Chief Portfolio Officer

The Industry 4.0 Value Chain Change Agent



By Dr Julian Van den Berg (Australia)

Prof Pieter Steyn (South Africa)


Dr. Brane Semolic (Slovenia)

Cranefield College



The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is characterised by increasing digitisation and inter-connection of products, value chains and business models. Competitiveness is improved through collaboration by mustering inter-organisational resources in the form of virtual networks of partners. It leads to profound transformation and change in the paradigms and structuring of modern organisations, demanding the introduction of horizontal supply and value chains overseen by a Chief Portfolio Officer. This shapes organisations into strategic, collaborative, value driven entities where a competitive edge is gained by performing strategic activities more effectively and efficiently.


Petersen and Autry (2014), observe that supply chain management (SCM) scholars are truly at the crossroads of opportunity and stagnation. If integrative knowledge can be expanded and functional biases discarded, then stagnation will be circumvented. In their conclusion they point out that SCM as a new discipline is approaching theoretical, ontological, and methodological crossroads and is rich with opportunity at the same time. Decades ago Forrester (1958) proposed that after a period of research involving basic analytic techniques, pioneering management who are first to improve their understanding of the interrelationships and integration between separate organisation functions, will enjoy an economic advantage.

Steyn (July, 2010) alludes to the importance of a Chief Portfolio Officer (CPO) as a key member of executive leadership. The emergence of Industry 4.0 in 2011 accelerated the demise of bureaucracy and the creation of cross-functionally shaped knowledge-based learning organisation value chains. This transformation and change resulted in organisations structuring their supply chain- and project portfolios cross-functionally, profoundly stimulating the need for the introduction of a CPO. Moreover, it reinforced the need for further research into building a management framework and model to advance the body of knowledge supporting the role of CPO.

It became evident from the literature that the academic discourse on the process of strategy selection renders little agreement amongst various prominent authors in the field. The discourse on strategy implementation through projects, programmes and portfolios also render little agreement. Further investigation into the literature was performed with the intent of describing the dominant approaches to strategy and how these divergent approaches can be grouped and crystallised on a continuum of strategic approaches, as shown in Figure 1 (see more detail in Figures 2, 3, 4 and 5).

Figure 1: The Value Continuum of Portfolio Managed Supply Chain Management Strategy Options. (Adapted: Van den Berg, 2017)

The strategy value continuum describes various artefacts relating to the types of strategic options chosen by organisations. The strategy value continuum also illustrates the moderating factors (moderators) that are believed to be some of the mechanisms that form the main contributors to the cause-effect relationship that leads to many of the alleged organisational failures within the context of a multinational supply chain portfolio. These moderators also have an impact on the supply chain portfolio business models proposed by Steyn (2003, 2010, 2012 and 2013) and Steyn and Semolic (2016) illustrated in Figures 2, 3, 4 and 5.


To read entire paper, click here


How to cite this paper: Van den Berg, J., Steyn, P., Semolic, B. (2018). Chief Portfolio Officer: The Industry 4.0 Value Chain Change Agent, PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue VII – July. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/pmwj72-Jul2018-VandenBerg-Steyn-Semolic-chief-porfolio-officer-industry4.0.pdf

About the Authors

Dr Julian Van den Berg

Executive Consultant, Global IT Manager
and SCM Researcher



Dr Julian Van den Berg has experience working in various IT capacities, supply chain management (SCM), consulting and general management stretching across diverse sectors such as mining, manufacturing, warehousing, retail, banking, pharmaceuticals and education.

Dr Van den Berg began his career in electrical engineering working in an electronics design laboratory developing high-current testing equipment. He changed the focus of his career towards IT and began working as a COBOL programmer. He later moved into the ERP space and worked as an SAP ABAP programmer and later as an SAP functional consultant focussing on SCM applications.

Julian has worked as an upper-level manager in global management capacities for some of the largest multinational organisations in the world directing teams and virtual team structures across numerouscountries. His portfolio of employment also includes working for some of the big 5 consulting firms such as Accenture and Deloitte.

Over the years, Julian has focussed on developing a solid understanding of the supply chain and the various best practices, frameworks, corporate governance and management techniques to ensure business success. His industry exposure, IT and business experience and academic pursuits have provided him with valuable competencies and insights to how different industries function, the interlocking complexities they face, and the team dynamics required to get the job done.

