What’s new and interesting in the product portfolio management (PPM) market? I caught up with Bryan Seyforth’s new company, BrightFire, to find out. What I learned is that he’s planning to make PPM more accessible for smaller companies. This is early, but something to watch.
PPM Leader Starting Fresh
I was excited to catch up with Bryan Seyfarth after learning that he started a new company in the portfolio management space. I’ve known Bryan for years as an executive at Sopheon, that he helped become a leader in product portfolio management (PPM) solutions for consumer-oriented companies like food, beverage, and consumer packaged goods (CPG). BrightFire follows in the footsteps of other PPM solutions to help companies better capitalize on their product innovation portfolios to get the most out of their R&D and new product development (NPD) efforts.
Managing Portfolios from Innovation Through Execution
One of the things that struck me about Bryan’s vision for BrightFire is the comprehensive, yet right-sized scope. One of the key areas that many PPM solutions lack is the ability to put innovation decisions into action in the execution phase. As Bryan says, the goal is to support companies “from strategy, to prioritization, to execution.” To do this, Brightfire offers capabilities to help with:
- Strategy/platform governance
- Phase-gate governance
- Portfolio governance
- Resource planning
BrightFire stops short of detailed project and resource management, though, not duplicating functions that many companies already have automated with a project management (PM) tool.
Industry Specialization in Food & Beverage, CPG
Many of the solutions developed to manage portfolio planning and execution are aimed at managing IT portfolios. BrightFire is one of a few solutions that specializes in consumer-oriented portfolio management. Many of the tools and philosophies are the same, but the language and the decisions are different. In fact, BrightFire is based on an existing application called Shibumi. This BrightFire to get a solution to market quickly. But this is where specialization, and Bryan’s experience, provide an advantage. BrighFfire is a configuration of the Shibumi portfolio platform tailored to fit the processes and approaches favored by consumer companies. In fact, Bryan has worked closely with a medium-sized food company to ensure the solution fits the industry needs.
Focus on Smaller Companies
Although most portfolio management companies focus on IT portfolios, there are a number that focus on product portfolios including Sopheon, Planview, and other smaller companies like Strategic Harmony. Each have their sweet spots. BrightFire plans to fill the gap for small to midsized consumer companies. The goal is to lower the barriers to adoption to make the business value of PPM accessible for smaller companies. To do this, they’re leveraging Shibumi’s SaaS platform and making things straightforward. They’re focused on keeping the information model simple enough to help optimize portfolio decisions without weighing the process down. Bryan’s goal is to have something that companies can get started on in 30 days and then evolve over time. Hopefully, this will provide the smaller companies with better decision-making capabilities that previously were mostly available to larger companies.
It’s early days for BrightFire, but they have an experienced leader, industry specialization, a proven technology partner, and a strong vision. We’re excited to see how it progresses. Thank you Bryan for reconnecting and taking the time to fill me in on your plans.
For related content, Jim Brown caught up with Sopheon to learn what it takes to operationalize innovation and how they are supporting “InnovationOps” to take it to the next level.