Project management matters

Automating the process for consistent project management practices across an enterprise makes delivery of products and services more cost-effective.

brainstorm Project management mattersBy Patrick Heske – Copyright Brainstorm & AccTech Systems.
Photo credit: Suzanne Gell, Mariette Landman

Across industries most organisations face exactly the same challenges. They want improved oversight into specific projects and initiatives. They want a deep understanding of what’s going on operationally within the organisation. In parallel they face resource allocation and consumption challenges.

No wonder many project managers sleep so badly at night! The consequences of poor project management are serious. It is inevitable that resources and energy will be squandered where predictable and repeatable methodologies are not followed. Where processes are not consistently followed; customers will experience poor levels of service, projects may be late, budgets over spent and projects may fail completely. This is according to Aldo van Tonder, chief technology officer at AccTech Systems.

Van Tonder believes that many companies apply sound methodologies and disciplines associated with project management. However, whilst this provides a high level view of the inner workings of a project, a deeper understanding is required through the use of an automated project management framework.

Automating the process

“A business without project management is like a braai without meat. Project management is essentially a structured discipline that can be automated by combining knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to deliver projects effectively. This is a critical component of a company’s ability to consistently and efficiently deliver high quality products and services,” he explains.

He says, typically, in an automated project management life-cycle there are four key components: creation, selection, planning and measurement.

At the creation stage, companies are able to develop a business case, cost estimate and benefit forecast to name a few. This determines if the project aligns strategically with the business in its support of its overall strategy and business drivers.

The selection stage focuses on non-bias prioritisation and optimisation processes. Based on best business practices the highest priority projects will be identified. Furthermore it determines which initiative will deliver the quickest return on investment to the business.

The first two stages are typically called portfolio or project pipeline management. The last two stages, planning and measurement are where enterprise project management solutions are positioned. AccTech’s solutions address all four of these steps.

“Using enterprise project management (EPM) software, companies can easily identify tasks that are slipping and cost that are going over or under budget. They can determine if resources are over-utilised, or if specific risks and issues that form part of the project are impacting the initiative,” van Tonder notes.

“Because it is an automated electronic environment all the data is held centrally. AccTech has experience to assist in extracting and presenting that information,” he says.

The Microsoft EPM solutions offered by AccTech Systems cater for any size company; in a multi-branch global distributed or a local centralised environment. Furthermore, many project managers are familiar with Microsoft’s look and feel, so the learning curve is a lot quicker, according to van Tonder.

Cooking up a storm

AccTech has its own individual recipe for taking Microsoft’s EPM solutions to market and that has largely contributed to the division’s success and national and international awards for these solutions. The company has various versions of technologies and pre-configured industry solutions available. This means that companies achieve results with their projects on an evaluation phase, complete with specific reporting capabilities, organisational structures and dashboards, all at a minimal cost.

“Organisations that have taken advantage of this fixed-cost, preconfigured, industry EPM evaluation solution are unanimous in their experience. They find the speed of implementation and business value are fantastic. There are no initial license fees involved for the period of evaluation. In many cases companies already have the licenses but are not aware of it,” he reveals.

“Our latest Microsoft award as Office Deployment Partner of the Year, cements our status as the top deployment partner and recognises the innovation we’ve demonstrated in our industry. Particularly in EPM,” he concludes.

Top 10 Benefits of EPM software

  1. Standardised and automated governance processes
    Companies can define multiple workflows to subject each project to the appropriate governance controls throughout its life-cycle – from proposal to post-implementation.
  2. All project information is in a central repository
    All projects are consolidated in a single repository to improve visibility, insight and control, with repeatable processes as templates to standardise and streamline data collection across the organisation.
  3. Business requirements are prioritised
    Companies can define and prioritise business strategy for an upcoming planning period, and evaluate the competing investments from multiple dimensions.
  4. Projects are aligned with the business
    With EPM software, companies can run optimisation what-if scenarios to identify trade-offs and select the optimal portfolio under varying budgetary and business constraints.
  5. Resources are managed effectively
    Without understanding long-term workloads and capacity, companies can experience inefficient hire-fire cycles, resulting in higher overheads, lost knowledge and poor employee morale.
  6. Geographical collaboration between teams is streamlined
    Helping to ensure that teams share common goals and work together effectively becomes more important as organisations become more geographically and culturally diverse.
  7. Portfolio performance is tracked and measured
    Effectively measuring and tracking projects through out their life-cycle gives companies the visibility to pro-actively identify potential issues, make decisions and improve operational efficiencies.
  8. Companies get more from technology investments
    Microsoft’s EPM software is built on Microsoft Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server and SharePoint services, which allow companies to get the most out of their investments and users have a very short learning curve to contribute data to the EPM solution.
  9. EPM software integrates with other business applications
    EPM software can integrate with General Ledger, HR, ERP, CRM and other line of business solutions.
  10. EPM fast-tracks return on investment
    By enabling increased employee productivity, faster cycle times, reduced costs and improved time management, EPM software provides a positive and sustainable return on investment.