PMO for Utilities Industry
For asset-intensive organisations like utilities, managing portfolios of investments is becoming more difficult as they struggle to meet the increasing public demand for more reliable and environmentally conscious services within the limits of their budgets. Research shows that less than 10% of large projects in utility companies are completed on-time and within budget. With a multitude of projects occurring across the energy value chain, utilities are still often making investment decisions with limited information and within departmental silos.
Providing complete visibility and control over all projects, programs and portfolios of investment with no overhead.
Easing and maximizing the allocation of financial resources through effective management of different finance sources and availability.
Integrating all your systems and services used within the organisation for financial management, asset management or other types, no matter if you use Microsoft or non-Microsoft for example: SAP, Oracle, Ellipse, Tech1, Maximo, and many more.
Streamlining your organisation’s outage management processes.
Streamlining your organisation’s outage management processes. Book a demo today and see how we enable you.
Project management and project portfolio management is becoming more commonplace within the utility industry as the scope and demand of projects continues to grow. However, project management and PPM is never a one-size-fits-all case and must be adapted to suit a specific industry’s needs. Beyond the typical challenges of project management, there are specific issues the utility industry faces in regards to project and portfolio management.
Research shows that since 2000, the size of projects in utility companies have been decreasing by 27%, while the number of projects has increased by 40%. This shifting project landscape is adding pressure to utility companies capacity to properly manage and monitor their projects as their portfolios continue to grow. As organisations continue to grow, handling the multitude of projects within a portfolio becomes impractical and unmanageable without proper PPM systems, processes and tools in place.
As the innovations within the industry continue to evolve and grow, projects are becoming increasing technology-driven and complex within the utility industry. Companies now need to collaborate on a higher level on more intricate and complicated projects. Without a proper PPM system these complexities can easily be overlooked, leading to costly effects down the line due to inaccurate forecasts and unidentified risks.
As an asset-intensive organisation, a large chunk of activities within utility companies is management and maintenance. Many companies are wasting precious resources in having to plan, organise and execute repeated maintenance projects. This may seem like a minor issue that only takes a small strain on resources, but scale up maintenance schedules for many assets across the board and it all quickly adds up. An effective PPM system will allow your organisation to easily automate, review and execute projects in the most time-efficient manner as possible.
Utilities do not always share the same business models as typical private entities. Many are publicly funded and have the added tension of providing their services in a safe, affordable and reliable manner for communities. As a result, funding can come in a range of forms from reinvested profits, government grants or loans, to external investment.
Each of these funding sources often come with unique specifications and requirements for their use, leading to increased complexity in their proper allocation. As utility companies continue to expand, having effective systems in places to efficiently allocate these different financing sources is critical to optimising the organisation’s portfolio of investments.
There has been a noticeable shift within the industry from departmental autonomy towards enterprise-wide accountability and decision-making. This shift goes hand-in-hand with an increasing use of PPM strategies and approaches within the industry. To make PPM effective in large organisations, a proper change management program needs to be put in places to prepare employees for these changes and promote the adoption of these new methods. PPM for organisations needs to be adopted on an enterprise level to bring out its full potential.
There are many benefits that PPM systems can bring for Utility companies with overall optimisation of portfolios and maximization of project results. Other benefits include:
We always reiterate that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to PPM and pmo36 always aims to adapt to your organisation’s unique context to find the right PPM maturity, tools and processes that suit your needs. The following structure is simply an outline of the common industry structures for PPM we have encountered and how we have helped utility companies through every step of the process to optimise their portfolio of investments.
Utility companies often have two core portfolios (though they are not limited to these two alone) - Asset related portfolio and information and communication technology (ICT) related portfolio. You can read more about how we help your organisation’s ICT management here. For this section, we will focus more on asset-related portfolios.
Assets are items of value the businesses own ranging from physical equipment to intellectual properties. For utility companies, building and maintaining physical assets from power plants, roads, cables and much more is a large chunk of the organisation’s operations and thus is a critical portfolio that must be optimized.<
An asset-related portfolio often comprises three core functions with programs and projects grouped under them. The three functions include updating, maintaining or creating new assets with each function carrying its own unique set of PPM demands, processes and tools.
