This is how innovation has forced PMOs to mature

12 Nov, 2018

By Dayleen Goodman-Lahti, PMO Manager at NEC XON

One of the main challenges maturing project management offices (PMO) will encounter is the need to adapt to market and internal forces, be flexible in how they respond to the changes, and move quickly to counter the challenges. And we absolutely must mature in a brave new world of digitalisation, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the Internet of threats if we are to help our organisations innovate the solutions that will meet tomorrow’s challenges.

Diversity, in this context, is a game-changing advantage that includes a wide variety of strengths pooled from many people with a range of skills and roles, new processes, advanced technologies, solid governance, and evolved frameworks.

Being malleable, flexible, and responsive are key takeaways we’ve uncovered as our PMO has matured over five years of broadening the wealth of fundamental services traditionally offered by PMOs. We’ve moved beyond that now.

In the beginning, the PMO is all about planning projects and how to effectively apply resources with the reporting and administration of standards. The PMO is responsible for producing compliant services, for enhancing and embedding appropriate programme and project management standards and good practice, for championing the proper frameworks, coaching and training PMs and other employees to use the tools at their disposal, for monitoring project establishment, and for ensuring people adhere to change, document, and configuration management processes.

But, with maturity, demands change. The business changes so its needs evolve. The markets change, competitors change, innovative technologies appear, our society gradually morphs into something new, as it did with the arrival of mobile computing, broadband, and WiFi. All of that places pressure on our organisations and that demands that the PMO progress to remain in lockstep.

Today, for example, we’re supporting a much more diverse range of needs of the different departments in our own business. XON joined forces with the multinational behemoth out of Japan, NEC, which does in excess of $30 billion in revenues a year. As a result, we’re serving the collaborative demands of NEC XON business units at the cutting edge of technological and social innovation in Africa. Our Cyber Defence Operations Centre (CDOC), for example, meets the challenge of cyber security head-on. We integrate the physical world, through widespread digitalisation and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, to the business and other systems that run our countries, companies, organisations, and that we even carry in our pockets wherever we go.

Our facial recognition technology, as another example, is being widely deployed in the fight against terrorism. It’s also being used for commercial efficiencies to improve customer service at public venues for sporting events where the system instantly recognises VIP customers entering through turnstiles without stopping them to check tickets.

We’ve also delivered turnkey data centre deployments for one of the top pan-Africa telecoms companies. It has 4 800 square metres of rack space in South Africa and 2 000 square metres of rack space in Kenya. It puts these data centres to work delivering scalable and secure cloud solutions to companies across Africa as a Global Content Service Provider (CSP) across its network of more than 50 000km of fibre. Our data centre infrastructure services run the gamut from the structure to reticulation and security.

Our processes must adapt, be tailored to the needs of each business unit as they grapple with increasingly complex solutions, increasingly complex environments, increasingly complex legislation, and a diversity of challenges, cultures, and technologies.

Traditional governance processes and PM systems, tools, and templates interrupt innovation. PMOs must prove their value by helping businesses and organisations innovate and that can only be done through tailored PM processes and frameworks that harness the diversity of our strengths, those of the departments and businesses we serve, and collaborate for value that creates ongoing market symbiosis with customer requirements.

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