Provalido Launches the Ideas Hub
Ideas – Let’s be creative!
We recently launched our new “Ideas” feature which we’re delighted to see a good number of customers have already enabled to enhance their savings tracking / benefits reporting process. In this article we’ll explain why we thought it was important to add Ideas, and briefly walk through how it works.
So why did we add this new feature?
At Provalido we seek to bring these 6 benefits to our customers, so we try to prioritise development on areas that will impact one or more of them. We aim to:
1. Simplify your benefits tracking.
2. Help teams to collaborate more easily.
3. Add rigour and control to your process.
4. Help build trust in your savings numbers.
5. Enable more benefits to be secured.
6. Showcase the full value being delivered.
The new Ideas feature arguably helps with all of these, but in particular it enhances the 1st, 2nd and 5th benefits – simplification, collaboration and greater savings numbers.
One of the triggers in developing this feature was talking to customers and finding that in many cases individual users, or even whole organisations, were holding ideas in spreadsheets outside the system.
Provalido already has the option to call the first status of a project “Idea” and then require approval to progress, so why were people keeping ideas outside the system?
Fear is the enemy of creativity!
The main reason was that in most cases, as soon as an idea was entered as a full project in the system, the forecast savings from that idea appeared in reports and dashboards.
The fear was that the forecast could be inflated artificially,even taking into account the “confidence factor” that can be applied to projects. Individuals were also concerned that they would then be held accountable to deliver those savings, even if the idea was just rough and embryonic.
So, a safer route was to hide these ideas out of sight until enough confidence was gained to add them as a project. The question is how many of these ideas were then forgotten about, or not developed due to lack of confidence?
An obvious downside of this approach is of course that valuable data is not all being held in the same place, and is indeed potentially not known to anyone but the creator. Another issue is that there is less opportunity for “Ideation”.
Now, I’m not a fan of business buzz-words, and Ideation can certainly fall into this category, but the definition of it is “the process of forming ideas from conception to implementation, most often in a business setting”, which is exactly what we are looking to do in this situation.
The Benefits of bringing Ideas into Provalido
So bringing the ideation process into Provalido brings 4 key benefits:
1. It simplifies the idea-to-implemented-benefit journey by having everything in one place with full traceability and transparency. Even after a project is fully implemented you can link back to the original idea it was created from.
2. It makes entering an Idea quicker than if entering as a full project. At the simplest level, all you need is a name, an owner and a description for the idea. You can configure the Ideas feature to include any other fields you like, including specific fields you can create just for ideas. This data is then carried through to the project if later converted.
3. By holding Ideas completely separately to projects in the tool, it means any forecast savings from ideas are not included in the main savings reports and will not impact forecasts until the ideas are converted into projects. This removes the main barrier for entering ideas and encourages users to be creative without the fear that they will be forced todeliver everything they enter.
4. By allowing all users (including Viewer users with free licences) to both create and collaborate on Ideas, we encourage the nurturing and development of rough ideas into fully-fledged plans that are ready to be turned into projects. The idea originator may not have the subject matter expertise to fully flesh out their vision, but others with more knowledge can contribute and help with that. One of our customers has called the ideas feature “The Incubator” which describes this process well.
Points 3 & 4 combined should mean that more benefits will ultimately be delivered, with more ideas being “out in the open” and more knowledge and expertise being able to contribute to and nurture those ideas.
So how does it work?
All ideas entered into the system are added to the Ideas Hub. Ideas are initially created in draft form. Depending on the settings applied, the creator of the idea may be able to convert this directly into a full project, or they may need to have it reviewed.
If this is the case, they move it to “In Review” and one of the designated reviewers will check the details of the Idea and either move to “Ready” or “Parked”. Any idea marked as ready can then be converted to a project any time.
As with all our features, we’ve provided full flexibility in how you set up the rules around which users are allowed to create, contribute, review, convert etc.
Users can also vote on ideas if you want to be fully collaborative, and we have a new report for assessing ideas in the 3 dimensions of Effort, Reward and Likelihood to help make prioritising as easy as possible.
It will only get better.
As with other areas of our tool, we’re always looking to evolve and improve the way it works. We will shortly be adding the ability to upload ideas in bulk from spreadsheets. A future enhancement will be to allow suppliers to create Ideas for review.
We like to think of Provalido as a canvass on which to paint all the activity procurement is up to and display the full value being delivered. We’re excited about the new Ideas feature and it seems to us an important step in being able to see the full picture when managing procurement performance. We look forward to seeing it generate greater benefits for our clients and to see how it evolves over the coming years.