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Issue Date: November 2006

Nedbank adopts ProSight

November 2006

In 2003, the Nedbank Group's profits slumped and a turnaround strategy was initiated. As part of a three-year recovery plan, the financial institution's Strategic Recovery and Turnaround Office (SRTO) adopted ProSight, a portfolio management solution. The aim was to better integrate, prioritise and align the financial institution's strategies, associated projects and management actions. The solution has assisted the group in the achievement of the 81,7% jump in profits to R3,167-billion just reported for 2005.

Says Alan Britton, head of Nedbank Group's SRTO Programme Information centre: "Our parent company, Old Mutual, and the board believe they have seen the value of programme management as an incremental method to support business. Visibility and control have ensured that management actions are met."
Explains Britton: "Our primary portfolio management goals were to track and measure the benefits of the strategic recovery programme (SRP) initiatives and to monitor organic performance. We had been looking for a suitable product for programme management for years. While Microsoft Project Server met the requirements of our IT professional project managers, other tools - even Excel - were used by business managers. What we needed in this instance, however, was a solution that would enable management of hundreds of disparate projects managed by users with different levels of skills.
"We wanted a solution we could configure totally to our requirements; that would enable reporting to all levels - from business management to divisional reporting, board reporting and reporting to major shareholders - and that could be rapidly implemented. ProSight, despite the steep learning curve it presented, offered these benefits. We had the solution up and running by March 2004, within two months of receiving the software."
The challenge
Across the Group's 13 divisions, the SRTO team identified 140 essential strategic management actions, which varied from recovering the performance of products to complex measures such as meeting black economic empowerment (BEE) requirements. With the strategies identified, the projects needed to reach these goals had to be established. Approximately 400 such projects, directed by 350 different project managers and affecting the Group's 23 000 staff were prioritised and confirmed.
"Using ProSight, we needed to capture and monitor initiatives grouped under Management Actions and provide detailed project information for each initiative, including deliverables, risks, dependencies, impacts and milestones," explains Britton.
In terms of financials, the solution had to provide for top-down target definition; management action target definitions; initiative benefit and cost budget capturing; initiative actuals capturing; Q1, Q2 and Q3 reforecast captures; and monthly predictions.
With regard to the strategic recovery programme (SRP) initiatives, the reports needed included: performance of lead indicators, such as project milestones, performance of lag indicators such as actuals against budget for SRP benefits; performance against financial and non financial milestones, as set out in the project plan; impact of movement of financial milestones; and performance of actuals against budget for SRP costs.
Notes Britton: "We fast-tracked implementation by using 'Playbooks', the templated multidimensional solution within ProSight which we populated with the required information. A US consultant and implementation manager based in the UK assisted initially, until PM Sight locally was able to provide the competence for immediate support.
PM Sight, established in May 2004, is the local representative of the ProSight solution, and has deep skills in project portfolio management. "ProSight has been available for approximately seven years internationally and is considered the leading project portfolio management enabling solution available," says PM Sight MD Paul Viviers. "It is used in the financial, retail and manufacturing segments and has been implemented by 61% of the US Federal Government. Locally, the solution has being adopted by key players in various business sectors, such as Nedbank Group, Shoprite Checkers and De Beers.
Paul Viviers
Paul Viviers
Project and portfolio management (PPM), according to major research houses, is expected to be adopted by 40% of all Fortune 500 companies by 2008. "PPM maturity is critical to enable organisational strategies," says Viviers. "It gives management the ability to see what is happening on the ground - to prioritise actions and resources, align them to key strategies and enable a sustainable dynamic decision-making process."
Strengths and weaknesses
Current weaknesses within the ProSight solution included the fact that it has little reporting functionality. Says Britton: "Being a fully Microsoft compliant solution we were easily able to link the scorecards and MS Reporting services, stipulating lead and lag indicators that raise alerts according to specific rules and targets. Allowing end-users to draw realtime reports from their desktop Financials were updated directly into ProSight and other key information stored in data marts is imported into the project management solution as required."
That said, Britton says that the Group found much more functionality than was advertised within the solution. "The solution has potential to manage performance agreements over time and at numerous levels, automating much of the critical administrative work associated with service level agreements.
Says Viviers: "The latest iteration of ProSight, which has just been released, includes considerable improvements in Executive Dashboards, Graphs, Enhanced Dependency modelling and Analytics. We believe the solution will find a ready market in South Africa and are gearing our professional resources to enable our customers locally."
For more information contact Paul Viviers, PM Sight, +27 (0) 11 656 0980,,

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