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Portfolio planning is critical in times of market uncertainty

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All relevant portfolio data must be in one easy-to-access platform, which is non-negotiable. It’s impossible to make necessary portfolio adjustments when information is scattered across silos.

Like a financial portfolio, a product portfolio is a series of investments. You compare risks against rewards and push resources toward products that yield the highest market potential, most significant ROI, and/or have the greatest impact on corporate strategy. As a product portfolio owner, it’s a difficult skill set to master.

Think about it from both a supply and demand perspective. As the market changes, you need to shift and reallocate investments in challenging times.  On the other hand, ongoing supply chain issues create long-term uncertainty and create many obstacles for portfolio owners. Now, more than ever, you must update portfolios quickly to align with market changes. The keys to having the flexibility necessary to do so are relevant, up-to-date, real-time data.

Let’s dive deeper into how companies can collect vital information and insights from data to swiftly make the best portfolio planning decisions, especially when the unknowns seem to multiply by the day.

Implement a portfolio management system

All relevant portfolio data must be in one easy-to-access platform, which is non-negotiable. It’s impossible to make necessary portfolio adjustments when information is scattered across departments or is difficult to find. Organizations waste valuable time gathering information that should be at their fingertips.

Sometimes it’s even more complicated than conducting a gathering exercise because critical bits of data can’t be found. Then you’re left making significant decisions without all the necessary information. Organizations that have a portfolio management system work from a single source of truth, which unlocks numerous possibilities to make the right decision at the right time.

Identify portfolio intersections

Products appear across multiple portfolios, and seeing where those intersections exist can inform significant portfolio decisions. Let’s say, an auto manufacturer has a connected feature that helps eliminate harmful emissions by monitoring various components within the vehicle, and this feature is currently available in its SUV line. This feature is found in the manufacturer’s SUV, IoT and sustainability portfolios.

Now, let’s assume that a new emissions regulation passes in a certain country that requires a phase-in of an environmentally friendly vehicle.  The auto manufacturer will want to have all the relevant data about that feature in each portfolio to identify the next steps. And now we have another portfolio type to add: a country-specific portfolio.

This is a relatively straightforward scenario. Some products can span across many portfolios, each with its own data sets and objectives. Understanding portfolio intersections can improve the accuracy and speed of decision-making. Interestingly, it can also lead to new ideas that can become the next innovative offering. As you can see, portfolio management is a mix-and-match operation.

Simplify portfolio data entry

Every team has data, and it must be updated in the portfolio management system in a timely fashion to enable swift decisions. It’s critical to have a process in place that makes updating data automatic and straightforward. Otherwise, you run into situations where team members prioritize administrative activities over innovation. This leads to supervisors spending unnecessary time overseeing data entry, further diverting precious time from value-added innovation activity. It degrades the ability to have the data necessary to address portfolio needs and often leads to incorrect or outdated information.

Implement data validation in the innovation or portfolio management process

If you have an idea that will shift your portfolio in the right direction, you must ensure that the data you’re basing this idea on is accurate. As obvious as that may seem, many portfolio management processes omit data validation. There are two aspects here to consider. First is an effective and recurring portfolio review process. The second is the validation of data as it is created. Include an assessment of product or project data in the portfolio review meetings and the review and approval of project activity (either by a gate meeting or by other means).

Follow these recommendations, and by the time a decision-maker is reviewing a portfolio, they can work under the assumption that what they’re looking at is air-tight.

In a matter of months, Mondelēz International quickly enabled its global businesses to focus limited resources on innovations that will create the greatest business impact. In a recent Sopheon webinar, Mondelēz International shares how they successfully deployed an “MVP” approach to portfolio and process management.

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Listen to this episode of Innovation+Talks 'A deeper dive into Portfolio Management with Noel Sobelman' to learn more about portfolio management.

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