Managing stage-gates for your strategic program? Shibumi can do that

Posted on October 13, 2017 by Mark DiGirolamo

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A robust stage-gate process plays a critical role in many strategic programs by strengthening governance and enabling early executive intervention on emerging risks – while still empowering initiative teams to adapt and execute flexibly against their goals.

We’re excited to announce that Shibumi now supports stage-gate processes with capabilities purpose-built for complex transformation programs!

Our approach builds on conventional stage-gate models, while recognizing the unique challenges of governing large-scale, strategic programs – including sensitive information, diverse teams, complex dependencies, and high execution risk. We’ve worked closely with leading advisory firms and enterprise program leaders as we designed our enhanced capabilities, including:

  • Time-based goal definition
  • Advanced role management
  • Fine-grain visibility and metric editing controls
  • Automated notifications
  • Configurable rules-based workflow
  • Full history and audit logging

Time-based goal definition

Success of an individual initiative (as well as a broader program) is defined by meeting pre-defined goals along a target timeline. Shibumi now simplifies the process of tracking execution against targets, while also increasing executive visibility of emerging risks. As both individual initiatives and the broader program are executed, actual metrics can be compared with target metrics at specific points in time. Metrics can be customized for specific program goals, varying cadences can be defined (e.g. monthly, quarterly), and outcomes can be charted to visually depict both progress and gaps.                                                                                                               

Advanced Roles                                           

The key to an effective stage-gate process is defining (and enforcing) roles for reviewing and approving initiative progress at defined process points. Shibumi now enables program owners to define custom roles (with enterprise-specific nomenclature), set permission levels, and assign users to their appropriate role in the stage-gate process.

Fine-grain visibility and edit controls

Stage-gate processes also define how information is controlled and managed through the stages of a program. For example, the design phase of a program may include ongoing iteration on highly sensitive cost reduction targets, where premature wide-scale sharing of a target could lead to organization disruption. However, as the program shifts into execution, the cost targets may become both fixed and broadly shared.

To account for these needs, we’ve created configurable rules that can be optimized for the unique requirement of each program’s stage-gate process. Rather than hard-coded rules for generic stage-gates, Shibumi rules are defined as expressions that can incorporate any aspect of the program and/or initiative to manage access. These visibility and editing rules also fully integrate with pre-defined user roles.

Automated notification emails

To simplify and streamline stage-gate process execution, Shibumi also supports automated e-mail notification for required user actions. Notification emails are based upon configurable rules that determine to whom and when notifications should be sent. Like visibility rules, these notifications can incorporate any aspect of a program to support advanced logic conditions.

Configurable rules-based workflow

While the stage-gate concept is widely adopted, different programs will have very different approaches across stage numbering, definitions, approval structure, and information gathered. Shibumi’s fully configurable rules allow program owners (and their advisors) to define stage-gate processes that are optimized for their specific business context, as well as their preferred execution methodology.

Full history and audit logging

Finally, strong program governance requires rigorous change control and auditability. To manage stage-gate decisions, ensure accountability, and identify risk, reviewers need full visibility into the history and source of metric changes. Shibumi provides full transparency into the history and source of all changes with our history view. This view shows not only the time of the edits, but also the user who made them.

Putting it all together

Let’s see how these capabilities come together by walking through an example.

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When an initiative is added to the program, it starts in Stage 1. In this stage, an initiative owner enters basic business case information, including overall goals, objectives, and some high-level cost and benefit targets.

Once the initiative owner has completed entering the Stage 1 information, he flags the initiative as ready for Gate 1 approval. At this point, automated notifications are sent to the Gate 1 approvers along with a tailored view showing relevant details they need to make their decision.

As approvals are provided, the initiative progresses to Stage 2. Shibumi logs all changes and approvals for change control and future audits.

Based on the rules configured for this specific stage-gate process, the current stage defines which information is editable and visible. For example, with a financial benefit, targets could be locked once the initiative reaches Stage 3, and fields could be displayed to allow the initiative owner to start capturing actual metrics.

As you can see, each of these capabilities work together to support even the most complex stage-gate processes. However, they can also be combined flexibly to address governance and workflow requirements in other use cases.

