Execs still reliant on spreadsheets

South African senior executives are still reliant on spreadsheets to manage projects, survey finds.

By Suzanne Franco, Surveys Editorial Project Manager at ITWeb.
Johannesburg, 14 Jul 2014
Today's organisations need the agility to see and trust information as it develops, says Diederik Jordaan, MD at Gen2 Enterprise Software.
Today's organisations need the agility to see and trust information as it develops, says Diederik Jordaan, MD at Gen2 Enterprise Software.

The majority of senior executives in SA still rely on spreadsheets to manage projects.

This was one of the biggest takeaways from the ITWeb/Gen2 Enterprise Software Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Survey, which ran online for 14 days during May and June 2014.

According the study, 75% of senior executives in SA are still using spreadsheets to manage projects internally; and 80% of respondents are not yet fully prepared for the bring your own device (BYOD) era.

Examining the challenges faced by today's businesses, the survey indicates that despite the rise in popularity of BYOD, 80% of the survey respondents still indicated that they are not fully ready to deploy a strategic BYOD approach to optimise efficiency and utilisation of their PM or PPM systems.

Spreadsheets reality

In correlation with a recent study in the US, where 76% of survey respondents still use spreadsheets to manage projects in some capacity, Diederik Jordaan, MD at Gen2 Enterprise Software, says we found that 75% of the PPM survey respondents also do the same in SA. Of those, 57.1 % work in organisations with more than 500 employees, he adds.

Given the size of these organisations, he believes that this can easily lead to project management or project portfolio management, data integrity issues and agonisingly inefficient feedback loops.

Today's organisations need the agility to see and trust information as it develops, to make informed decisions and maintain a competitive edge, says Jordaan.

According to the survey, 59.2 % of respondents highlighted their top reasons for deploying PPM solutions (in order) are prioritising projects, gaining visibility into live projects, planning and preparing for future projects, and managing cost and resources.

This is conclusive evidence that PPM solutions are providing value well beyond simply improving project execution.

The survey also found out that 34.7% of respondents do not conduct project reviews at all. Of the 65.3% who do conduct reviews, only 10.2% find they are meeting their project targets.

Some 75.5% of respondents who use PPM tools do so to manage general IT projects and the rest use them for compliance, product development, training and mobile-related projects.

These findings indicate that using PPM is not only critical to managing discrete projects, but it also provides the structure organisations need to successfully implement emerging corporate initiatives, such as mobile, cloud and new product development, says Jordaan.

According to PMI's 2012 Pulse of the Profession In-Depth Report: Portfolio Management Report, the majority of portfolio managers in highly effective organisations spend 75% or more of their time on portfolio management.

The report further indicates that in organisations where managers have more strategic focus, as well as departmental goals, 70% of projects meet or exceed their forecasted ROI, compared to 50% at organisations where managers rarely focus on strategic goals.

PMI's 2013 Pulse of the Profession In-Depth Report: The Risk of Undervaluing Project Management report also finds that performance in meeting project goals, timelines and budgets significantly affects an organisation's ability to thrive.