The organization has a long history of growth by merger and acquisition. The company has always been careful not to disrupt business during a period of change and an acquired company could continue to operate their business using the tools that work best for them. As a result, its IT operations have a diverse set of applications and solutions to manage. The organization’s Senior IT Project Manager, explains further: “We support over 100 ERP systems, and it is a challenge to present our leaders with consolidated visibility across the entire portfolio. IT is a key enabler to our business success and at any given time we have many IT projects in progress. These are managed through seven Portfolio Management Organizations (PMO) with tools supporting them in project tracking and reporting.”
One PMO looked for a solution to create a single source of truth in project execution. With contractors booking their hours, timesheets need to be reconciled to submit to vendors, so that all staff involved in a project is paid the right amount at the right time. The team also wanted to improve reporting capabilities, to easily flag when projects are moving off track so that early intervention can be effective.
Market research led to Micro Focus Project and Portfolio Management (PPM). PPM provides real-time visibility into financial performance, from cost forecasts to the capture of actual costs as work is performed. The Senior IT Project Manager comments: “Although PPM has many more capabilities, financial reporting and tracking was our most pressing requirement, and PPM worked very well for this. Soon, we had 2,500 PPM users, managing around 900 IT projects through the solution.”
To support the need for clearer reporting and improved consolidated visibility, the organization introduced integration between PPM and Microsoft PowerBI, to display PPM data by pulling data via secure VPN and stage it locally. Amazon Web Services (AWS) was leveraged for database hosting, to guarantee maximum performance and alerts. An incremental database refresh design proves much more effective than the traditional ‘truncate-reload’ method previously deployed. The data is available 24/7, instead of having to manage a daily 6-hour downtime.
Providing visibility into meaningful data has resulted in dynamic reports with real-time status on Project and Portfolio Management, resource management, and financial management. The Senior IT Project Manager explains: “We created custom reports with project health indicators, such as red, yellow, and green, based on project execution status. This is really helpful for our management reports, especially on our large, strategic projects which represent a high investment for the company. Our reports form the basis of our project status discussions with management.”
PPM also tracks project milestones, supports resource capacity forecasting, and provides full project financials. Many of the PMO teams are geographically distributed, and this solution supports team collaboration with consolidated project visibility. Different teams can filter and drill down into specific project sections.
The comprehensive PPM reporting has caught the attention of other PMOs, according to the Senior IT Project Manager: “Some teams are finding limitations in the tools they use to manage their projects. Overall, we can see that the PMO teams who use PPM tend to execute their projects more effectively. PPM-managed projects don’t go ‘red’, they are delivered on time, and under or against the set budget. We feel the PPM structure and visibility translates into excellent project execution.”
For this large organization, the Senior IT Project Manager is clear that the key to success with reporting is to define global reporting requirements at the onset, and establish a steering committee in charge of reporting change requests. In light of the PPM success within his PMO, the Senior IT Project Manager now demonstrates PPM capabilities to other teams, such as Research and Development, to determine if PPM can add value there as well.
To make PPM a true single source of truth, key integrations need to happen, with the organization’s service management automation solution, as well as Jira, and the financial solutions. Right now though, the Senior IT Project Manager concludes: “PPM gives us a great way to track project execution and resource usage. It helps improve our business processes and governance, and has led to increased team collaboration in our distributed environment.”