Over the past few years I've been fortunate enough to work with some major clients who manage programmes and portfolios of work with hundreds of individual projects running concurrently.  It has proved a real challenge to control and monitor these complex programmes, with hundreds of moving parts and potentially thousands of individual tasks and actions taking place across the life of the programme.

But, one common trend that sets great programme management apart from the good and average examples is the use of online management platforms.

The growth in use of online management systems for major programmes has skyrocketed in recent years. The development and maturing of the PMO / Project Controls functions in many client organisations has created a demand for coordinated management of project data. The benefits clients are gaining are numerous. 

Great Project Controls delivery gives clients a 'single version of the truth', a simple but accurate summary with detail supporting where needed. An online management systems aide this, providing information when you need it, reducing the need for meetings, removing the process waste caused by producing multiple reports by hand and eliminating miscommunication of out of date information. 

The future development potential for these systems is significant, with AI and more intuitive user-friendly design creating programme and portfolio management systems which are as easy to use as Facebook or Google. Interlinking with FM and Asset Management, we will begin to see the integration of capital and maintenance spend and management, which I believe will greatly particularly benefit infrastructure clients like Network Rail and those in the water industry who have a split duty of investing to provide capacity and maintaining a legacy system which could be over one hundred years old in some places. 

The other significant benefit in my view is the impact it has on the way we work, reacting to the change in behaviours brought on by 24/7 news cycles, social media and the access to almost unlimited information via the web.  In a world where attention spans are shortening and people need everything on demand, I can only see the call for integrated, online management systems increasing in the years to come.