Portfolio Opportunity Assessment

Portfolio opportunity assessment is a key process to explore and evaluate the viability/profitability of business ideas.

Business Case

In order to approve a project for implementation, a business case or opportunity assessment document is required to justify the need for the project. Some organizations will extend this to marketing plan, which include opportunity assessment and commercialization plan. Business case demonstrates the need and strategic importance or relevance of the project. That is, it demonstrates the alignment of the proposed project to the organization strategy. Usually every project is assessed within a portfolio and compared to other projects in terms of the value creation, strategic alignment and opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is the cost of the best alternative forgone.

A business case includes the following:

  • Assessment of the current situation, including issues, internal and external environmental factors (organization capability, political, economy, social, legal etc.).
  •  Vision, goals, desired outcome and deliverables.
  • Analysis of options – includes considerations of resource requirements, deliverables, estimates of cost and benefits, return on investment, net present value and investment payback (i.e. time to recover implementation cost).
  • Recommendations – are based on the outcome of the options analysis and other considerations like social, political and physical environment factors.
  • Implementation strategy – includes the governance, timeline, transition and post-implementation review plans.

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Once the business case is approved and funding provided, a term of reference or a project charter is created to define the project agenda in a clearer detail. Prior to the wide adoption of project management methodologies, some organizations create a term of reference (TOR) to indicate business case acceptance and approval to proceed with the initiative implementation. This type of TOR is usually smaller in size or content than a typical project charter.

For small projects, a TOR may suffice for the project charter. To initiate a project, a term of reference (TOR) or charter is required. The charter defines the mandate and scope statements, guides and drives the project implementation, and enables the project manager to develop a clear road map to fulfill the goals and needs of the project.

Essentially, a TOR includes the following:

  • Vision, objectives, scope and deliverables (what)
  • Key stakeholders, their interests, roles and responsibilities (who)
  • Resources required – money, human and materials; and approach (how)
  • Expected delivery date, timeline (when)

 

A project charter include the above and more (risk management, change management, governance etc.). Project charter will be discussed in the subsequent section.

 

Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is a vital document that guides the successful and profitable delivery of a new or enhanced product. It is required to demonstrate the viability and commercialization potential of the product. The viability or opportunity assessment component of a marketing plan is equivalent to the business case. Business case may suffice to justify an initiative that requires funding within the organization. However, marketing plan is essential to secure an initiative funding from external sources (for example, financial institutions). Sometimes, marketing plan is referred to as a business plan, particularly for a single product or product line organization. A marketing plan is more elaborate than a business case, and could suffice for a business case. A strategic business unit within an organization develops marketing plan to demonstrate the alignment of its products and services with the corporate strategy and compete for scarce resources.

A marketing plan includes the opportunity assessment and commercialization plan. Opportunity assessment is the analysis of the organization capability, customers, competitive and environmental factors. Commercialization plan includes the combination of product, pricing, promotion and distribution strategies. A critical success factor for an effective marketing plan is creating a superior product for an attractive market, where there is little or no competition, with strong marketing capabilities.

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A marketing plan includes the following:

  • Corporate strategy statement – vision, objectives and strategic direction.
  •  Opportunity assessment – also called the 4Cs (Customer or target market, environment Considerations, organization Capabilities and Competition). It also addresses current situations and keys issues. The main output of the opportunity assessment is the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) report.
  • Marketing strategies – also called the 4Ps (Product, Pricing, Promotion and Place or distribution strategies). These are the realistic and thought-out strategies that take advantage of strengths and opportunities, and respond to weaknesses and threats.
  • Action plan – includes resource allocation and implementation timeline.
  • Financial statements – includes capital outlay, income (profit & loss), balance sheet and cash flow projections.
  • Control & contingencies – includes organization governance and structure, risk management and contingency plan, legal issues, communication plan, performance tracking and auditing of the ongoing health check for the various components of the marketing plan.

A sample marketing plan outline used to build the marketing strategy for this guide is shown in Figure 9. It serves well as a template to brainstorm and build a comprehensive marketing plan. A marketing plan, if approved, provides the initiation and mandate for the project delivery, including the development of associated artefacts, mainly the project charter and integrated project plan.

 Figure 9 – Marketing Plan Outline – An Example

 

portfolio opportunity assessment

portfolio opportunity assessment

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