Interview: Dan Smith, Enrich Consulting

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith, Vice President

Daniel Smith leads the consulting practice at Enrich, overseeing customization and implementation of EAP to meet our clients’ unique needs. Prior to joining Enrich in 2000, he served as a consultant with Applied Decision Analysis and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Dan holds a graduate certificate in engineering management from the University of Cambridge, an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BSE in mechanical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He believes a company runs on its collective stomach, and in his spare time plots reasons to bring cake into the office.

How did you become involved with portfolio management?

I joined a company with a business practice in portfolio management, primarily multi-attribute decision analysis.

You joined Enrich about 15 years ago. How has the practice of portfolio management in the industry changed over those years?

When we talked to people about portfolio management 15 years ago, we often needed to educate them as to what portfolio management was and why it was useful. These days when we initially speak with people they are already familiar with portfolio management and understand the need.

What are the greatest challenges companies face today in relation to portfolio management?

The greatest challenges have always been, and continue to be, organizational culture. Done properly, portfolio management will re-allocate resources. This affects people’s projects and, in some cases, their jobs, and thus it can be a politically-charged activity. Developing the right processes and approach to making portfolio decisions, communicating the decisions to the rest of the organization and then implementing the decisions effectively is a challenging task.

Tell us about Enrich’s solutions for portfolio management. How do they integrate with a company’s existing systems?

Our software, the Enrich Analytics Platform (EAP), is used to value R&D projects and then use portfolio management techniques to make decisions about those projects. Because EAP is the source of project valuations, it is often linked to other systems to pull data from these systems to contribute to the valuations.

In the course of your work you’ve no doubt come across a company whose implementation of portfolio management is exemplary. Would you tell us what state of the art looks like in portfolio management — what are the things that company is doing right?

The clients who, in our opinion, are enjoying the most success in portfolio management are those who are an integral part of the decision-making activities. A good portfolio process is used to make decisions about projects. A great portfolio process proactively identifies gaps in the portfolio, identifies potential solutions to fill those gaps, and drives the decision-making process to take concrete action as a result.

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