We are already seeing the impact of these capabilities with early adopters of Shibumi stage-gate functionality, and we’re eager to help more program teams experience this success!

Contact us if you’d like to learn more or to see a demo of these great capabilities.

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A new level of control and visibility

Posted on September 22, 2017 by Mark DiGirolamo

We’ve had a busy summer and capped it off with a bang! Our latest release includes a handful of really useful enhancements, but we’d like to highlight two.

  1. Improved reporting & dashboarding
  2. More efficient design controls

Improved reporting & dashboarding

A big advantage of Shibumi is how we allow you to organize your information anyway you like, in any hierarchy that makes sense. Shibumi is completely flexible and our customers have taken advantage of this. Everything from simple Program -> Initiative structures, to complex multi-level, matrix’d structures. But, one thing had always been difficult, reporting across the full hierarchy.

Let’s take, for example, a structure like Portfolio -> Program -> Initiative -> Milestone -> Activity. We see there are 5 levels in this structure. Generating a view that included information from all 5 levels has historically been difficult. But, no longer. We now allow you to generate reports and views that include any information from any level.

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Building off the ability to pull in data from any level of the hierarchy is to include it in advanced charts and graphs. With our metric timeframe views you can quickly add data overtime, for instance monthly data over a year, add any columns of data from the hierarchy and group the information into logical buckets. The chart will now respect your groups and add them as stacks in the bar chart. This makes it really easy to flip perspectives and slice the data in any way.

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Both of these features make it much easier to analyze and identify trends in your data and allow stakeholders to make better and more informed decisions.

More efficient design controls

A big part of what makes Shibumi so powerful is how easy it is to get data into the system. With our auto-save features, copy and paste from excel, bulk edit, and others, adding data is a snap. But, we’ve heard from customers they’d like more control over the layout of their forms to make more efficient use of screen real estate. We heard you and love how you think! So, we now offer more layout controls of your forms. Place the form anywhere within a page, size it to your liking and set the location of the field labels. This allows you to create beautiful page layouts that can include forms, charts and tables in a single view.

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* Bonus item for our customers down under!

For some of our larger customers, data sovereignty is a critical issue. For those in Australia, we’ve added a data center in country.

As always, keep the feedback coming. For more information ask your Shibumi admin or connect with us directly!

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See how Shibumi can scale your RPA program

Posted on September 18, 2017 by Mark DiGirolamo

Congratulations, your Robotic Process Automation (RPA) program is beginning to take hold. The opportunities to improve the business are almost endless. Now it’s time to scale the program as well as the results. However, as the number of opportunities grow, so does the endless stream of excel files, email threads, PowerPoint presentations, and SharePoint sites.

Providing management with a clear view of the impact the program is having on the business is extremely difficult as the data is all over the place and requests are increasing. Creating a scalable program is now the bottleneck to delivering maximum benefits to the business.

Shibumi was designed to help. Shibumi is the configurable benefits tracking solution that helps you do the right work, the right way, at the right time. We’ve created a simple, centralized way to identify, prioritize and deliver automation opportunities while maintaining focus on the benefits the program is returning to the business.

As easy as 1. 2. 3.

First, ideas are captured in Shibumi and organized by major process area. The information gathered establishes the business case for the opportunity and jumpstarts the prioritization and categorization process.

Second, opportunities are assessed and assigned a complexity score and automation classification to assist in making sound investment decisions. Once approved, the opportunities are scheduled and their progress tracked.

Third, we ensure everyone understands the impact of the opportunity from both a time and cost savings perspective leveraging both live dashboards as well as executive presentations.

With Shibumi’s benefits tracking solution, you can:

  • Centralize the management of the program and provide the “single source of truth” for both progress and benefits
  • Streamline and standardize the assessment process to drive sound investment decisions
  • Deliver timely updates and benefits reporting anytime, to any device.

With Shibumi, ensure the RPA program is executing effectively while delivering maximum value to your business stakeholders.
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Advanced Roles is Here!

Posted on August 4, 2017 by Mark DiGirolamo

We’re excited to announce our release of advanced roles in Shibumi!

