PMO: his key role in digital transformation

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Digital transformation is shaking up traditional organizations. Change management is now essential if companies are to survive in this new digital environment. In this context, the Project Management Officer (PMO) plays a decisive role. Acting as a conduit between management and operational teams, the PMO is a strategic lever in the move towards digital. And his role is no mean feat, given that almost 70% of digital transformation projects fail for lack of time or skills.

The PMO, a key player in change management

What is a PMO?

The Project Management Officer is a profile dedicated to project management within an organization. Its main mission is to standardize project management methods and provide operational support to project managers.

The PMO is the guarantor of best practices in project management. It defines methodological guidelines (planning, budget, quality, risks, etc.) and a common language applicable to all company projects.

The aim is to industrialize project management and make it more efficient.

In addition, the PMO plays a cross-functional coordination role between different projects, identifying dependencies and optimizing resource allocation between project teams.

His overall vision enables him to detect potential synergies and pool certain levers (skills, tools, etc.).

In addition, this profile centralizes project progress reporting through harmonized indicators and dashboards. This regular monitoring facilitates control, risk anticipation and communication with sponsors.

The project manager, on the other hand, is restricted to a single project. His or her work is focused on meeting the cost/time/quality triptych to deliver the expected results. The PMO operates at a higher level, providing assistance and guidelines to all the organization’s project managers.

What role does the PMO play in digital transformation?

Moving towards digital requires much more than simply deploying technologies. It involves a profound cultural and organizational transformation. The PMO is a major asset when it comes to managing change. In particular, he or she is responsible for

  • Structuring the process. He breaks down the roadmap into intermediate milestones to give teams a sense of direction. He coordinates the various projects and sub-projects to ensure smooth interaction between teams. It also organizes tasks according to changing priorities, so as to remain agile.
  • Team coaching. He or she begins by accurately identifying employees’ training needs. Then he defines skills enhancement plans adapted to each profile. He also creates pedagogical content to facilitate the appropriation of new tools by teams. Finally, he or she runs workshops and personalized coaching sessions throughout the roll-out to support the professions on a day-to-day basis.
  • Managing related impacts. The PMO carries out an in-depth audit of upstream/downstream processes potentially affected by digital projects. He also studies all interdependencies with other ongoing projects. By anticipating side-effects, he enables the company to reorganize accordingly.
  • Feedback from the field. Through regular interviews with the business units, post-deployment surveys and leading indicators, the PMO identifies sticking points and provides a summary to decision-makers.

In this way, the PMO combines a strategic approach to project management with a day-to-day role as an agent of change. This dual position makes the PMO an indispensable player in digital transformation programs.

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Why are PMOs important?

The PMO plays a central role in the success of digital transformation programs. Its many roles make it an essential lever of change in the digital transformation process.

Developing a digital strategy for the organization

He uses his 360° vision of the company to draw up a digital transformation roadmap in line with business challenges. He orchestrates the following stages:

  1. Analysis of business challenges: he calls on each business department to identify their value-creation drivers and bottlenecks.
  2. Review of digital use cases: examining potential use cases for new technologies that meet the challenges raised.
  3. Selection of high-ROI opportunities: carries out a cost/benefit analysis to select only those use cases generating a high return on investment.
  4. Translating these use casesinto concrete projects with a scope, deliverables and associated resources.
  5. Prioritization and planning: lastly, all initiatives are sequenced into a global roadmap based on quick wins and inter-project dependencies.

Thanks to this approach involving all stakeholders, the PMO builds a solid, value-creating digital roadmap adapted to the pace of the company.

Converting teams to digital

Thanks to his expertise in change management, the PMO assists each employee in adopting the new tools deployed.

Over and above simple technical training, he or she carries out in-depth work to help the culture evolve towards greater agility and cross-functionality.

The PMO circulates between departments to identify pockets of resistance and respond to teams’ concerns about digital transformation.

Monitor digital projects

The PMO ensures accurate monitoring of digital initiatives thanks to customized dashboards that include :

  • Adoption KPIs to measure the actual use of new tools.
  • Satisfaction KPIs to gauge user experience and identify areas for improvement.
  • Impact KPIs to quantify the business benefits generated and ensure that investments are profitable.

Based on these indicators, PMO reporting enables dynamic management of digital projects. Where necessary, it recommends targeted corrective actions to optimize the benefits of these transformation initiatives.

Driving innovation

The PMO identifies emerging digital innovations (AI, IoT, blockchain, etc.) likely to generate a competitive advantage for the company. He then launches proofs of concept to rapidly test their added value on the ground.

Once proof of benefit has been established, the PMO industrializes and deploys these promising innovations on a large scale within the organization.

Developing digital talent

The PMO identifies the new “tech skills” to be strengthened internally to ensure the success of the digital transformation. It defines the target skills repositories and builds the appropriate training paths (digital and business-specific). In this way, the PMO ensures the development of the expertise needed to master tomorrow’s technologies and remain competitive.

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Heading towards a Chief Digital Officer (CDO)?

With the acceleration of digital transformation, the scope of the PMO is constantly expanding. In addition to traditional project management functions, they are increasingly taking on business and technology responsibilities. Some observers even speak of the emergence of a “PMO 2.0”, with expanded skills.

Ultimately, this rise in maturity suggests a convergence of the PMO towards the profile of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). The latter, often a member of the executive committee, orchestrates the company’s digital vision. This is a strategic position that the PMO can legitimately claim, given the driving role it plays in digital and cultural transformation projects.

It remains to be seen whether this evolution towards the CDO will be achieved by transforming the PMO’s current role or by creating a new dedicated function. But either way, it confirms the critical role played by the PMO in steering the digital transformation of organizations.


This article has shown that the PMO is a key player in the digital transformation of organizations. This profile combines an acute understanding of business issues with proven expertise in change management.

As organizations intensify their technological mutations, the PMO’s position will undoubtedly strengthen. Eventually, a convergence towards the profile of Chief Digital Officer even seems to be taking shape. The ultimate proof, if proof were needed, that the PMO is now inseparable from winning digital strategies, today and even more so tomorrow.

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The success of your digital transformation depends on optimal adoption of digital tools by your teams. Knowmore supports you in this key area with its Digital Adoption Platforms (DAP).

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By merging learning and use within a single digital environment, our platforms ensure that end-users develop their skills over the long term. Your digital transformation takes on its full meaning.

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