Can enterprise portfolio management help retailers achieve their strategy?

With consumer purchasing still slow, retailers have embarked on a fiercely competitive drive to gain or sustain market share.

That is not easy. To catch-up or move ahead of their competition, retailers have been forced to reconsider the way they operate and interact with their customer base.

Investment in transformation can consume a large number of resources in the organisation, and in an environment that continues to be constrained retailers need to prioritise wisely.

One part of the answer to this challenge is project portfolio management (PPM), which can help ensure that retailers are selecting the right projects to achieve their strategy.

Olivier Deflandre, vice-president at AlixPartners, says: “Retailers need to clearly define priority criteria, such as benefit realisation or cost optimisation, and apply these to their portfolio of projects. In this way retailers can focus their delivery capacity and capabilities towards achieving what really matters to the organisation.”

He adds focusing on projects that really matter also has the benefit of minimising business disruption, allowing front-line employees to concentrate on what matters more than anything - their customers.

However, retailers wanting to implement a PPM solution will potentially face hefty cultural challenges, and it is critical to see it as a journey and carefully craft its design components. There should not be too many templates to fill in, and the value added to the organisation should be made clear.

Deflandre says: “As ways of working and behaviours, including those observed in the boardroom, become more mature, the organisation can streamline and simplify its PPM processes and governance bodies.”