This release will support creation of custom roles, assigning access rights, filling roles from lists and views, and more… This release sets us up to greatly streamline how you invite team members in, set their access and visibility rights and capture which role they fill!

But, we’ve worked really hard making this transition seamless. You don’t have to make any major changes right away. You can determine the timeline around how you incorporate this new functionality into your templates. Having said that, there are some immediate changes you’ll see in Shibumi.

Changes you’ll see right away

Follower role is changing to Viewer: Followers will now be called Viewer.

No more Shared With: Shared With was a rarely used feature that allowed an item to be shared with someone, while not giving that person a specific role.

Changes to discussions: Going forward, if you can see an item in Shibumi, you can see its discussions. There is no longer a need to have a formal role on an item to view discussions. 2 points of detail: notifications of discussions will only be sent to people with a formal role and discussion roll-ups will only be visible to people with a formal role.

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Next Steps

We recommend connecting with your account manager to discuss how to best leverage our new roles functionality and plan out how you’ll incorporate it.

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Filling the Strategy Execution Gap

Posted on July 24, 2017 by Mark DiGirolamo

Organizational strategies result in the definition of comprehensive programs, projects and initiatives to achieve desired objectives. By necessity, these programs are monitored at a tactical level to ensure that each detailed milestone is reached to progress the overall strategy forward.

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Unfortunately, monitoring at a tactical level makes it challenging to understand status of the higher-level strategic objectives. Today, many companies address that challenge with significant manual effort. Tactical project managers provide details about their specific areas of ownership and the Program Owner or PMO aggregates content from all projects to prepare executive briefings. The effort to produce these executive briefings is time consuming! In fact, a study completed by Bain & Company estimates that companies spend 300,000 hours a year supporting weekly executive briefings.

While that volume of time is staggering, the more detrimental issue is the delay in providing information to the executive team. Strategic decisions are made based upon dated information. By the time the aggregated information reaches the executives, it is often too late to course correct, to help their teams clear hurdles, or to take advantage of new opportunities. This inability to make quick decisions is a critical issue and contributes to the strategy execution gap.

In reviewing this challenge, Gartner’s Donna Fitzgerald raised this key question: what approach must organizations implement to help executives make better, faster decisions so that they can pivot quickly to achieve greater strategic results?

The answer is that companies must work smarter, not harder. Gone are the days of brute force use of spreadsheets to track information, presentations to communicate it, and an army of people to maintain it. The smarter, more agile company connects the strategy with the performance information real time and generates always-current briefing decks.

As competition increases and resources become more constrained, it will be the smarter companies that succeed. Providing accurate information faster to drive executive decisions will be a powerful competitive advantage and will help to close the strategy execution gap.

Learn how Shibumi enables the smarter enterprise. Contact us today.

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Shibumi recognized by Gartner as a PPM “Cool Vendor”

Posted on June 6, 2017 by Mark DiGirolamo

Strategy execution platform transforms how organizations execute strategic initiatives to deliver better results

Shibumi.com, the platform designed to execute strategy and deliver results, today announced that it has been named as a cool vendor in the “Cool Vendors in PPM, 2017” report by Gartner, Inc.

According to Gartner, “Through 2020, solutions like these will help PPM leaders decide among complex, bimodal trade-offs, striking the right investment balance between advancing future business goals and keeping today’s operations running smoothly.” Shibumi provides a single flexible platform to enable strategic execution. PPM leaders involved with enterprise program management offices, strategy realization offices, and business transformation offices should care because Shibumi is essentially the first offering directed for their needs.

“We are honored to be recognized by Gartner for the innovations that we have brought to market. Shibumi is changing the way executives, PMO leadership, and advisors execute and report on their most critical strategic initiatives,” said Bob Nahmias, CEO of Shibumi. “We are working with some of the largest enterprises and advisory firms globally to transform the way they deliver value from their strategic initiatives. We believe this report validates our vision and how critical a platform like ours is in the digital age.”

The Gartner report authored by Robert Handler, et al was published on May 22, 2017. The complete report may be found at https://www.gartner.com/document/3723717.

