City of Portland

City of Portland Improves Communication, Visibility and Demand Processes with Innotas Request Management and Reporting

Known as the “City of Roses,” Portland is Oregon’s most populous city. Located with close proximity to the Pacific Ocean and Mt. Hood, Portland’s public transportation networks, cultural amenities, natural beauty and efficient city planning are reasons that Portland is consistently ranked as one of the most livable communities in the country. With over 2 million residents, the 200 employees of the City of Portland Bureau of Technology Services keep busy providing technology services to more than 30 bureaus including Portland Fire & Rescue, the Portland Housing Bureau, and the Portland Bureau of Transportation. The City of Portland’s Bureau of Technology Services (BTS), which is part of the Office of Management and Finance, acts as a centralized service provider responsible for the management of enterprise technology and the successful execution of large and complex technology projects.

Business Opportunity: Needed a scalable project request process to provide visibility and transparency for effective resource management

As a centralized technology service provider, BTS is responsible for meeting bureau-specific technology needs in addition to providing enterprise services and setting the city’s corporate technology standards.  On the macro level, the BTS lacked an efficient technology governance model to determine which bureau’s projects were most important and should receive resources. On a micro level, BTS had processes and tools in place to handle incoming requests but this “set of band aids” was not scalable as they were mostly built on top of Microsoft Excel, Word, Access and basic web forms. It was cumbersome and inefficient to share the project documents created with these tools across many project managers, functional managers and resource managers as well as the bureaus. Last but not least, project statusesand reporting were outdated by the time the information reached the individual bureaus. Ultimately, BTS found it difficult to accurately provide transparency across the project portfolio and visibility into resource capacity and demand due to the following issues:

  • Informal request management: Lacking a single a comprehensive system, the mixed environment of tools often led to disparate information across systems. This lack of consistency in managing requests frequently resulted in poor visibility, over-commitment and difficulty meeting all of these commitments.
  • Inefficient resource management: There was little transparency into resource capacity, the projects that staff was working on, and poor visibility into which projects were coming down the pipeline.
  • Inferior project reporting: Lacking a centralized, real-time reporting infrastructure, BTS had difficulty getting accurate and current project status information and providing these to its customer and technology management.

The technology management team soon realized that the homegrown tools they were using to manage demand, resource capacity and project requests, were missing essential components such as project management and reporting capabilities. While these tools were a useful first step towards implementing project portfolio management, the time it took to maintain those antiquated systems instead of executing on projects became counter-productive. With the existing tools reaching its limitations and effectiveness, the technology management team knew it was time for a more sophisticated and comprehensive solution for its project portfolio management needs.

Solution: Cloud-based IT project and portfolio management software to replace growing “set of band aids” and deliver functionality for project intake to project completion

Having developed a good framework and process to tackle their technology portfolio and project management needs, The City of Portland’s technology management team knew exactly what their solution requirements and business processes were. During their evaluation process, they relied heavily on research from Gartner, as well as input from partner organizations such as the City of Tacoma and Umpqua Bank (both Innotas customers) that had the Innotas PPM solution in place. After narrowing their selection down to a handful of cloud-based solutions that were top-ranked by Gartner, the City of Portland ultimately chose Innotas for its h4 market recognition, fast time to value, and especially for its well matched functionality, which met the City’s specific requirements, including:

  • Sophisticated request management capabilities with the ability to store and track all aspects of each project, including issue tracking for greater accountability
  • Robust reports and dashboards which allow for easy sharing and more transparency across their organization and with their end users
  • Powerful resource management and scenario planning capabilities for demand and capacity, including task entry for more effective resource allocation and increased productivity

In addition to Innotas PPM capabilities, BTS favored Innotas’ cloud-based solution because of its short implementation cycle as well as the reduced need for maintaining additional infrastructure such as servers and databases, as required with on-premise solutions.

Results: Increased the maturity of its PPM approach while significantly improving communication and transparency with its customers

Innotas’ cloud-based PPM solution has enabled the City of Portland to make better decisions on how to allocate resources and prioritize projects, while holding the technology organization more accountableto their customers and end-users.

  • Consolidated from at least four homegrown systems to a single all-in-one solution covering the entire project request cycle from project intake to project completion
  • Eliminated redundancy of projects tasks and assignments through the use of real-time dashboards and reports for improved rationalization of resource allocation
  • Significantly reduced the time spent gathering data and reporting on project statuses resulting in significant time and resource cost savings
  • Improved communication with bureaus on project statuses, resource availability, project prioritization, and so forth

The City of Portland has been able to use Innotas as its single solution from project inception to completion, allowing for a 360 degree view into the entire technology project portfolio. The Bureau of Technology Services is now able to comfortably report to executive management and the 30 bureaus on the health of their technology investments, as well as provide the project visibility needed to facilitate customer decisions on prioritization.

"With Innotas, we are now able to effectively manage project and resource capacity and demand, allowing us to have transparent conversations with all of our customers regarding the current and future availability of resources. What’s great is that our customers-the bureaus- are also able to see all of the project portfolio including projects from other bureaus, which gives them an idea of the vast number of projects the BTS is responsible for delivering."

Dan Bauer
Manager PMO
City of Portland