Ferris State University

From Traverse City and Dowagiac to the campus in Big Rapids, Ferris State University (FSU) has partnered with community colleges around the State of Michigan to provide learning opportunities for everyone. FSU is the ninth largest and fastest growing university in the State of Michigan and now has a population of over 15,000 students across 19 satellite locations.

In order to meet the demanding growth of its student population and locations, FSU’s IT organization was asked to take on several strategic IT projects to ensure that FSU has the necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of the school, faculty, and students.

Challenge: Creating a single repository for all IT project information while enhancing project transparency

With the IT organization at Ferris State University consisting of only 65 full-time employees, the university did not have a single person in charge of all their IT projects, nor was there a single repository for all project information and details. It was simply hard for the university’s IT department to track all active projects and who was working on them.

As a result, the university had limited transparency across resources, costs, and timelines resulting in significant inefficiencies, including:

  • Limited full-time resources to manage and maintain current infrastructure as well as strategic projects such as a new e-learning application for the university
  • Multiple points of oversight resulting in unclear views of which projects were being addressed by the various resources
  • Lack of transparency resulting in two or more managers working on the same project and duplicate work

In addition to the need for a central project management system, FSU’s IT department had no easy way to report on project costs and resources.

Solution: Innotas Project Portfolio Management delivers critical PPM functionality

Prior to engaging with Innotas, FSU evaluated six PPM solutions, including on-premise and SaaS solutions. All six solutions were reviewed based on their depth and breadth of functionality and ease of use. Innotas PPM was selected as the solution meeting FSU’s high functionality requirements in areas such as:

  • Resource management module for delivering accurate and real-time views of available resources by type and role to staff requests
  • Project workbench for managing and tracking all tasks, milestones, and changes to the projects
  • Request management module for enhancing stage gate approvals and standardized project request forms and criteria
  • Internal IT Dashboards showing both summary and detail data in a visual, easy-to-read format

Results: Improved process efficiency and project communication

The Innotas PPM system enhanced the quality of FSU’s requirements and project requests processes and significantly improved the efficiency in gathering project information. Additionally, Ferris State University was able to achieve the following results:

  • Multiple meetings were reduced to a single monthly gathering which enabled IT managers to focus on project execution and less on administrative tasks
  • Clarity and visibility in the deployment of both resources and project roll-outs resulting in improved customer communication
  • Increased confidence in budgeting and forecasting both costs and timeframes associated with successful work items that the IT staff at Ferris is chartered with completing

"With all projects in one place, managers now know who's working on what in which project, enabling senior management more visibility."

Jim Cook
IT Project Manager
Ferris State University

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