The shortcomings of their current environment became very clear, as explained by the Product Owner: “We had several different instances of Clarity, implemented for different purposes in different business units, with some 10,000 users in total. A majority of users leveraged the system to process timesheet information, whilst others were using it for Portfolio and Resource Management. Due to the different instances and the older versions we had in place, Excel was also heavily used to assist with forecasting models. Our instances were also heavily customized which impacted performance, carried key people risks around how the system worked, and made ongoing changes difficult and slow. Each instance was hosted on its own technology infrastructure which was not the most cost effective model.
End users were inconvenienced by the fragmented system too, jumping in and out of different versions to get slightly different information. It was also time-consuming maintaining multiple records relating to the same initiative. The lack of integration created significant effort to extract and combine different data sets to produce consolidated views.
The system was also unreliable, with regular down-time, and required several dedicated IT resources to fix bugs and keep it running.
The organization saw an opportunity for not just a system change, but a business transformation that would touch much more than just Clarity. It was felt that current processes were designed in isolation, and this limited the organization’s ability to innovate. The organization wanted to introduce a single source of the truth, while redesigning business processes to ensure they were fit for purpose in the current world.
After evaluating multiple PPM offerings from different vendors, Micro Focus PPM was chosen as the solution. The Product Owner set criteria against which all solutions were scored. These included product demos, capability overviews, implementation capability and strategies, and price. “Micro Focus Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) had the functionality we were looking for, and scored considerably over on the evaluation criteria we set. We liked the SaaS offering, which meant we wouldn’t need to maintain a hardware infrastructure, and Micro Focus introduced us to BPM Vision, a knowledgeable implementation partner that we trusted.”
The project was introduced as a major change management initiative, with a phased implementation. BPM Vision ran workshops within the organization to ensure each PPM module was designed to meet the business objectives. The organization implemented the following PPM modules: Resource, Portfolio, Timesheet, Program, Project, Risk and Financial Management, and Demand Management.
Over a 12 month period, the systems were introduced and users were carefully prepared for the move. The implementation team ran over 300 face-to-face training sessions, produced module-specific user guides, quick reference guides, and video tutorials, to suit all individual learning preferences. Near the go-live date, drop-in sessions encouraged early user feedback, and helped optimize processes.
Data migration was a key part of the project. The decisions of what not to migrate was as important as what to migrate. This was a great opportunity to start fresh and the organization did not want to bring across data that either complicated the implementation or added no value. Data was extracted from the CA Clarity system(s) as csv/excel extracts through automated scripts developed by BPM Vision. The data was then massaged using macros to transform into a format recognized by PPM. Individual templates were developed and mapped to extract data into the Projects, Programs, Risks, Issues, Submissions, Financials, and other relevant PPM entities.
Puneet Singh Sodhi, Managing Director for BPM Vision, says: “The idea was to automate the whole process with minimal manual intervention so that all data could be migrated successfully on the cutover weekend. We did a couple of dry runs along with rigorous testing to make sure that the whole data migration was a success over the cutover weekend. This was well received by the user community as it meant they did not need to manually rekey existing data.”
The smooth data migration and the training investment secured a successful adoption from day one, and user feedback was overwhelmingly positive, according to the Product Owner: “Suddenly, people were using one system instead of several. They had enhanced functionality, access to real-time data, and could focus on delivery instead of multiple data entry. We estimate efficiency gains across the organization of 15 percent.”
PPM is integrated with HR and financial systems and a BI tool to create customized instant views for different audiences. The Resource Management module proved particularly helpful, as the Product Owner comments: “PPM Resource Management enabled us to sequence our projects according to resource availability. With many different teams working on projects, without visibility of team backlogs and availability, projects would sometimes grind to a halt. PPM ensures project continuity and helps us plan the right resources being available at the right time.”
Following the PPM introduction, they noticed immediate benefits. “The obvious benefit is that we no longer need to maintain separate hardware infrastructure,” notes Product Owner. “Not only is this an immediate cost saving we have estimated a three year ROI but the SaaS hosting model means we can now easily upgrade and take advantage of new PPM functionality straight away,” he continues.
With no more time spent on maintaining and fixing an ageing system, IT resources were redirected onto added value activities, increasing their job satisfaction and productivity. PPM’s advanced reporting functionality is very helpful to management, as explained by the Product Owner: “Total visibility has been our key benefit in the PPM introduction. We now capture data consistently and in real-time. We have an entire different set of intelligent data that supports faster decision making and helps us with scenario planning. We can ascertain any bottlenecks in projects early on so that we can intervene, or provide additional support without it affecting the successful project outcome.”
He concludes: “We work closely with Micro Focus on new PPM functionality that will help us as we move to more Agile practices. As a member of the Change Advisory Board we can directly influence the product direction, and benefit immediately from new functionality.”