Monday, July 16, 2018

EPMO: Your Job? No Title? No Worries.

Do you lead your organization’s EPMO (Enterprise Project Management Office)? Are you familiar with the role? Regardless, within the PMO you may be already performing all the duties of an EPMO and providing the same level of support. But the real question is: Does your organization’s executive team realize it?

Let’s briefly set aside the issue of “title” for the sake of this discussion and agree with Ashley Stahl, Forbes contributing author1, that it can be challenging to communicate one’s true level of professional responsibility with words on a business card or when introducing ourselves by our role.

As you may know, a PMO “sets, maintains and ensures standards for project management across an organization.”2 It is typically housed within IT and reports to the CTO/CIO. The office is the purveyor of best practices, communicates the status of key projects, and maintains project direction with an overarching goal of delivering value to the organization.  

On the other hand, the goal of an EPMO, according to the Project Management Institute (PMI)3, is to align IT projects with business strategy and collaborate with an organization’s executives through all phases of strategic planning to increase a project’s chances of success. An EPMO leader typically reports to a CFO/CEO, is housed outside of a business unit, and affects a portfolio of projects, enterprise-wide.

In today’s competitive environment with the constant push to decrease costs, increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction, and enhance user experience while continuously finding new ways to support the business, it’s just a matter of time before the PMO naturally morphs into an EPMO. Many times, there is no formal discussion or change in process or shift in job description. Successful IT leaders in the PMO are organically becoming more focused on strategy and starting to actually drive organizational success. 

Has it already started happening to you or within your organization?

There has never been a more important time to quantify and communicate the business value of your efforts. You know what you are delivering, but have you found ways to simply and effectively communicate that value to the executive team? 

Stay tuned for future blogs. We will explore roles and responsibilities of those in an EPMO role, the potential impact on an organization, and the ways you can secure your position, with or without a fancy title, as a strategic partner.




Monday, July 2, 2018

How Product Reviews Can Sharpen Your Customer Success Assets

By Attie Vandermerwe, Vice President, Consulting Services
What do your customers really think about your products and services? One of the best ways to find out is by reading product reviews on sites like Gartner Peer Insights, G2 Crowd, and TrustRadius -- to name just a few of the most popular sources of high-tech industry user reviews. Think of these sites as “Yelp for IT.” Here you’ll find candid opinions – good, bad and indifferent – written by actual users of your software and hardware. And you can find out what they think about your competitors too.
Product-review sites contain rich stores of product-usage data and insights that you can utilize in multiple ways. For example, your development teams can use the feedback to improve the product and directly address issues discussed by users in these online forums.
But don’t forget that your marketing teams can also leverage these sites to create more focused and effective customer messaging and communications. Product review sites can serve as “listening posts” to help you hone in on what really matters to your customers, which is not necessarily your typical solution brief hype.
Mainstay has been helping tech companies compile and analyze user reviews – and then leverage the findings to create more powerful sales and marketing assets (customer stories, blogs, videos, infographics) that respond effectively to what your customers say they like and dislike about your products – and those of your rivals.
Here’s what a typical engagement looks like:
        Phase 1 – Strategic review of relevant product-review sites
        Phase 2 – Create a Product Review Scorecard
        Phase 3 – Use the scorecard findings to review existing customer-facing assets and identify gaps and misalignments
        Phase 4 – Update existing and create new assets based on the review
After realigning and/or refreshing your customer assets, Mainstay can provide regular updates of peer-review sites and monitor changes to user sentiment. We’ll issue alerts when we see significant new feedback related to you or your competitor’s offerings. We’ll also provide a demographic summary of the product reviewers, including the size and type of company where the user is employed, and his or her job category.
To date, our product-review assessments have revealed a spectrum of insights from actual users. These include critiques – and praises -- of technical features, costs, service performance, implementation and integration difficulties, training, product roadmaps, and more.
Remember these peer-reviewers are often key influencers at the organizations that buy your products and services. It only makes sense to put your hand on the pulse of these front-line opinion makers with the aim of creating extremely relevant marketing messages and assets that address their real-life experiences and needs head-on.
To learn more about our Product Review Assessment Services, reach out to me at