Gartner: Extreme transformation is on the horizon for some leaders

project management

Ongoing economic uncertainty is driving a greater number of business transformation projects and programmes with higher expectations for results.

So claims analyst firm Gartner, which believes such a shift requires engagement outside basic programme and portfolio management (PPM) practices.

Such uncertainty means IT-enabled business transformation projects are going well beyond the scope of previous practices and existing workplace experience. As a result, PPM leaders must take action to prepare for them, Gartner warned.

"Today, due to the turbulent nature of business, supporting strategic initiatives and adapting to market changes brings greater scrutiny upon all PPM leaders," said Robert Handler, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

"It will also drive the acquisition of much-needed organisation change management and business process change management capabilities. The increased severity of coming changes will serve to highlight PPM skill and practice deficiencies, and bring about increased recognition of the value of advanced practices."

Today, due to the turbulent nature of business, supporting strategic initiatives and adapting to market changes brings greater scrutiny upon all PPM leaders

Gartner predicted that most senior executives in the largest global organisations will rely on activist enterprise program management office (EPMO) leaders by 2017. This prediction is driven by two distinct factors, according to the analyst firm. The first is the increasing pressure toward innovation and differentiation as economies and businesses emerge from the recession. The second is that organisations need to significantly improve their ability to execute on strategy.

"Over the past five years, we've seen a significant trend toward interest and adoption of an EPMO leader, where the "P" might stand for program, portfolio or a combination of both. The majority of EPMO leaders currently have the task of providing visibility and decision support to business executives," said Donna Fitzgerald, research vice president at Gartner.

"What most of them haven't been asked to do is actually get something done. We see that situation changing as the concept of the EPMO becomes increasingly accepted."

All this amounts to a new PPM leader role emerging, according to Fitzgerald.

But there will be a shortage of skilled labour to fulfill the demand for such roles, according to Gartner. Professional service organisations will be unable to fill the void, because the role will require organic, internally developed power and influence through existing relationships across organisations.

Successful organisations will promote from within, Gartner suggested, while technology vendors offering program portfolio tools, primarily as dashboards to support visibility of strategic change initiatives, will emerge or evolve.

"The vendors that provide both the technology and methodology to connect these dashboards to the actual change initiatives will be the ones with staying power," Fitzgerald added.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.