What is AppO?
AppO is an application that helps make better business decisions by eliminating emotion and bias while breaking very complex decisions into consumable steps and using proven science to rank the decision options by relative value to the business. Decisions made using AppO, are always statistically defendable.
AppO is most commonly used to select and prioritise portfolios of transformation or asset maintenance initiatives in government and corporate organisations.
AppO provides ‘apples for apples’ value comparisons using an unlimited number of tangible and intangible criteria such as strategic alignment, customer outcomes, cost, NPV etc. arranged in a hierarchical fashion, which could include for example existing strategic drivers, K.P.I’s, C.S.F’s, Balanced Scorecard measures and budget outcomes. Sustainability value measures (ESG and GHG) can be included in required reporting frameworks and formats alongside and compared to financial measures to determine the most advantageous alternative.
AppO is unlimited in modelling the structure and number of potential investments. It could be used to model, select and prioritise all the potential transformation or maintenance investments in an entire multi-national corporation or in an entire government as one or more of any of portfolios, sub-portfolios, programs, projects, project options, activities and tasks. It will seamlessly integrate to existing governance and stage gate review processes and also integrate to a number of popular portfolio, program and project management applications.
AppO can analyse the portfolio relative to the opinions of individual stakeholders or groups of stakeholders on what outcomes are of value to the organisation, infer consensus and identify where compromise between stakeholders may need to occur.
How does AppO work?
Detailed Features and Benefits of AppO
The number of potential investments that can be considered by AppO is unlimited. AppO has been proven on a portfolio of over 2,000 infrastructure projects. This allows analysis of all potential investments regardless of number.
AppO allows one or more of any of portfolio, sub-portfolio, program, project, project option, activities and tasks arranged in a hierarchical fashion. This feature allows all potential investments in the entire organisation to be analysed relative to accountability.
AppO also has the ability to “fuse” potential investments into larger investments such as might happen when a group of projects may best be managed as a program, or when a series of options are available, or even when it is necessary to derive the aggregate business value that will be generated from the investments relating to a function or perhaps business unit. This feature means that value assessed at the lowest level of the portfolio can be inferred to all levels above.
Also, with its ability to analyse multiple portfolios, AppO can accommodate views such any combination of one or more asset maintenance portfolios, one or more transformation portfolios, one or more ideas portfolios etc.
Because AppO extends the Analytic Hierarchy Process the relative business value (RBV) of individual investments and portfolios analysed against differing hierarchies of value measures will still provide a valid basis on which to select investments. This means that it is possible to compare the RBV of potential investments in disparate markets where the value criteria differ e.g. Investments in India compared to investments in Australia and U.S.A. and Uzbekistan. If there are material changes in any market you only need to update the assessment and AppO will adjust its recommendations accordingly.
AppO uses an unlimited hierarchy of value measures, tangible, intangible, measured subjectively, objectively or as a hybrid. Each successive level of measures further defines the level above, such as strategic drivers could be further defined in detail as critical success factors, which in turn could be further defined etc. Risk could be further defined as types of risk OR measures like the United Nations Strategic Development Goals will be further defined by their success measures. This means that the entire hierarchy of measures in use in an organisation can be modelled, for example, layer by layer from strategic drivers to CSF’s, KRA’s, KPI’s, Balanced Scorecard, planned benefits, to current process volumes and times. The net effect is that any adjustment at any level below the top can be inferred upwards thus, for example, identifying the detailed impact of a project shortfall on strategic goals.
AppO can reflect the views/opinions of what is important (or what is of value) of any stakeholder or stakeholder group. Thus and for example, it is possible to analyse the potential value of investments based on the collective or individual opinions of customers, investors, the board, executive, staff, subject matter experts, vendors, third parties the community etc. AppO can show, in detail or summary the impact of variances, infer where consensus will lie and thus identify areas that may require compromise or where “damage control” might need to be implemented.
You could also create opinions of value that represent “What if” scenarios and use those in detailed analysis to understand where business value could be improved with the current portfolio. This functionality can be used to develop revised strategic approaches or solutions and thus test the impact on the business and the operating portfolio prior to activation.
AppO has the ability to “fuse” opinions such that, for example, the opinions of all executive stakeholders could be aggregated into a proposed consensus position, which could then also be used in analysis of the potential investments.
AppO can analyse an unlimited number of assessments of the likely outcomes of any investment and then compare the impact on the portfolio of each and all assessments. This means that you could use assessments of likely outcomes from customers, investors, board, executive, staff, subject matter experts, vendors, third parties the community etc. to gain insights into how the investments will be viewed by disparate stakeholders.
AppO can then “Fuse” assessments into an aggregated logical consensus, worst case view, best case assessment for further analysis. This feature provides the ability to understand the range of potential outcomes.
AppO’s Assessment functionality, especially when investments are analysed using a range of stakeholder views of opinions of value, will provide unparalleled insight into how particular investments or investments strategies will be viewed by stakeholders and where adjustments could be made to achieve agreement or positive impressions.
