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Sr Manager, Strategy Portfolio Mgmt

| Chicago


Our Grainger business environment requires business functional leaders to thoroughly understand the technology required to operationalize their long term plans. The Strategy Portfolio Manager enables strategic planning by partnering with business stakeholders to translate the functional long term plans into actionable technology roadmaps. This role helps Grainger’s leaders and their teams bring technology forward to create a competitive advantage for how we grow and develop our global organization. This mandate is accomplished through recommendations linked to the organization’s strategy and financial goals, reflecting an awareness of external dynamics. He/She leads and facilitates business and technology leaders to refine functional strategy, create technology roadmaps and translate business roadmaps into specific capabilities and features that align with functional goals and objectives. He/She will also identify and act upon opportunities for continuous improvement. The Strategy Portfolio Manager will report to the Director Strategy Portfolio Management. 

The Strategy Portfolio Manager (SPM) develops a strong understanding of the business function including business drivers and strategies, industry trends, key strategic partner relationships, as well as key business leaders and decision makers, competitive position in the marketplace, etc. The SPM works directly with functional leaders and is seen as a member of their team by positively contributing to the development of the functional strategy and increasing the company’s competitive advantage through gathering and shaping IT and/or Digital requirements to deliver on that strategy. Additionally, the SPM builds, enhances and maintains trusted relationships, strong partnerships and communication at the mid-management level. With those key stakeholders, he/she acts as a trusted advisor to align business and IT and/or Digital strategy.

The SPM provides a primary point of contact with Enterprise Systems and/or the Digital business customers for functional strategic IT and/or Digital needs and points of escalation. The SPM is focused on inspiring, influencing and managing a functional area’s IT and/or Digital demand to ensure the most valuable and effective use of IT and/or Digital investments and resources. Successful engagements result in functional plans that clearly document how scope, timeline and resource investment will be optimized across development objectives as well as align to long term corporate objectives. He/She functions as a technology thought leader and strategic partner with functional business areas. Additionally, he/she mobilizes others to support change through times of stress and uncertainty. This role is responsible for facilitating the planning of the portfolio and programs across business areas and products, leveraging ES and/or Digital production groups, as appropriate.

Strategic Planning and Alignment:

  • Serve as the strategic interface to enterprise business functions for the purpose of aligning business, Digital and IT strategies; providing service management, risk management, and relationship management services; and by helping to ensure the business areas achieve their objectives through the effective and efficient use of products and technology.
  • Create added value to the business function through proactively identifying and advocating IT and/or Digital enabled opportunities to drive growth, improve competitive edge, improve customer experience, and ultimately improve profitability.
  • Assist the business in forecasting, documenting and planning for future needs and translate business strategies into IT and/or Digital development plans and forecasts.
  • Conduct needs and impact analysis on business requests to identify opportunities to link programs, processes, and systems throughout the organization to achieve optimal efficiency. Ensures consistent representation across Product Management, Solutions Engineering & Enterprise Architecture.
  • Collaborate with other IT and/or Digital Business Partners to develop strategies to align business functions where appropriate across the enterprise.
  • Ensure thorough cost-benefit analysis/business cases to support initiatives for assigned operational groups.
  • Identify and create opportunities to collaborate with others across organizational boundaries and geographies to develop innovative solutions and find points for leverage (e.g. services and capabilities that can be shared) and identify potential disconnects.
  • Work with a long-term and cross-organization perspective to fairly and equitably address issues and problems.
  • In digital business and innovation team, this role may also include customer experience journey leadership responsibilities. This includes leadership of cross functional teams, management of customer experience metrics and leadership of product teams accountable for ensuring deliverables and results for specific areas of responsibility

    Global IT and/or Digital Leader:

  • Grainger subsidiary businesses often require the direct support of Corporate ES and Digital resources in order to leverage enterprise solutions, but may also require local solutions with unique scope, complexity and resource requirements. 
  • The Strategy Portfolio Manager will partner with functional teams to identify, define and translate both enterprise and unique requirements into Technology Roadmaps.
  • Documented roadmaps will then facilitate the identification, investment and procurement of the appropriate resources and technology solutions for those businesses.

    Roadmap, Solution Selection & Design:

  • Work with business partners to collaboratively define, shape, articulate and prioritize requirements and business cases for new / changed IT and/or Digital services and develop short to medium term strategic IT and/or Digital enabled roadmaps (typically covering 1 – 2 years) required to support the overall business area/functional strategy, objectives and roadmap.
  • Influence functional leaders, country/regional managers and process owners to ensure the development of business processes and IT and/or Digital solutions meet critical requirements to achieve competitive advantage. Determine critical requirements and resolve conflicts and gaps between local and regional requirements and global IT and/or Digital solutions.
  • Partner with Enterprise Architecture and ES Solutions Engineering functions with insight into the future strategic direction of the business area/unit and ensure visibility of business area IT and/or Digital demand in the IT and/or Digital planning processes.
  • Use periodic feedback and input from Solutions Engineering teams on current production efforts to collaborate with functional partners on consequential adjustments to long term technology plans.
  • Identify business risk associated with IT and/or Digital solutions and services used or planned for use by the business area, ensure level of risk is quantified and that adequate mitigation plans are developed.
  • Through participation in IT and/or Digital Governance committees, ensure overall execution of the project portfolios and capability roadmap realization.
  • Identify opportunities for business, IT and/or Digital experiments and proofs of concept where these might mitigate risk or enable strategic options.
  • Engage and contribute to developing a high performing team within SPM – participate in goal setting, appraising personal performance against team goals, supporting fellow team members in their respective endeavors and seeking ways to enhance the collective teams’ engagement.
  • Comply with IT and/or Digital enterprise governance.

    Service Quality Management:

    • Develop success criteria with business leaders and measure progress of IT and/or Digital initiatives against those factors to ensure business partner alignment on value creation.
    • Monitor progress of IT and/or Digital strategic programs associated with respective business areas in order to ensure: successful implementation, continued development of credibility of IT and/or Digital area, and that solution delivery progress is communicated in a timely manner.
    • Act as key point of contact on planning, budgeting and strategy issues for functional partners.
    • Collaborate across Portfolio Management team to identify potential conflicts or coordination needs across the business functions.
    • Ensure transparency to operational group of new or changing requirements and their impact on IT and/or Digital initiatives.
    • Facilitate monthly performance reviews and gauge overall customer satisfaction with operational group leaders.


    • Exposure to various technical environments and business segments
    • Solid business/financial and technology acumen
    • Solid background in IT and/or Digital service delivery and direct business engagement roles
    • Experience in strategic planning, business development, client management and change management
    • Proven ability to conceptualize, articulate and then translate concepts to strategies and actions
    • Ability to develop conceptual business cases based upon research, market trends and conditions, analytics, etc. and oversee business cases/road maps—develop theme level requirements to appropriately estimate resources, impacts, etc.
    • Knowledgeable in the practices of agile and product management discipline
    • Demonstrates thought leadership in their respective domain area
    • Built, maintained and improved trusted management relationships
    • Led the design and implementation of IT and/or Digital projects
    • Experience with program and portfolio management
    • Knowledge of and experience with external IT partners
    • Participated in the development and deployment of a strategy in a business, Digital or IT function
    • For digital business and innovation team, ability to manage multi-disciplinary teams including research, UX, design, program, etc.

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