King County

Innotas Helps King County Improve IT Project Prioritization and Selection Process

About the Company

Founded in 1852 with a population of 2.04 million, King County is the largest county in Washington State and the 14th most populous county in the US. King County is located on the eastern shores of beautiful Puget Sound and encompasses 2,131 square miles including large metropolitan cities such as Seattle and Bellevue.

The King County government is responsible for providing regional services to residents that support justice and safety, health and human services, and encourage sustainable economic growth, and environmental sustainability. Of King County’s approximately 13,000 employees, 425 are part of the Department of Information Technology (KCIT), which provides technology services to all departments including legal, public health, jail, elections, and transportation and provides a high-speed network serving the area’s public, education, and government organizations.

In the summer of 2011 KCIT completed a reorganization that laid the structure for a service based IT model which has opened the lines of communication with KCIT’s customers, and has helped county agencies understand IT costs, options, and the value of mobility, modernization, and service maturity. The Project Review Board was established to review projects and provide oversight for an average of 85 active projects with an approximate IT project budget of $250M. As part of the project oversight, the PRB used a home-grown project portfolio management system (PPM) for managing and tracking project information.

Business Opportunity: Lack of support for the custom legacy PPM system led
to difficulty managing and reporting on project data

Although the system met KCIT’s basic requirements, generating reports from the system required specialized software development skills, making it a labor intensive process to extract meaningful project information. This inflexibility was quite challenging for the KCIT team to work with. In addition, they had no standardized method for managing their application portfolio resulting in low visibility in what systems were using which development languages or databases. To help address these challenges KCIT identified opportunities for improvement in the following areas:

  • They needed a method for managing the project portfolio that required minimal time to keep up to date
  • They needed an easier way to modify and generate versatile portfolio reports containing meaningful, actionable information
  • They needed a centralized method for tracking and reporting on key metadata about applications, such as development language and database

To accomplish these goals, KCIT initiated an evaluation of leading Project Portfolio Management solutions

Solution: Adoption of a cloud based project portfolio management software solution to reduce the effort required to manage and report on KCIT’s project portfolio

To help evaluate potential solutions from the leading PPM vendors, KCIT issued a Request for Proposal (RFP). Seven vendors responded to the RFP, and after a thorough selection process KCIT chose Innotas. The evaluation team felt that the Innotas PPM functionality most closely met their requirements and Innotas also provided true application portfolio management. Other factors that contributed to King County’s decision to select Innotas included:

  • A cloud-based application would facilitate a rapid implementation and would ensure that King County was always on the most current release
  • Innotas included a native user interface driven report writer that would enable any user to build and manage reports in the solution.
  • The implementation timeframe and costs were competitive with the other RFP respondents.

Results: Centralized and Accessible Project Portfolio leads to greater transparency and visibility across IT

After completing the Innotas implementation, KCIT has been able to automate and streamline several project portfolio management processes across the organization. Key benefits received to date include:

  • A streamlined process for submitting and evaluating business cases for new project requests has reduced the need to double key information and has created greater transparency into the project review and governance process
  • KCIT now has better holistic visibility into the project portfolio and can quickly identify and take corrective action on projects that may be at risk.
  • Having a standardized method for tracking and managing application metadata would help KCIT accomplish goals of standardization (databases and development languages) and of reducing operational complexity by reducing the overall number of systems that KCIT has to support.

“Innotas allows us to track our progress over time across the portfolio. We have streamlined project status reporting and IT project budget requests, and achieved greater transparency on project status, risks, and budget processing.”

Gary Tripp
Project Review Manager
King County

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