AppO can also analyse the range of assessments for an individual investment and indicate potential bias introduced by an assessment or assessor.
AppO analyses investments for “Relative Business Value” under one or more opinions of what constitutes value and one or more assessments of the likely outcomes of individual investments.
Where one investment is analysed to have a higher “Relative Business Value” than another then it is likely to be more advantageous to invest in the higher rather than the lower value investment.
AppO’s analysis functionality allows for fifteen analysis types in nine groups and with seven visualisations e.g. Box plot, pie chart, traffic light, decision card, scatter diagram, bar chart and tables.
AppO analysis includes the ability to inspect the spending in the portfolio on each of the value measures and identify spending imbalances. For example, if one measure represented 10% of the total value (importance) but spending was 15% of the total budget then the implication is that measure is being overspent meaning there is a potential opportunity for savings in the portfolio. Conversely, if the measure was 10% important but only accounted for 7% of budget the measure is being underspent and the goal related to that measure might not be achieved.
AppO also provides the functionality of longitudinal studies of individual investments to determine the effectiveness of stakeholder opinions of value and assessments of likely outcomes. Similarly, it is possible to analyse individual assessors or groups of assessors to identify personal development opportunities.
An objective measure is a fact, it can be counted or measured. A subjective measure requires a human opinion. AppO adds a third measure called Hybrid, one that is calculated from one or more other measures. AppO is able to compare subjective, objective and hybrid assessments as if it were comparing ‘apples to apples’.
Through its “Rules” functionality, AppO can include and automatically calculate likely outcome values that may be subject to, for example but not limited to, corporate policy relative to maturity of the investment in its lifecycle, such as – Apply 50% contingency to assessments where the potential investment is at the concept stage, 30% at feasibility study and 10% at fully articulated business case etc.
Through its “Groups” functionality, AppO is also able to model measures where the assessed likely outcomes will be over a range of years, over a series of business units, over a number of products, in a number of countries etc. There is no limit to how many sets of such iterations of outcomes can be accommodated except for practical ability to report and visualise numerous values. For example, AppO could model a series of measures over a range of years, another series over a range of products or services, etc. all within the same hierarchical set of measures applied to potential investments.
Thus, through “Groups” and “Rules” functionality and Hybrid value measures AppO can automatically calculate and model likely outcome values that require complex calculations based on other measures e.g. Net Present Value, Internal Rate of Return, Benefit Cost Ratio, Net Present Value per $ of capital investment, First year rate of return, or nearly any other business ratio etc.
Thus and for example, AppO is capable of visualising a full cost/benefit analysis over a number of years whilst also visualising and comparing any other criteria possible including such as community outcomes, ecological outcomes, reputational outcomes etc.
Any objective, subjective or calculated hybrid value that is more than 0% important will influence the analysed Relative Business Value for any and all potential investments meaning that business ratios or any hybrid value can be modelled to trigger go/no go situations.
AppO allows for rapid assessment of the likely outcomes of each potential investment and calculates its Relative Business Value (RBV) by analysing against a sub-set of value measures rather than all value measures.
Using rapid assessment allows assessment of only a few of the most influential (important) value measures on RBV, quickly identifying those investments of likely lowest RBV (least value) and thus identifying candidates for removal from the portfolio. Using rapid assessment reiteratively will allow for progressively more detailed assessments as the potential portfolio dwindles, minimising the volume of assessment work required to arrive at a recommended portfolio.
Rapid assessment accelerates the development of a recommended portfolio, and all with minimal effort, often saving days and weeks of assessment effort in large portfolios.
When fully implemented AppO provides a platform for continuous improvement approach to portfolio optimisation and can be seamlessly integrated to a business’s strategy development, portfolio governance and gateway review, portfolio prioritisation and scheduling, delivery and operational processes.
AppO is specifically designed to assist in overcoming seventeen of the most common failure points in the portfolio optimisation process. Thus, implementing AppO can provide the leverage to move towards best practice strategy development, portfolio governance and optimisation processes.
Independent research of the Forrester Group, Gartner and the PMI agree that the potential savings from utilising Portfolio Prioritisation approaches (such as that implemented in AppO) is between five and twenty three percent of the value of the portfolio. So, if your transformation investment budget is say $20 Million you can either save at least $1 Million or you can achieve the equivalent of at least a $21 Million budget.
Using Appo will underpin the selection of the most valuable investments to form your portfolio. Investments that don’t stack up in terms of contribution to business value or strategic alignment can be avoided. This alone can save between five and twenty-three percent of the value of your portfolio by not investing in the low value initiatives.
If your value measures include your strategic goals then AppO’s calculated Relative Business Value for each individual investment exactly equates to a strategic alignment value. Therefore, in using AppO, you will improve the value of strategically aligned initiatives delivered and since any resources expended on activities which are not strategically aligned is a waste of money there may be an opportunity for significant savings.
