Executing global strategies with the Program Management Office

As technology breakthroughs help teams overcome geographic boundaries, more and more enterprises are going global. The benefits of globalization far outweigh its challenges. Enterprises pursuing the globalization path leverage global best practices and IT to their business advantage, reducing their operations costs while increasing their focus on strategic business needs. Global teams rely on fundamentally different processes, which enable them to remain competitive. Global strategies need to be driven by a well-integrated IT strategy and enabled by a Program Management Office (PMO). Enterprises may adopt an organic or an inorganic strategy to pursue their ongoing global programs. Global IT Program drivers and the Program Management Office; Globalization requires strategic programs to achieve enterprise business objectives. Today, technology is the essential engine of globalization programs, mandating an IT Strategy that is tightly integrated with the globalization strategy. Any global program, with a well-laid out IT strategy, is driven by a set of key common business drivers to leverage synergies across the enterprise, irrespective of the nature of the globalization imperative. Common business drivers include:
  • The need for consistent and standard processes
  • Established control mechanisms
  • Consistent enterprise-wide financial reporting
  • Visibility to the global supply chain
The Program Management Office (PMO) serves as the vital link between the global IT strategy and its successful implementation. Sometimes, enterprises unwisely constrain the role of the PMO to managing project portfolios. This limited view of PMO capabilities often leads to a singular focus on project success, missing the holistic benefits of the PMO, which includes forming the vision for the enterprise's future strategic initiatives. This project-based view of PMO leads to suboptimal PMO effectiveness. With such restricted thinking, there is often a lack of enterprise commitment and executive support to empower the PMO. In other words, the PMO is sometimes perceived as a project execution service, fulfilling just-in-time initiatives across the enterprise, but lacking material impact on the enterprise's opportunities for true scale and growth. However, with constantly changing business dynamics and with the advent of the global economy, globalization requirements are no longer tactical. This raises an important question: once a global initiative is completed successfully, should the PMO be disbanded or should it continue to exist to address further global needs? There are ongoing challenges, demanding considerable governance and planning at the strategic level of the enterprise, spanning all functions including:
  • Measuring revenue and profit - where we've been
  • Measuring customer experience (loyalty) - where we're going
  • Measuring operational metrics/goals that drive behavior - where we're going
  • Tracking work streams impacting the customer experience, including:
    • Six Sigma initiatives, which maximize product serviceability and drive down customer Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
    • Customer relationships
    • Business readiness
    • Sales/marketing programs
    • Product quality initiatives
    • Professional services programs
    • Customer support initiatives
The emerging role of the PMO; the PMO is uniquely positioned in the globalization arena to help enterprises transform business drivers into cohesive projects through structured planning. The PMO fulfills a bifurcated role in the enterprise: 1) strategic; advising senior management in decision making, and 2) operational; managing project portfolios within the program, enabling globally distributed teams to work synchronously, ensuring all program objectives are achieved. The PMO should be a centrally placed structure with representation from both IT and business and not just be IT centric projects.

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One Comment

  1. Posted November 5, 2008 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Blin ... really beautifully written! All this is so familiar ... and truthfully!

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