new jobs Megaprojects Chris Henson strategic portfolio management software

How Cora SPM simplifies portfolio planning

How Cora SPM simplifies portfolio planning

In this video, we see how Cora SPM, our Strategic Portfolio Management platform, provides users with the visibility required to select the right projects for their portfolio.


Hazel’s the Strategic Portfolio Manager for her organization. Last year, she walked nervously into the Portfolio Boards planning session for the year ahead. The numbers from the previous year were dismal:

  • 15% of budget spent on projects that were put on hold or shouldn’t have gone ahead
  • 8 projects stopped because there wasn’t enough capacity to do them
  • 2 more projects were canned because they duplicated projects in sister plants
  • 10 projects the company should have run with – which would have delivered 15% ROI per project – left sitting on the shelf

Hazel had a few sleepless nights after that meeting, as the Chairman criticized her poor decision-making. Hazel’s problem was that she was operating blind. She never had project data gathered in a single location. It wasn’t graphically illustrated. Senior colleagues struggled to establish a clear set of strategies so they couldn’t make investment decisions with confidence.

This year, however, Hazel’s facing into the same meeting with a different frame of mind. She’s prepared – she’s armed with Cora SPM to help her pick the right projects for her portfolio.

With Cora SPM, Hazel can graphically create a portfolio structure that aligns with strategy. It’s intuitive. In consultation with senior management, she’s been able to adjust her existing portfolios, something impossible to do previously without a dynamic, graphical view.

Hazel has gathered over 50 pieces of project inventory data about each project through a simple web-based portal. Project owners were unable to skip fields and had to fill out the full project inventory. This gave her the complete information to make astute decisions.

Hazel now had a clear Capacity Plan for each project, what skill was required, and when. She knew the risk level of each project, the Net Present Value of each project. In fact, she knew every key bit of info needed to make a smart decision.

Hazel was able to run an initial Portfolio Assessment on data. This eliminated duplicates across plants by looking at project types and outputs expected. Projects that were off the Richter scale on cost were eliminated as non-runners. Projects outside the company’s acceptable risk profile were binned. A prioritization toolset configured to the company’s business gave a clear priority order.

Once the initial assessment was made, Hazel was able to score projects’ delivery against strategic objectives. She could see whether projects were over-or under-delivering on strategies so she can adjust accordingly. Well-planned portfolios were chosen and submitted to a workflow engine for final approval.

Hazel created at least three scenarios for each portfolio, using the Scenario Comparison component to pick a preferred scenario. She compared scenarios across a number of headings. Because scenario comparison was graphical, she could easily identify scenario anomalies and make changes quickly.

With Cora SPM, Hazel is more agile. She moved the timeline of 11 projects to make better use of available resources, something that became apparent when she ran a scenario through her What-If Capacity Planning module. It showed that by moving those 11 projects a couple of months she would get 5 more projects done in the year – maximizing her use of resources.

Next, she dynamically assigned budgets to each initiative – showing how much was needed in each budget to deliver on scenarios. Finally, she clicked on the Automatic Roadmap that was generated and filtered it by Product Launches – a metric she knew was important to her Portfolio Board.

When Hazel presented to the Portfolio Board, they loved the dashboard visualizations she showed them, which provided a picture around parameters like risks, issues, key-outputs, timelines, resources, budgets, capacity, and project distributions across geographies and product families.

They could see on the Strategy Widget the direct impact on strategy delivery when they added or removed an initiative. It was similar to the Dynamic Funding widget when they added a project, but discovered they would have to increase the budget to include it in the portfolio.

Cora SPM has made a world of difference. Last year, decisions were made without understanding their impact. This year, the immediate effect of decisions can be seen graphically. It’s led to better, smarter decisions. It’s had a profound impact on the bottom line, reducing wastage by 8%.

No wonder Hazel has a spring in her step, as she heads to her CEO’s office to discuss a director’s position that has opened up.