About Shibumi
Founded in 2012, Shibumi is a platform that allows organizations to define, optimize and accelerate strategic initiative delivery. Enterprise leaders and their advisors leverage Shibumi to rapidly productize their methodologies, leading to better reporting and more informed decisions. Headquartered in Stamford, CT, Shibumi is a privately-backed company. To learn more about Shibumi, visit www.shibumi.com.

Gartner Disclaimer: Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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Shibumi announces SSO authentication

Posted on April 26, 2017 by Mark DiGirolamo

cloudFor any large company, enterprise-class IT requirements must be met prior to widespread implementation and adoption of software solutions. Shibumi is proud to announce that we have released enhanced SSO capabilities. Now, the IT requirements related to account management and user authentication are more easily addressed for Shibumi implementations.

 

Seamless authentication and account management

With Shibumi SSO, companies (and IT departments) can take advantage of the configuration capabilities exposed through their selected identity management service provider. This includes requirements related to password strength, frequency of password change, account lock outs, etc. Once SSO is implemented, users invited to Shibumi are simply redirected to their company’s login URL or service; there is no need to maintain separate Shibumi-specific account credentials!

For large organizations with hundreds (or thousands) of employees, this ability to consolidate the maintenance of employee system access into a single identity provider is essential.

Standard based consistency and ease of implementation

Shibumi’s SSO authentication adheres to the SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) 2.0 standards. By adhering to this standard, Shibumi can easily integrate with many of the leading identity management service providers. In fact, we worked closely with Ping Identity, Okta, and CA SSO throughout the SSO development effort.

Shibumi will continue to grow our library of reference implementations to streamline the effort associated with configuring Shibumi SSO with your selected service provider.

We know that you trust Shibumi with critical data, and we want to make it easier for you to quickly and confidently grant everyone in your organization access to Shibumi solutions. Shibumi SSO ensures faster solution implementation and employee onboarding which allows your team to begin collaborating quickly and securely.

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Exciting 2016 Shibumi Updates

Posted on January 9, 2017 by Mark DiGirolamo

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Thank you very much for making 2016 one of Shibumi’s best (and busiest) years yet!

Our company has grown significantly to serve you better and our application has matured with clients all over the world relying on Shibumi to execute their transformative programs. These clients have provided fantastic, from-the-trenches feedback – much of which has resulted in enhancements that we’ve already incorporated and introduced via product releases throughout the year.

As you have likely noticed, we focused much of our time on enhancing customization and visualization options to ensure Shibumi matches the style and method that teams are accustomed to when reporting their critical data. These include formatting the header bars on your lists and views, viewing your tabular data in chart format, representing organizational charts from your team’s Salesforce data, and more!

Another key enhancement was the ability to show History. You no longer need to annotate multi-line text fields with author initials and dates to reflect the history of changes within a field. Instead, you can now include a History view showing an audit of your Shibumi content.

We continue to work on enhancements and functionality to let teams better capture and communicate critical program data. One of the most transformational capabilities we introduced this year, was Presentations. With Presentations, you’ll be able to take back the hours you spend aggregating data then tediously copying and pasting content into PowerPoint each time you produce a status report. Once you’ve set up a presentation in Shibumi, the slides stay current with your solution content, ensuring that your information is always accurate and up to date. You can lock the content at any time and publish the presentation – which produces a downloadable PDF that can be shared outside of Shibumi.

As you navigate through Shibumi, you’ll discover many subtle changes and improvements to the product and we’d love to tell you about them all!

We invite you to attend a webinar highlighting the key 2016 Shibumi product releases. Join us to hear how you can take advantage of the new capabilities and learn a few tips, tricks and shortcuts to enhance the value you’re getting from your Shibumi solutions. Click on the link here to register and to add the event to your calendar.

Whether you join the webinar or not, keep the feedback coming! We love hearing from you and are eager to continue improving the product in order to enhance the benefit you’re getting from Shibumi in 2017!

- Shibumi

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Enterprise Program & Portfolio Management (EPPM)

Posted on September 26, 2016 by Mark DiGirolamo

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As many companies attempt to accelerate growth programs, seize market opportunities or re-organize to align to new strategies, they’ve been hindered by the inherent limitations of PPM solutions. These challenges have resulted in the recent emergence of the Enterprise Program & Portfolio Management (EPPM) market space. EPPM goes beyond the PPM tracking of budget to burn and cost allocation; it attempts to connect business benefit realization to the programs a company executes. While EPPM does share many of the capabilities that IT PPM software exhibits, EPPM is focused more broadly across the enterprise rather than focusing success on the completion of an isolated or small group of related IT projects.

