMO always aims to be data-driven, yet that doesn’t mean a data-driven culture is an inevitable outcome. There certainly are challenges in establishing such a culture – but we believe there is no platform like the Microsoft Power Platform to help you put the essential tools in place to make it happen.
What does “data driven” mean?
A data-driven approach is when progress and decisions are measured and influenced by data rather than intuition (gut feel) or past examples (personal experience).
What are the challenges?
No organisation says, “Let’s not use data, let’s go by intuition alone.” Most professionals have a genuine desire to make good decisions based on data. Yet they may be challenged when data is missing, late, disconnected, faulty, poorly designed, or lacks depth or history. They may struggle with how it is accessed or presented. They may have superiors that in the end will override data-driven recommendations with their own gut feel.
While some of these challenges are clearly due to organisational culture, process and knowledge, many organisations fail at the first hurdle of implementing appropriate tools to collect, safeguard and analyse data. Particularly in the world of projects and portfolios, many fail to establish a central data store. Instead, data is distributed across spreadsheets, PowerPoint decks and SharePoint lists. If databases are available, they serve a narrow purpose and are disconnected from each other. Reporting is often manual, published with delay, and doesn’t provide any facility to drill into data.
We need tools
Program Framework has worked with hundreds of PMOs over the years, so we know first-hand how many organisations find themselves in this challenging position. Implementing an enterprise PPM tool is a popular solution, but they often fail to deliver their promised benefits. Sometimes these tools decline in use because they are inflexible or challenging and expensive to operate.
One might be forgiven to feel slightly cynical when it comes to tools. There are plenty that promise to solve all problems, yet most people are savvy enough to know that they won’t make a difference unless they are well-adopted.
Yet a data driven culture is unachievable without appropriate tools - there is no hope of ever making a step change if all we can rely on is Excel.
So if it’s tools we need to support a data driven PMO, then they should deliver three pillars of capability:
Gather Data: Making it easy and efficient for users to capture information, but also opening up more data sources. For example, collect data through integrations between systems or enable third parties like suppliers, partners or customers to contribute information.
Assure and Secure Data: Certainly the tool needs to safeguard our data from inappropriate use and ensure compliance. But it should also be highly tailored to the needs of the data entry user community and easy to use, so they will adopt it consistently. A great user experience will facilitate data timeliness and quality, which in turn should be monitored easily by the PMO.
Turn Data into Business Value: Now that we have rich quality data, we need to convert it into insights, with attractive dashboards that engage our stakeholders. We need to make it available for analytics to understand performance and trends, thus turning data into a valuable asset.
If in addition to the above capabilities the chosen tool is fit for rapid deployment and affordable, then we are on to a winner.
So the Power Platform can deliver all of this?
It sure can. As its name suggests, the Power Platform is not a PPM tool – it is a platform of tools and services like Power Apps (for low code, rapid application development), Power BI (for business analytics) and Power Automate (for process automation and integration). It can join up various collaboration and work management tools and even combine these with world class Artificial Intelligence components to deliver amazing capabilities.
The Power Platform helps you gather data
With Power Apps you can deploy applications with efficient and easy user experiences, personalised for different user roles and devices, facilitating adoption and data entry quality. You can easily engage external parties as well, such as suppliers or customers – even allowing the deployment of web-based portals.
Power Automate opens up powerful integration scenarios, with 100s of out-of-the-box connectors to services and databases. The ability to harvest data from connected business systems, work management and planning tools provides great opportunities to enrich your data set and join up users.
Artificial Intelligence features take your data gathering capabilities even further, e.g. through Robotic Process Automation, bots, automated forms processing, imaging and language services.
The Power Platform helps you assure and secure data
Key to this is the fact that it resides in your own Microsoft tenant – so there are no concerns in terms of where the data is hosted and all your existing IT security arrangements apply.
Within the platform, role-based security controls provide powerful facilities to secure access and visibility of data down to field level. Auditing is available to track field level history showing who made updates when.
To assure data quality we need user adoption – and this is where the Power Platform really shines. It is the home of Teams and other collaborative tools that people in your organisation likely use already. Seamless integration and single sign-on will make it easy for your teams to use the tool.
The Power Platform helps you convert data into business value
It sure does – it is the home of Power BI. If your organisation has chosen Microsoft cloud, then most likely Power BI is your strategic BI tool already and for good reason. It opens up a world of opportunity to publish engaging dashboards and empower data analytics.
How can you unlock these capabilities for your own PMO?
There is no need to worry about how all these features can be brought together to turn them into your amazing PPM tool. We have done this for you, by creating Power Framework – a readily available digital PMO solution on the Power Platform.
It harnesses all the great capabilities of the Power Platform described above, rapidly deployed to help you gather, safeguard and get value from your data. It is the essence of Program Framework's PPM experience and delivers a pragmatic accelerator to your journey towards a data driven PMO.
Keen to find out more?
Watch this recorded webinar to see various demos to illustrate the points made above.
Would you rather see a personal demo? Just get in touch and let’s get it scheduled for you.