Service Firm Improves Resource Utilization
In order to ensure success in today's constantly changing marketplace, companies need to be able to respond quickly to increasing customer demands, seize new business opportunities and stave off competitive threats. Compugen helps medium and large organizations plan, deploy, operate and maintain the robust, reliable, scalable and cost-effective IT environment needed to transform their business processes to achieve the results they need.
With a team of 150 IT workers and responsibility for implementing enterprise solutions, Gerry Skipwith, Vice President of Services for Compugen, needed more information. "I didn't feel like I had my finger on the pulse of our activity and productivity," he said.
Skipwith wanted better information to track resource utilization, especially for his more skilled and valuable resources. Specifically, he needed real-time information combined with the ability to drill into the details of specific projects and individual workers. Unfortunately, all he had was a retrospective roll-up of billable hours for the previous month, and no information about individual resources and projects.
Skipwith enlisted Marty Grosh, his Manager of Enterprise Solutions, to work with him to find a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution. "I recognized that Gerry's goals were higher-order resource management and business analysis," Grosh explained. "But I had an immediate need as well - to lower the administration burden I had in gathering information about my projects." As a manager of 36 project managers and team members, Grosh was spending up to three days at the end of every month gathering information on time-tracking and project status for reporting. "I dreaded month-ends," he admitted.
In analyzing vendor solutions, Skipwith and Grosh quickly realized that a on-demand service model for PPM would serve them best. "The economics are very compelling, especially the low up-front investment and the low cost of maintenance over time," said Skipwith.
They also believed that there was more pressure on on-demand service providers to innovate more quickly, and therefore they expected new features to be delivered more frequently. That expectation has proven true. "Innotas has delivered several additional features in the short time we have been with them. Plus, the deployment of those new features is painless for us," Skipwith added.
Compugen selected Innotas because of its lower overall TCO as well as the integration of all project data and functions in one system, which would facilitate business analysis. Another big reason for choosing Innotas was ease of use. "We were concerned about adoption," said Grosh. "With Innotas, user training is beyond simple. Training users takes one hour and a one-page document."
Implementing the Innotas solution has brought more structure and standards to Compugen's projects, and that has led to high levels of adoption. "I call it a manager's burden, but it is really a tremendous advantage. Managers are forced to think ahead, and plan and create structure in their projects," said Grosh. "Users actually like the structure. They don't have to make up categories and titles for the work they are doing, and they know that their contribution is being tracked accurately."
Several advantages have been realized, with more anticipated moving forward. Grosh has reduced his reporting and administration burden to less than one hour per month. Errors in accounting for time have been reduced dramatically, providing accurate accounting for the work that has been done and is in process. As a professional services organization, this has tremendous impact on reducing the time to bill and collect for services rendered. According to Skipwith, "We believe we can reduce days in AR by half."
More importantly, Skipwith now has the visibility and control he wanted. "I can see how my organization is performing in real time; I can make adjustments as needed, and get involved quickly when there are problems - before they become big problems."
As the solution is extended, Compugen expects to integrate Innotas with its accounting system. Skipwith and Grosh plan to create a skills database in the system, improve project estimating and planning, and allocate resources more stringently. "We've just started," said Grosh, "but we have already achieved our initial goals and realized significant benefit. As we expand use, we only expect to see more."
Founded in 1981, Compugen is one of Canada's largest privately owned and operated IT services providers and PC systems integrators. A private company, with more than 14 offices in North America, Compugen provides practical, real-world solutions and a comprehensive customer-focused portfolio of support services. With a highly qualified technical staff operating from offices in major business centers from coast to coast, Compugen provides a full range of solutions and services to mid- to large-size public and private enterprises. The company celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2006.
"With Innotas I can see how my organization is performing in real time; I can make adjustments as needed, and get involved quickly when there are problems - before they become big problems."
Vice President of Services