Dr Van den Berg can be contacted at [email protected] or you are welcome to connect on https://www.linkedin.com/in/julianvandenberg


Prof Dr Pieter Steyn

Founder, Director, Principal
Cranefield College of Project and Programme Management
Pretoria & Western Cape, South Africa


Pieter Steyn is Founder and Principal of Cranefield College of Project and Programme Management, a South African Council on Higher Education / Department of Education accredited and registered Private Higher Education Institution. The Institution offers an Advanced Certificate, Advanced Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma, Master’s degree, and PhD in project and programme-based leadership and management. Professor Steyn holds the degrees BSc (Eng), MBA, and PhD in management, and is a registered Professional Engineer.

He was formerly professor in the Department of Management, University of South Africa and Pretoria University Business School. He founded the Production Management Institute of South Africa, and in 1979 pioneered Project Management as a university subject at the post-graduate level at the University of South Africa.

Dr Steyn founded consulting engineering firm Steyn & Van Rensburg (SVR). Projects by SVR include First National Bank Head Office (Bank City), Standard Bank Head Office, Mandela Square Shopping Centre (in Johannesburg) as also, Game City- and The Wheel Shopping Centres (in Durban). He, inter alia, chaired the Commission of Enquiry into the Swaziland Civil Service; and acted as Programme Manager for the Strategic Transformation of the Gauteng Government’s Welfare Department and Corporate Core.

Pieter co-authored the “International Handbook of Production and Operations Management,” (Cassell, London, 1989, ed. Ray Wild) and is the author of many articles and papers on leadership and management. He is a member of the Association of Business Leadership, Industrial Engineering Institute, Engineering Association of South Africa, and Project Management South Africa (PMSA); and a former member of the Research Management Board of IPMA. He serves on the Editorial Board of the PM World Journal. Pieter is also Director of the De Doornkraal Wine Estate in Riversdale, Western Cape.

Professor Steyn can be contacted at [email protected] For information about Cranefield College, visit www.cranefield.ac.za.

To view other works by Prof Steyn, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-pieter-steyn/


Prof Dr Brane Semolic

Founder and Head of LENS Living Lab –
International living laboratory
Celje, Slovenia



Brane Semolic studied mechanical engineering, engineering economics, and informatics; he holds a scientific master degree and doctorate in business informatics. His focus of professional interest is industrial and system engineering, innovation and technology management, virtual organizations and systems, project and knowledge management. He has 40 years of working experiences in different industries (industrial engineering, IT, chemicals, household appliances, government, and education), as an expert, researcher, manager, entrepreneur, counselor to the Slovenian government and professor.  He operates as head of the open research and innovation organization LENS Living Lab. LENS Living Lab is an international industry-driven virtual living laboratory. He is acting as initiator and coordinator of various research and innovation collaboration platforms, programs and projects for the needs of different industries (ICT, robotics, laser additive manufacturing, logistics, education). He was co-founder and the first director of the TCS – Toolmakers Cluster of Slovenia (EU automotive industry suppliers). Since 2004 he is serving as the president of the TCS council of experts. Besides this, he is operating as a part-time professor at the Cranefield College.

He was head of project and information systems laboratory at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Head of the Project & Technology Management Institute at the Faculty of Logistics, University of Maribor and professor of project and technology management at the graduate and postgraduate level. He acted as a trainer at the International »European Project Manager« post-graduated program, organized jointly by the University of Bremen.

He was the co-founder and president of the Project Management Association of Slovenia (ZPM), vice president of IPMA (International Project Management Association), chairman of the IPMA Research Management Board (2005-2012), and technical vice-chairman of ICEC (International Cost Engineering Council).  Now he is serving as a director of the IPMA & ICEC strategic alliance. He actively participated in the development of the IPMA 4-level project managers’ certification program. He introduced and was the first director of the IPMA certification program in Slovenia. He has been serving as the assessor in this certification program since 1997. He performed as assessor in the IPMA International PM Excellence Award Program in China, India, and Slovenia.

He is a registered assessor for the accreditation of education programs and education organizations by the EU-Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

He was a Member of Strategic Advisory Board of European Competitiveness and Innovation, as well as the president of the Slovenian Chamber of Business Services.

He got the award as ICEC Distinguished International Fellow in 2008. He received the »Silver Sign« for his achievements in research, education, and collaboration with the industry from the University of Maribor in 2015.

Professor Semolic is also an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at brane.semolic@3-lab.eu.   Additional information about the LENS Living Lab can be found at http://www.3-lab.eu/ .

To view other works by Prof Semolic, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/brane-semolic/