BankservAfrica crowned as South African PMO of the Year

The enterprise project management office (ePMO) of BankservAfrica, the largest automated clearing house in Africa, has taken the title of South Africa’s top PMO for 2022, with Altron Karabina, a Microsoft digital transformation partner, being named as runner up.

The South African PMO Awards is an annual competition managed by Project Portfolio Office, a project and portfolio management (PPM) tool and solutions provider committed to growing the project management profession, in order to identify and recognise PMOs in South Africa that are delivering value to their organisations.

Guy Jelley, CEO and co-founder of Project Portfolio Office, explains that the annual awards ceremony identifies and acknowledges excellence in local PMOs. “PMOs play a vital role in the success of organisations, and our South African project offices are world-class. These awards provide an opportunity for home-grown PMOs to showcase their achievements, hard work and perseverance.

“Project Portfolio Office would like to offer our sincere congratulations to BankservAfrica for winning this prestigious award, and for your ePMO’s hard work and perseverance. It is also gratifying to see a user of our cloud-based project portfolio management tool, PPO, excel at the awards.”

BankservAfrica’s ePMO sees swift metamorphosis

Headed up by Dr Clive Enoch, who is no stranger to the PMO awards, having served as a judge in 2018 on the PMO Global Alliance’s (PMGOA) global awards, the BankservAfrica ePMO has undergone rapid transformation over the past 18 months.

Enoch joined BankservAfrica in April 2021, at a point when the PMO, which had originally been set up in 2010, was transitioning from being an emerging project office to one that operates at an enterprise-level (enterprise PMO).

“BankservAfrica’s board had recognised that what was really needed was an ePMO that could look beyond managing projects within one organisation, towards handling industry-level programmes. Thus, in 2021, we brought in different teams to form the ePMO, while at the same time revisiting the existing processes and procedures and coming up with a completely new operating model,” he states.

“A special touch here was the fact that we included capabilities that many PMOs aspire towards, such as portfolio management, change navigation and benefits realisation. This was done with the support of our board and strong advocates at the EXCO level, who all recognised the need for such an ePMO.”

However, this type of transformation meant that Enoch had to make changes and deliver on them very quickly. “We needed to make a rapid impact, instead of evolving more slowly with the organisation,” he notes. “So, within a short space of time, we implemented portfolio management, as well as getting change navigation and benefits realisation off the ground. In addition, we started improving the financial knowledge of our project managers, for a better understanding of operational and capital expenditure, how to budget for projects, and so on.”

It was following an internal maturity assessment that the BankservAfrica ePMO realised the significant progress in maturity that had taken place over a short space of time. “An excellent example of the traction that has been made can be seen in a significant industry programme our ePMO is currently running, for the deployment of a new product to the sector in March 2023, which involves South Africa’s four major banks, with a number of other institutions following soon thereafter. It was for these reasons that we decided to enter the 2022 South African PMO of the Year awards.”

A beneficial process for local PMOs

In his experience as an entrant to the awards this time, Enoch advises that the entire process managed by Project Portfolio Office was very well run. “It was very professional – timelines are well communicated right from the start, and there are plenty of opportunities for the applicants to ask questions and verify how activities will unfold. I wouldn’t expect anything less from an organisation like this.

“In addition, BankservAfrica knew that even if we didn’t win the award, there would still be valuable insight to be gained on future focus areas by undergoing these procedures. And further to this, we also received positive affirmation of where our enterprise project office has been successful thus far.

“As a team going through this process, which was a new experience for our busy MANCO, we were afforded the opportunity to take stock of our own practices and capabilities, and reassess whether we were achieving what we should be.”

This award isn’t necessarily looking for the PMO that has the perfect maturity, Enoch continues, but it encourages an understanding of each one’s unique journey, the innovation it has brought in, how well clients are supported in terms of service, and the type of best practices that are in place.

“PMOs across various industries and companies have a very different complexion. For instance, some businesses have several PMOs operating at many levels, while other organisations, like BankservAfrica, might have one central PMO that serves the entire business. Others still may have a core central competency, but with project managers dispersed across multiple departments or divisions – there’s no one-size-fits-all structure that is required for a PMO, instead, it’s about the story you can tell.

“My advice for South African PMOs considering entering the awards is not to be put off if you haven’t yet achieved your ultimate goal. There will still be huge value in entering, despite your size or level of maturity, as you’ll be able to get a sense of where you are currently, and the feedback from the judges will be valuable for further development.”

After winning the South African PMO of the Year title, BankservAfrica will now be entered into the running for the African PMO of the Year, and then potentially the World PMO of the Year award.

Says Enoch: “Capitec winning the global award recently, as the first local PMO to achieve this, shows that it is indeed possible for a South African PMO to take the global title. By winning the South African PMO of the Year award, BankservAfrica has already proven that we have a PMO of which we can be proud. Winning the award does feel surreal, but amazing.

“The beauty of this competition is that being different is celebrated, making it unlike any other award in this sense,” he adds. “Every PMO needs to continuously look at ways of improving and evolving to meet the needs of their customers and – as in BankservAfrica’s case – the industry. This type of award provides us with a new lifeline to recognise our differences and show how we’re staying relevant.”

“We wish BankservAfrica all the best for the next leg of the global awards. South Africa has historically performed well, and we expect 2023 to continue to prove that our local PMOs operate at an international level,” Jelley concludes.

Interested in gaining both local and global recognition for your South African PMO? Please visit for more information on how to enter or nominate a South African PMO for the 2023 awards.

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