Physical assets and equipment often need updating to make sure they are applying the most effective and efficient technologies to gather, generate, convert and distribute the resources to communities. With the rate of technological advancements, these updates are occurring at a higher frequency, with increased complexity and increased costs for companies as the demand on their resource increases.
PPM systems and tools help justify, plan and execute these asset updating projects in many different ways from providing essential risk assessment to facilitating accurate cost management and budget forecasting. However, one of the distinct values of PPM for utility companies is its capacity for outage management.
When updating your assets, it is unavoidable that there is a certain period in which the asset will have to be shut down. These outages, if not managed properly, end up becoming very costly for companies. As these outages carry a large set of risks, costs, and resources, it has become increasingly common to plan for outages as a project which allows decision makers to get a better idea of the holistic benefits and costs of updating your assets.
Specific ways effective PPM systems, tools and process can help your outage management include:
In a similar vein to updating, assets must also be frequently maintained to ensure they are running at peak performance and will not run into costly issues down the line. Similar to updating, asset maintenance activities can also be planned, coordinated and executed within a project framework and greatly benefits from the aforementioned outage management.
Effective PPM systems also make asset maintenance easier through the automation of recurring tasks and projects. Just as easy as it is to plan a recurring event in your calendar, pmo365 can help make the planning of your maintenance projects just as easy though integrating all your processes, systems, tools and data across your entire organisation. No matter who picks up the project, they will have access to all the key data and reporting processes across the board.
To meet increasing demand, updating assets may not be enough and new assets need to be made. These projects, often dubbed Capital Works projects, carry the typical needs of any project - ranging from risk management, cost management, resource management and much more. Effective PPM systems help integrate all the vital processes related to project management from beginning to end on a single platform to give project managers and decision makers complete visibility and control over their projects.
PPM systems can take this a step further and address a key challenge of the utilities industry - funding sources and allocation. As discussed above, capital for projects comes from many different streams with its unique individual requirements for its use. An effective PPM system easily identifies which finance sources are viable for the specific project, the availability of said capital and its impacts on the project’s cost projections. They also have the added ability of providing clear documentation and reporting of the impacts of each individual finance source which is incredibly useful for executives to effectively report back to key stakeholders and investors.
It is very important that the information which is being given to the C-Suite is of value to them, so they can make decisions which will benefit the business. By integrating with project tools, a PPM can ensure that the information given to the C-Suite is both relevant, and in real-time.
In the past, the process of collating and delivering project information to a C-Suite, was a long and expensive process. Not only were there large amounts of admin costs, but the long procedure meant that the information which was eventually presented to the C-Suite was not real-time, meaning that the C-Suite could potentially receive information which was only relevant to the business in the past. In many cases, information would be received weeks too late, and the C-Suite would use this information to make uninformed decisions and the company would suffer.
With a PPM such as pmo365 in place, there is zero chance, issues such as this could occur. By integrating with the project tools, the PMO (and in turn the C-Suite) would always have access to information which is real-time. The C-Suite now has the ability to make well informed decisions, which will benefit the business right now.
As we’ve discussed above, the C-suite is primarily interested in ensuring they are investing their resources in the projects which are of the utmost importance to serving the business. This means that they need to be provided with only the information which will serve these interests. The main information which they need to know is how each project is tracking, if there are any risks and if the correct projects are being completed in order to achieve strategic objectives. They will then make decisions based on this information.
Unfortunately, oftentimes, the PMO will provide the C-Suite with a large amount of unnecessary information which often does not directly affect them. The C-level executives are then left to sift through this information and find the data which is relevant to them. This process is long, expensive and oftentimes, project risks were completely missed.
A PPM, like pmo365, provides a platform which will order the information so the C-Suite can easily and efficiently find the information which is relevant to them. This process is known as status by exception, meaning that the PMO will use the PPM to provide the C-Suite with only the information which they need. With this very specific visibility, they will be able to identify their priority projects and ensure that the right amount of resources are going to the right projects. Furthermore, they can see which projects are high-risk and adjust it as they see fit in an attempt to make sure all of their projects are in place to achieve overall organisational goals.