Telecommunication technology evolves rapidly and the pace of change is matched by increased customer demands. Operators face intense competitive pressure to launch new products and services, but many find that their traditional structures and processes are not built to cope with the pressure. That was the challenge faced by a leading Middle East operator which manages an average of 1,700 projects a year for new products, offers or services.
“We need to constantly provide new services to remain competitive so efficient project management is critical to the success of the company,” says the company manager.
“We run about 1,700 projects a year and it was a challenge to effectively monitor them all. Some project managers were using Microsoft Project and some were using Excel to keep track of projects in their individual areas. This use of disparate systems made it very difficult for the Project Management Organization (PMO) to collect all the information it needed to give a comprehensive overview to senior management. Reporting itself was a problem so it was difficult to know the exact status of each project and make best use of resources. We needed a tool that would enable us to collate all the information in one place and meet tight time-to-market deadlines.”
The operator issued a Request for Proposal to test the project and portfolio management market and since it was an existing customer using hardware and software, Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) was a strong contender. Proof of Concept tests delivered successful results and the impressive market share of PPM was another factor that made it the chosen solution.
PPM is designed to help project managers cope with time, cost and resource management challenges by consolidating project data into one place for better status visibility, improved reporting and more effective forward planning. It includes many different modules and the company currently employs Demand Management, Project Management, Program Management and certain elements of Resource Management. The Demand Management module captures all project and non-project requests so users know who is asking for what and can allocate resources. Stakeholders have a comprehensive picture of past, present and future demands so requests can be prioritized, assigned, viewed and spread across multiple dimensions to identify trends. The Project Management module is designed for easier management of large, geographically dispersed enterprise environments. It integrates project management and process controls to reduce the number of schedule over-runs, so reducing project risks and costs.
The automation feature is central to PPM, the Program Management module eliminates the need for multiple point tools and paper manuals by automating processes for managing scope, risk, quality, budgets and schedules.
Resource Management provides comprehensive resource analysis which includes both strategic and operational activities at any stage of the work lifecycle. It gives a holistic view of where internal or contracted resources are committed and enables managers to respond to changes with a clear understanding of resource capacity and work prioritization.
The customer was assisted by a software and services company, OPTiiM. Headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, with 50+ dedicated consultants, OPTiiM has pioneered the wave of PPM adoption in the region. With over 40 PPM implementations under their belt, its team has the experience required to turn every PPM initiative into a successful story.
OPTiiM assisted in both the process design and the technical implementation of the project and portfolio management solution. OPTiiM also drives innovation in the PPM space by exploring unaddressed business problems and providing adequate automation for them. Some examples are automated master planning, improved mobile reporting, and more.
Currently, the operator has PPM licenses for 1,500 users and the tool is used purely for its UAE operation. Use of PPM started with projects in the IT department and was then extended into the Marketing and Engineering departments and the PMO. PPM starts at the very beginning of the project process when researchers use it to gather the information required to support proposals for possible new projects. Other parts of the organization, such as the tendering section, also use PPM software to capture information in fact any department that needs to follow set processes can benefit from PPM.
PPM now consolidates all necessary data into a single source of information and provides sophisticated dashboards and reporting capabilities to make vital information available to all stakeholders.
“Technically, PPM is state of the art,” comments the manager. “It provides a repository for projects, related documents and any notes and actions related to them. We have instant updates on project status and we also have demand, traceability and tracking mechanisms. We can use it for publicity planning and also for demand forecasting and future planning, because we can see the complexity of new project scopes. This results in proper project execution, project planning and demand management.”
PPM delivers real-time enterprise reporting and support for ad hoc queries so senior management can now be provided with a host of comprehensive reports on which to make business decisions. These include Key Performance Indicator and Service Level Agreement reporting, weekly status and progression reports, demand statistics, demand control reports and pending project management reports. To ensure that information is always up-to-date, PPM also provides auditing functionality, which constantly reminds people to store their data in the system.
“Now we can be much more agile, which enables us to produce services, projects and new products more quickly and efficiently,” says the spokesperson. “The feedback from other departments is that our time-to-market is 40% faster than before we were using PPM. We are also saving money because there is no need to buy multiple tools to store and provide information. An efficiency exercise aimed at optimizing projects also resulted in further savings from a 20% reduction in the workforce.”