Maintaining strategic alignment across an enterprise portfolio
Blog posted by: George Hawkins – managing consultant, Capita Transformation, 30 November 2018.
How does an organization instil the required discipline to align portfolios and hold itself to account?
Step 1: Business forecast
New market opportunities drive strategic change. This means the first step should be to look at what kind of an organization you need to be in order to operate successfully in this space.
Don’t always assume the existing functions and competencies will fit the new requirements. Take a fresh perspective starting with customer demand, working backwards to define your organization.
Step 2: Current state analysis
This is about understanding your business and being data driven. You need to know what the business does well and how it performs against internal benchmarks. Carrying out a maturity assessment across the most critical functions will also help to build an informed cross-functional picture.
Step 3: Gap analysis
You now need to start to map how the business functions must change to deliver against your original forecast.
Your maturity assessment can help you to look at each function in turn; in terms of where it is now, where it needs to be and the journey it needs to go on to perform effectively – all set against time, cost and quality.
Step 4: Quantify costs and opportunities
Ideally, by this stage, you are developing a mature view of the investment costs involved with developing/transforming business functions to support strategy implementation - but this now needs to be quantified ready to take to the board.
When considering the benefits and possible opportunities of these activities, bear in mind that the most successful programmes tend to be those which have their benefits clearly laid out and accountable people nominated. Programmes with Benefits Maps – as part of their benefits realization plan – can demonstrate more clearly how they are delivered across an enterprise.
Step 5: Review existing portfolio
Ask yourself: can you bend any of the existing projects to your purposes? For example, can the roll out of a particular app be paused, tweaked and applied to the “new world”, or do you need to scrap it and take the consequences?
Remember, you could be dealing with hundreds of such projects, so a consistent method to score the relevance of each in terms of how they support the new strategy is vital. During this process, you may find that elements of the portfolio are poorly aligned and include “vanity projects” which can be put to one side.
On the other hand, systems may already be in place which can be tailored to help with your portfolio review and save valuable time.
Step 6: Shortlist projects and programmes
Armed with this analysis, you can now confidently draw up a list of projects and programmes which you know closely align with the new strategy. Crucially, each has earned its place by qualifying against a rigorous scoring matrix which can be justified to the board and removes any element of bias.
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