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Spreadsheets, word documents, rudimentary software, and disconnected applications—for years these have been the principle tools of project management. Many organizations still rely on project management tools and solutions that are outmoded and self-limiting. But—things are changing.
Digital Transformation has significantly impacted not only entire industries but also many of the individual operational functions within those industries. Project management is no exception. Many organizations are now capitalizing on the benefits of digital transformation to energize their project management activities.
Digital Transformation – A Quick Definition
First things first. What is digital transformation? There is no need to be overly complicated. According to The Enterprisers Project digital transformation is “the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.”
Legacy Project Management – The Limitations
What are the downsides of continued use of legacy project management tools and solutions? How does reliance on those spreadsheets, word documents, rudimentary software, and disconnected applications put you behind the competitive curve in terms of project delivery? Consider these potential limitations:
- Non-automation: Many legacy project management functions are driven by processes that are entirely manual. These outmoded functions require high levels of manual oversight and intervention. This often leads to project delays, execution errors, redundant work, and escalating costs.
- Rigidity: Many older project management software solutions are rigid in design and function. This severely limits the organization’s ability to customize critical aspects of project delivery to accommodate specific customer demands.
- Isolation: Robust project management requires dynamic collaboration. Many projects are severely impeded by the inability to communicate with project stakeholders in real time, across a platform that is available from anywhere at any time.
- Invisibility: A common complaint among project managers is the lack of real-time visibility into the various aspects of a complex project. Lack of visibility invariably leads to lack of control.
- Cost overruns: Tracking project expenditures via spreadsheet or other static mechanisms does not provide the level of control that is required for today’s project managers. Cost overruns can already be beyond correction by the time they are detected.
- Dissatisfied Customers: Loss of client confidence, loss of revenue, damaged reputation, and negatively impacted bottom-line results can be the legacy of a mismanaged project.
Empowering Your Project Management
What are some of the ways in which digital transformation can empower your ability to deliver projects that are on-time, on-scope, and on-budget? How does digital transformation improve the project management function in ways that build client satisfaction and loyalty?
Workflow-Based Process Automation
The transition from manual processes to workflow-based automation can completely transform the project management function. Process automation supported by intelligent workflows can deliver levels of learning and dynamism that enable vastly superior project execution. All areas within the project management ecosystem can be impacted, including: scheduling, gate control, risk management, document handling, and role management.
Real-Time Communication and Collaboration
Digital technologies, in conjunction with connected devices and applications, have removed virtually all barriers to real-time collaboration. Project managers and stakeholders now have the ability to collaborate—in real time—regardless of physical location. Instead of relying on data that may no longer be valid, project teams can now quickly collaborate on information that is connected, accessible, and current.
Technology-Fueled Analytics and Reporting
Your projects generate a lot of data—the more complex the project, the greater the volume of that data. One of the most powerful areas of digital transformation is the ability to fully capitalize on the value of data. These data analytics solutions provide a wealth of cloud-based capabilities that enable superior project management performance.
- Ability to automatically aggregate data from any data source. Provides enhanced data integrity with less effort.
- Ability to customize widget-based dashboards to reflect relevant data for the specific project stakeholder. Presentation of data in the preferred format of the individual user.
- Use of workflow-based intelligent alerts that trigger action to critical project issues and risks.
- Ability to conduct predictive analytics based on real-time project data. Enables critical decision-making based on current project status as well as predicted developments.
The Bottom Line
Historically, the project management function has been improved by incremental advances in project management solutions and applications. There is nothing incremental about the potential impact of digital transformation.
Companies that have embraced these new technologies are increasingly able to deliver superior value to their customers. From a project management perspective, digital transformation is providing the means for organizations to gain a distinct competitive edge over those companies that have been slow to adopt. Digital transformation is providing the means for delivery of projects that fully satisfy the client as well as the internal stakeholders.