By investing effort upfront to evaluate the pool of investments, organisations weed out inefficiencies that may creep up later due to not having enough capacity for execution.
By implementing AppO you will be focusing on a consistent approach to assessing the value of potential investments, which will deliver downstream clarity on why projects are approved or rejected, thereby providing further savings from a lack of confusion and improved levels of benefits realisation through higher levels of successful project delivery.
In circumstances of time-to-market prioritization of potential investments will give your organisation the first-mover advantage, enabling you to reach customers before your competition.
AppO also includes the ability to rapidly assess options (see elsewhere under “Rapid Assessment” for further information) that can save weeks of work in large portfolios. In one case we know of rapid assessment saved multiple person years of effort.
AppO’s ability to Aggregate opinions, assessments and investment options will also save many, many hours of effort, reducing delays and associated costs.
AppO’s analysis includes the ability to identify potential bias in opinions of value and assessments thus possible “pet projects” can be identified and, if appropriate, eliminated from the portfolio. Individual assessors work can be analysed, which can identify opportunities for personal development with a view of improving the accuracy of assessments and reducing effort.
The hierarchical nature of AppO value criteria allows you to define strategic alignment and business value in increasing detail, which provides a direct link to specific planned outcomes tracked and managed though benefits management. Thus there can be a direct link from planned benefit to strategic driver that with AppO’s aggregation functionality can quantify progress towards strategic goals in detail.
AppO enables you to compare planned benefits with harvested benefits, identifying just what has been “banked”, still available to be banked, or lost as the investment proceeds through planning, delivery and operational stages.
By moving much of the benefits planning workload towards the front of the strategy development cycle provides downstream clarity to benefits managers, program and project managers and removes duplication of effort in benefits planning and articulation.
In practice what is of personal importance to one stakeholder within an organisation, let’s say the Marketing Director (increased revenue, increased reach) or Production Director (operational efficiency, simplified processes, lower skill base required), may indeed be different from another stakeholder within the same organisation such as the CEO (share price, shareholder feedback, board priorities), Auditor (risk management, audit trail, governance), Finance Director (return on investment, risk management, process integration) or CIO (Operational efficiency, data and process security, scalability and flexibility). This means that all of these individuals have differing views that impact their assessment of what constitutes business value. Thus it can be very difficult to come to consensus and often the most strident or powerful stakeholder holds sway.
For each manager to have confidence that the outcomes of initiatives are appropriate for their sphere of influence value must be measured at the level of their interest. However, the collective or aggregated view of all these value drivers must somehow be developed to understand the consensus view of true business value specific to the whole organisation.
AppO can take unlimited views into account when assessing investments and show each of the individuals which of the potential investments are of greatest value to them at their level of interest against an agreed consensus or even aggregate those views to a logical consensus view, and compare outcomes of each individual view with each other individual view or the consensus view.
AppO is designed to enable ‘apples for apples’ comparison based on any subjective, objective or hybrid value measure. Thus subjective measures related perhaps to strategic alignment, customer outcomes, etc. can be analysed against objective measures such as $ Cost, or NPV and produce meaningful and statistically defend-able comparisons.
If you can imagine a value measure you should be able to model it in AppO, regardless of what that value measure is.
AppO’s ability to analyse potential investments under any number of opinions of value and assessments of likely outcomes added to AppO’s ability to consider multiple hierarchies of value measures allows AppO to demonstrate the impact of extremely complex “what if” scenarios. The scenario can include any variations on any and all of an unlimited set of criteria, opinions of value and assessments of likely outcomes.
If you want to see the impact “on the fly” Appo embodies a “Sandbox” feature. The “Sandbox” allows AppO users to change one or more value measures “on the fly” and see the results prior perhaps to creating alternative and numerous opinions of value and assessments of likely outcomes.
AppO has been developed to provide consultants with a tool to use in value-adding their client engagements. AppO allows our consulting partners to control their client engagements by allowing them to create client accounts, control user access rights and usage, among many other things. AppO Partners enjoy many benefits including free education, accreditation and 24 hour support. To find out more please complete the form on our partners page.
The AppO Advantage
- Make better business decisions, without emotion or bias, making sure that everything you do contributes to your planned strategic outcomes
- Stop wasting money on low-value options (save 5 to 23%)
- Align your strategy development and strategy delivery so you can deliver more of your strategy
- Include ESG or GHG measures alongside financial measures in any mix and in any depth allowing you to prove that your ESG reporting is transparent, reasonable and rational. This will also encourage your people to be proud of, and become advocates of your sustainability credentials
- Know the impact of your decisions on your stakeholders as they will see it
- Focus your asset maintenance decisions on current status, maintainability, cost, risk, parts availability and location and any other criteria you need
AppO Case Studies
AppO has been used to solve complex decision, prioritisation and strategy development problems for clients within a range of industries. You can view some of these case studies below.
How Can Kepa Help
We offer a consultation service in which we’ll talk about your problem and try to discover solutions. All this will be without cost or obligation on your part so the service is completely free of charge.