Because EPPM solutions facilitate effective strategy execution and business transformation, the software is often used by enterprise program management offices or business transformation offices.

Many companies are facing challenges when executing effective EPPM strategy, with some not even recognizing its availability and trying to stretch inadequate PPM tools to support their strategy execution. The challenges include:

  • Establishing alignment of multiple teams and executives. While objectives are often communicated through the hierarchy of organizations, horizontal silos optimize according to their own understanding, resulting in misalignment.
  • Providing agility and adaptability of strategy. Simply planning a strategy is insufficient. Strategy must be flexible to withstand setbacks and to support revised priorities.
  • Reaching consistent “understanding”. The simple objective of “communication” is insufficient when it comes to EPPM strategy execution. The true goal should be to ensure that “understanding” is achieved. According to a March 2015 article in the Harvard Business Review, less than one third of senior management report that they fully understand how their organization’s top priorities align with their strategy.
  • Assigning credit where it is due. Recognizing the people who enable successful business transformation is critical to gaining team commitment to results.
  • Enabling executive input on day-to-day details. While escalating every decision to top management is inefficient, key day-to-day decisions require executive input to successfully achieve change.
  • Establishing cross functional agreement. The need for cross team communication and agreement is critical to strategic decision making but this can be difficult when disparate organizations are unaware of who is sufficiently connected to facilitate the agreement.

Shibumi provides a customizable EPPM solution that helps you successfully navigate through these challenges. With Shibumi, you can generate a clear dashboard of business metrics that all members of an organization can access. This comprehensive dashboard aligns projects and portfolios, creating discipline around how connected parts come together. The ability to track these business metrics in a collaborative environment enables long term, strategic initiatives and goals to be monitored and executed more effectively.

For more information about Shibumi, please contact info@shibumi.com.

 

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Simplify your Executive Briefings

Posted on September 16, 2016 by Mark DiGirolamo

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We’ve all been there, on a Friday, working on a presentation to brief executives on status and progress of a major program. Pulling data from email and spreadsheets, formatting into a set of slides, emailing it to multiple team members for feedback and validation. Typically, this is a monthly or sometimes weekly report. It’s crucially important to communicate, but the whole process wastes huge amounts of time that could otherwise be spent working on the actual program.

From the start, Shibumi wanted to solve this problem. Provide an easy, efficient way to manage the program, from status tracking, to collaboration, to monitoring the business benefits. Building on our enterprise program management platform, we’ve developed Presentations.

Presentations are a native ability to pull data from portfolios, programs, initiatives, really anything being tracked in Shibumi, and place it into a set of slides. You can create template presentations that include as many slides as necessary. Now, your monthly presentation is live and connected to your data. Sharing it with executives is a single click away.

You have full control of what gets shared

One advantage of manually creating these presentations is the control it provides. By creating them manually you know exactly what data is being shared and how it looks. We made sure you still get that same level of control.

Each slide in a Shibumi presentation can be locked. Once it’s locked, even if the source data changes, it won’t change in that slide. In addition, slides can be locked at different days and times. So, similar to how it’s done today, you can finalize the deck over time.

Once the slides are locked and ready, the entire presentation is Published. Once published there is a unique link generated. This is what you send to your audience. This is the final version of the presentation, the one that has been reviewed and validated by the team.

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Create engaging presentations

Another advantage of manually creating a presentation is the artistic control you have. Highlighting information, calling out key points and adding graphics and charts. These all help you tell your story and communicate in an engaging way.

Building on our already great formatting and charting features, we’ve added even more. You can already format your tables, add color and various charts, but now you can also add images and have even more control of text formatting. This is all controlled from a canvas that allows you to place these elements exactly where you want in the slide.

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Promoting consistency and saving time

Based on initial feedback from beta customers this has saved days from their reporting cycles, all while providing a consistent approach to briefings.

For more information ask your Shibumi admin or connect with us directly!

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