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Oliver Wight Blog

Managing the Products & Services Portfolio – Part 2

14 March 2018

In Part 1 of ‘Managing the Products & Services Portfolio’, we explained strategy, integration and portfolio management in a 21st century business. In this blog, we continue to tackle the elements crucial to a successful Products & Services Portfolio in a Class A organisation.

Project & Resource Planning
Effectively planning resources is one of the key challenges when it comes to product portfolio optimisation – organisations need to make sure that the scarce resources are working on the right projects, at the right time, to effectively deliver the strategy of the business. To enable this, a defined mechanism for prioritising projects is crucial so that when resources are constrained, a transparent and structured approach can be adopted when making decisions on resource allocation.

Through scenario modelling, organisations can see where resources would best benefit the company as a whole, enabling the distribution of resources for optimum return. While these can be tough decisions, an effective and practical resource management approach is key to ensuring that the priority projects are never impacted and delivered on time to market expectations.

Technology & Innovation
In the 21st century, organisations must lead the way in product innovation or risk falling behind their competitors. Progression must, of course, be supported by investment in the latest industry appropriate technologies. Partnerships need to be forged with supply chain to drive technology development. The best organisations place significant focus on stimulating ideation and innovation, drawing on data from customers, suppliers, competitors and the marketplace.

Crucially, innovation must be ingrained in the organisation’s culture, with individuals and teams encouraged and motivated to continually contribute ideas to drive competitive advantage.

Behaviours & Competencies
Ultimately for business improvement to be sustained, there must be a passion for it across all levels. Business leaders need to lead the way, whilst still recognising that people are the key drivers. Success depends on the organisation’s ability to cultivate the right environment for change, so to inspire the workforce the leadership must continuously articulate the ambition to be the best for its required value proposition. To measure progress and stage the process of change, milestones should be used so that everyone – from the top down – will understand the need for business excellence.

“Good” is the most dangerous enemy of “great”, but while leadership should continuously seek new opportunities to set higher targets and goals to achieve endless improvement, equal emphasis must be given to reward and recognition. An inclusive environment of empowerment, collaboration and talent development should be put in place, with plans in place for the incorporation of new technology and techniques.

Performance Measurement
Business improvement is often the goal of organisations striving to get to the top, but the very best realise that it’s an endeavour which realistically, has no finish line. The aim should be continuous improvement to drive business excellence and optimum delivery of the Product & Portfolio Plan. This is only achieved by establishing clearly defined performance measurements across the organisation, with key measures consistently reviewed to align with the Product & Portfolio Plan and to maintain visibility and improvement.

The measures should focus on the performance of the portfolio in the market as well as the process measures to track the performance of the development process for new products. Therefore, these measures should include performance of products and services in relation to customers, responsiveness to market competition, financial success and project delivery.