The Strategic Portfolio Management Growth Model

Step by Step to a Value-Focused and Digital Organization.

Using ServiceNow Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM) can transform your entire organization. For a successful SPM evolution journey, it is helpful to understand an organization's 4 different SPM maturity levels to focus on suitable implementation activities.

In this blog post, we will look at:

  • What the central objective of strategic portfolio management is.
  • How do we categorize SPM maturities by our Growth Model
  • The best sequence for implementing different SPM modules.
  • The transformational characteristics of an organization at each maturity level.


Central SPM Objective: Merge Strategy and Operations

Strategic portfolio management is about aligning corporate strategy with operations to achieve key business objectives, such as increasing revenue or launching new business models. In an active SPM culture, ideally, everyone in the organization knows their value contribution to strategy execution. This applies both bottom-up and top-down:

  • Employees need to understand why specific projects are being worked on and how certain activities impact overall results.
  • Management, in turn, needs visibility into where teams are in the execution of strategy and whether operational activities are contributing to the achievement of goals as assumed and planned.

Achieving this kind of value-added, agile collaboration requires companies to adapt and reorganize many processes. This results in a cultural change that is a challenge for any organization.


The SPM Growth Model for Companies of All Sizes and Maturity

The SPM Growth Model is a helpful framework for successfully implementing SPM and managing change according to your own SPM maturity level. It also helps to identify and holistically consider cross-connections to other business issues.

Utilizing our Growth Model, your organization can find the best fitting service from our portfolio to achieve the relevant goals, focusing on those elements that can gain more value at the beginning of our cooperation. At the same time, we can have a mid-and long-term roadmap that can help us avoid pitfalls on our way to digitalization, visioning the safe path.



1. SmartStart: A Solid Foundation for your SPM Journey

Many companies are just starting to adopt digital SPM processes and need a streamlined set of capabilities that can be expanded over time. The goal of the first SPM maturity level, SmartStart, is, therefore, to increase operational transparency within an organization. A few selected SPM modules can provide a solid foundation that can be expanded over time.

  • Ideally, organizations should start by implementing Demand Management. This solves one of the biggest operational challenges: understanding, prioritizing, and matching internal IT service requests with available resources.
  • The implementation of modern Project Management supports the effective execution of agreed projects and makes them measurable so that the organization can continuously learn and improve.
  • Another essential step is introducing Resource- and Timecard Management. By digitally managing human and physical resources against project requirements, companies can maximize available resources and adjust target/actual planning.
  • By establishing a Program and Portfolio Management system, companies can structure their numerous activities and map them to their corporate organization.

These 4 interlocking building blocks enable a company to be better managed while significantly reducing the natural conflict potential of any organization through data-driven transparency.

Our SmartStart package simplifies the initial stages of adopting project portfolio management practices with ServiceNow SPM by streamlining its complex functions and processes, setting up essential configurations, and providing predefined elements and playbooks – within only 4 weeks. Through comprehensive training, all your stakeholders are equipped to utilize the solution company-wide effectively and immediately, ensuring a smooth and successful tooling journey from the outset. This stable initial state then enables you to jump to a higher level.




2. Walk: Functional Consolidation of SPM Modules

In the second SPM maturity level, "Walk", organizations address another key challenge, namely the networking of their business activities. At the beginning of the SPM journey, it is crucial to keep the basic functionality simple. With the user experience already gained, it is important to increase process complexity gradually. 

After all, business agility will only increase as enterprise silos are broken down and the data visibility available in the system can be leveraged across departments. The question of where and how to prioritize cross-connections within the platform so that they provide real value to the business is a complex one that can take companies several years to resolve.


3. Run: Business Agility on the Rise

Companies that have transitioned to the third maturity level, "Run," are characterized by significant agility. This agility tends to be more developed in IT than in other business units, which traditionally have less experience with digital tools than their technical colleagues.

At maturity level three, IT is no longer a "tactical" implementer of various service requests but rather a strategic supporter of the business in achieving its goals. This is accomplished through advanced demand management to better align strategic goals with projects and actions based on historical data.

However, it also increases the use of hybrid working methods that increase the organization's operational effectiveness. While individual teams may initially work in an agile manner, this approach is gradually extended to other teams. Optimizing the financial aspects of the project organization only becomes relevant at the third maturity level of strategic portfolio management. Before that, processes must be optimized and established.


4. Fly: Maximum Alignment of Operations & Strategy

In the fourth SPM maturity level, "Fly," companies have three to five years of intensive experience with agile working. Enterprise agility is noticeable and manifests itself in good collaboration between business and IT. A strong customer orientation replaces the focus on internal process optimization to increase productivity. Processes are constantly evolving but with the goal of creating a compelling customer experience.

Companies with the highest SPM maturity have managed the change process: all teams focus their work on achieving strategic goals, manage change in an agile manner, and work naturally with digital tools to drive the organization forward. Operational processes are seamlessly integrated into the strategic framework, which remains dynamic.


Practical Insights into Strategic Portfolio Management

Would you like to see how companies can approach their SPM journey?

Then we recommend our practical webinar on the Evolutionary Journey of Resource Management. In cooperation with Projektmagazin and ServiceNow, we will show you how the SPM platform supports the business agility of companies along the different SPM maturity levels.

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