Updated: May 23
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 public health emergency is evolving rapidly into an unprecedented social, economic and technological transformation across the planet, with profound - and likely permanent – implications for public and private sectors alike.
The fallout from COVID-19 represents a clear and present challenge to the capability and capacity of all organisations, regardless of the scale and scope of their operations.
Throughout the world government bodies, multi-national corporations, financial institutions, small and medium enterprises and micro businesses are emerging from the elongated ‘coma’ that is COVID-19 only to be faced with another phenomenon – the new realm known as ‘VUCA’(i).
(i) Volatility | Uncertainty | Complexity | Ambiguity
Charting a course within this still-evolving ‘VUCA’ domain presents another stringent test for all of us, and there is no standard ‘playbook’ available to signpost the way forward.
The economic, social and environmental impact for any organisation is infinitely variable based on their particular circumstances – such as market footprint, industry type, target customers, etc.
Hence management teams in most organisations are now compelled to examine every dimension of their business model and to question the existing assumptions underlying their strategic and operational framework.
At the same time, they are being challenged to find innovative ways to confront the new realities presented by COVID-19. As the management guru Peter Drucker said so presciently, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with the logic of yesterday.”
Under these circumstances the stability of core operations, ensuring business continuity and creating a pathway to sustainable recovery are now top-of-mind concerns for any organisation.
Moreover, adaptability, agility and resilience are the key attributes for every senior leadership team navigating this entirely unknown and unpredictable landscape.
The role of the Program Management Office (PMO)
At WCA, our client base consists of major investment groups - private equity firms, venture capital companies and diversified conglomerates - situated within the SE Asia region.
Not surprisingly, these organizations are facing the same set of COVID-related challenges within their own operations. In addition, they are responsible for managing the performance of the various entities within their respective investment portfolios, which range from early stage ventures to established operating units.
WCA provides an independent and turnkey Program Management Office (PMO) service, which is staffed by a dedicated team of specialists from our firm. The WCA team works closely with these portfolio companies, but ultimately acts as the ‘on-site’ steward in representing the interests of the investor partner.
Our experience at WCA indicates that the selective outsourcing of existing investment-related processes - such as the management of exit-critical work programs – to a third party like WCA ultimately increases the visibility and leverage afforded to the investor.
In accordance with our chosen PMO methodology, WCA undertakes a range of integrated management procedures - i.e. corporate governance, operational oversight, performance monitoring, data analytics - within the portfolio companies. We then report back periodically to the investor regarding performance against the nominated metrics.
Our key beliefs - arising from our experience of forming and running PMO operations over the last 10 years - align very closely to the current needs of management teams as they grapple with the post-COVID-19 challenges highlighted above:
a PMO function frees up the investor teams from attending to high frequency and often repetitive tasks in respect of their portfolio companies.
a PMO steers the executives of the portfolio companies – both board members and operational line managers - to focus solely on their value-creating tasks such as strategy formulation, work program execution, resource allocation and financial management.
the establishment of a dedicated PMO unlocks the value of the deep subject matter expertise in program management from within the WCA team
the flow of insightful information as part of the PMO service delivery brings new levels of clarity and understanding to the investor team.
In combination these high-value ‘touchpoints’ enable the business leaders to manage their day-to-day tasks more effectively.
We describe our platform as a ‘Strategic PMO’(ii) as it has the following characteristics:
We adopt a long-term perspective in determining the scope of our monitoring activities - allied to the investment life cycle, which is typically 5 years and up.
We embrace the entire cross-functional span of the portfolio company organization – the commercial, technical, financial, legal and regulatory, and human resources teams – within our terms of reference.
We seek to establish an ‘client-intimate’ relationship with all stakeholders, based on the principles of trust, transparency and open communication.
We seek to assert a high degree of influence – both positive and reinforcing - on the portfolio company, in keeping with the expectations and demands of the investor.
Note (ii): this category may also be labelled as an ‘Enterprise PMO’ - they share the same attributes.
The Strategic PMO is in a prime position to promote, scale and oversee an ‘agile’ approach across the investor-portfolio company spectrum. This is particularly relevant in the post-COVID period, as the internal pace of adjustment and change is heightened.
During this time of rapid transition, the PMO mechanism can ensure that the business is a) continuing to go in the right direction, b) spending money in the right areas, and c) focusing on the “high-priority, high pay-off” work programs that drive value creation.
Want to know more about working with us in Indonesia?
Please feel free to contact our Jakarta office directly.
P.S. Our expanded ‘Integrated Execution Service’ (IES) is now launched!
The Program Management Office (PMO) construct described above is the ‘beating heart’ of our newly-launched offering for investors, which we call ‘Integrated Execution Service’ (IES)'.
The IES proposition encompasses the entire investment cycle and comprises functions such as market evaluation, due diligence, business plan formulation, management team alignment, marketing communications and continuous work program management.
We have designed our ‘Integrated Execution Service’ (IES) offering with a view to assisting investor groups in maximizing exit valuations. Our approach comprises two components:
rigorous up-front business planning and work program specification.
the implementation of a high impact, low maintenance Program Management Office (PMO) capability - as described above.
Simply put, we convert an existing investment thesis or business plan into a set of pragmatic and value-added execution programs, which we then manage diligently on behalf of the investor - from inception through to exit.
And we are not passive ‘scorekeepers’ - we are proud to characterize our workstyle as ‘activist and interventionist’.
We deploy local resources in Indonesia to act as the dedicated on-the-ground representatives of the investor.
Our intent is to ‘avoid surprises’ by managing problems as they arise and resolving critical issues proactively.
Want to know more? You can read about our customised IES offering.
Better yet, please feel free to contact our Indonesia office directly.
Don’t delay, our team in Jakarta is ready to discuss your requirements today!