Though PMOs and EPMOs may overlap in certain functions, their main responsibilities differ. EPMOs are looking at projects on a higher portfolio level and are looking for ways to ensure strategic alignment of all activities across the entire enterprise. As a result, the specific software features an EPMO would value varies from the typical PMO. We have put together this top 10 list to highlight the most important EPMO software features you need to look out for to make your EPMO as efficient and effective as possible.
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What is Project Portfolio Management software?
Though there is no specific EPMO software, most EPMOs employ the use of a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software to handle all their activities. A PPM software is a specially designed tool built to centralise the management and maintenance of a portfolio onto a single platform. Its main purpose is to minimise overhead costs, manual effort and excessive documentation through intuitive and integrative software.
There are plenty of PPM software and solutions available on the market right now, but sadly not all PPM software are equal. Don’t be distracted by cool user interfaces and fancy bells and whistle features. If a PPM software does not solve your EPMOs core issues, no matter how great it looks, it is not a worthy investment.
That’s why we have put together this list so you can look out for the most critical EPMO software functions you need.
Top 10 EPMO Software Features
1. Data centralization and integration
As the strategic hub of an organisation, EPMOs need to access the most accurate and relevant data to make strategic decisions and build effective strategies. How can an EPMO be the ‘single source of truth’ if their software does not enable them to do so? This is why data centralization and integration is one of the most critical EPMO software features.
An effective EPMO software should be able to integrate with all your pre-existing apps and processes to reduce the time wasted and risks involved with manual data entry as well as ensuring that teams do not suffer from critical data gaps and disconnections. Quality analysis comes from access to quality data. A fully integrative EPMO software is able to accommodate to your pre-existing project management methodologies as well to minimise the need to migrate and retrain employees in a new system.
2. Strategic dashboards and real-time reporting
EPMOs need the ability to get a quick snapshot of the entire project portfolio at any given moment. Customizable dashboards are a critical asset that allow teams to quickly see the most relevant information they need at the tap of a button. Additionally, reporting is one of the most time consuming activities for everyone in the project management field. An effective EPMO software should be able to automate the majority of reporting activities and enable users to easily share reports to other team members.
3. Portfolio analysis tool
EPMOs are all about seeing the big picture correlations and opportunities within portfolios. But how can they optimise massive portfolios without the proper portfolio analysis tools?
Though many PPM software have a certain degree of analysis capabilities, EPMOs need specific analysis tools catered towards portfolio management. This includes what-if scenario analysis, predictive analysis and strategic value calculation. All these sophisticated tools are critical to streamlining the portfolio prioritisation process and optimizing the portfolio as a whole. Look out for efficient frontier calculations and Monte Carlo Simulation to take your project portfolio management activities to the next level
4. Project pipeline management tool
EPMOs are all about finding the right projects at the right time with the right people. The best way of keeping track of valuable ideas and potentially ground-breaking projects is through a proper project pipeline management tool.
Having ideas and project proposals flying in from multiple teams and departments will only lead to chaos. With a clear project pipeline management tool, your organisation’s ideas can be effectively gathered, analysed, evaluated and prioritized according to the organisation’s overarching strategic objectives.
5. Strategic alignment through benefits management tool
Benefits management is one of the most useful tools to ensure strategic alignment across all activities within a portfolio. An effective EPMO software needs a proper benefits management tool that can allow teams to easily identify, measure and track quantifiable benefits within a program or portfolio.
Just listing extra tracking categories is not enough and will only over burden your teams. A proper benefits management tool will help automated tedious reporting activities, integrate it with the broader project management processes and allow for streamlined handover processes.
6. Collaboration and communication capabilities
Though many PPM softwares have their own communication and collaboration capabilities, don’t be fooled into thinking that a messaging and conferencing system will suffice. EPMOs need to communicate with stakeholders both internally and externally, with many different systems, applications and data sources being used. If your EPMO software is not able to effectively accommodate all these different workflows, you will end up with annoying bottlenecks and process issues that will quickly add up and impact your team’s productivity.
Working across the entire enterprise, the EPMO needs a software that can accommodate a growing number of users, projects, integrations and configurations. Make sure to check for the scalability limitations of each software as they can often come with unexpected caps of users, data storage and connectivity capabilities. Some PPM software may seem effective for your team, but could quickly become chaotic when applied on an enterprise-wide scale.
8. Risk management tool
One of the most important responsibilities of the EPMO is risk management. An effective EPMO software needs a proper risk management tool that enables teams to easily identify, analyse and mitigate risks based on their priorities and severity. With the help of intuitive heatmaps, RAID logs and smart dashboards, the right EPMO software is able to give EPMOs the visibility and control over their risk and allow them to build appropriate strategies for the future.
9. Schedule management tool
Trying to prioritize and coordinate projects within the portfolio is one of the most tedious tasks of the EPMO. When working with such diverse teams, coordinating project team availability, dependencies and resources becomes almost impossible without the right tools. A proper EPMO software will help optimise and streamline this process on an ongoing basis, so your team can make quick adjustments wherever necessary.
10. Resource management tool
The EPMO is all about optimizing processes and resources where possible. Rudimentary resource management tools may help you identify your resource availability but many lack the ability to update those availability in real time due to a lack of integration between project management tools and resource management tools. This leads to unnecessary wastages of resources that could have been reallocated to priority projects.
Get the best EPMO Software in your hands!
Now you know all the top software features you need for your EPMO, look no further! Pmo365 is the most comprehensive PPM solution for EPMOs. Want to see our EPMO software in action? Make sure to book a demo session with their PPM experts.