The Aberdeen Group released a report recently that made me shake my head in one of those “I-told-you-so” kind of ways.
The study, called Delivering Project Profitability: On Time and Under Budget, looked at project-based businesses and the challenges they face in remaining profitable inside a distressed and developing world.
While it acknowledged that a subject like this can’t be accurately painted with a single brush, given the range of corporate activity bustling out there, it does provide some strong counsel on how everyone could get a leg up in this cramped economy by paying attention to certain proven practices.
The study, which was based on feedback from some 315 respondents, explored a scene already weakened by both a struggling economy and the considerable pressures the new competition of emerging markets presents. Market and business volume are down, and companies don’t have the same freedoms they once did to tinker with their prices in any kind of upward direction.
The report points to what it refers to as best-in-class companies—or those in the top 20% of performance scorers—and reveals that these folks had delivered a full 91% of their projects early or on time, and a full 96% within budget. Not bad.
This compares to the performance record of the laggards, or those businesses whose performance scored them a place in the bottom 30% of the group, who were only able to deliver 35% of their projects early or on time, and just 43% of them inside of a budget. Amazing.
Anyway, the conclusion this paper properly draws is that a company’s ability to produce projects on time and on budget is probably its most valuable asset right now.
Piece of cake, right? Sure it is. Just so long as you equip yourself with the right tools.
The top-performing companies, says the study, long ago adopted the stuff and have been benefiting from it ever since. Their attention to enterprise-level software means they’re better able to control and manage their data than before. They’re operating inside of a organization that has learned to collaborate. They respond cohesively to problems. They are more profitable.
“Optimized decision-making can only be achieved by providing critical and accurate project management data across the enterprise in the proper context,” the study reports.
Even so, scarcely half of the so-called laggard organizations have implemented such solutions. Many firms are so limited by a desktop-bound project-management vision that they can’t lift their eyes to take in concepts such as workflow automation, collaboration tools and document management.
And so, while standardized best practices are always welcome at the party, one overlooks at their peril the critical role that enterprise-level applications can play in achieving full potential.
Tags: projects early, projects on budget, projects on time