LifeWay Ascends into Project Success
About the Company
LifeWay was founded over a 100 years ago to supply Southern Baptist Churches with teaching materials and to supplement local seminaries. Since then, LifeWay has flourished in ministries that reach across the United States and in more than 120 countries around the world through millions of Christian products. LifeWay serves three major customer segments: Christian stores (almost 200 retail stores and an online store), a publishing house of content for churches in both electronic and paper form, and a church supply distribution (which also provides event management services and music composition).
The IT organization at LifeWay is responsible for managing lifeway.com (lifeway’s eCommerce website), other externally facing websites, blogs, mobile applications, as well as the maintenance of the internal systems that support LifeWay’s employees.
Business Opportunity: A change in leadership gives way to a new IT structure
In 2013 LifeWay underwent organizational changes and brought a new CIO on board. LifeWay’s new CIO brought in a renewed mindset to run IT as a business in support of its internal customers. This meant that LifeWay would be shifting to a model where IT would charge individual business units for the IT services provided. To effectively execute this vision and strategy, LifeWay needed a mechanism for accurately measuring IT costs and efforts. This need triggered a search for a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution that would provide:
- An easy way to report on estimated and actual project costs
- Flexibility to group these project costs based on the business units that requested
- The ability to track actual hours against projected work
- A single location to track costs and budgets for both projects and applications
The LifeWay IT team was not satisfied with the complexity of disconnected tools it had in place to address the primary needs. Evaluation of leading project portfolio software solutions began.
Solution: LifeWay IT mission aligns with Innotas
With the goal of transforming the operating model of the IT organization, the LifeWay PMO team consulted with Forrester and Gartner analyst firms for recommendations on a solution with a clear understanding of their goal to accurately collect and report on IT work efforts. After a comprehensive evaluation, LifeWay selected Innotas based on:
- Fully integrated solution providing capabilities to collect and report on all IT work efforts
- Responsive customer service experience throughout the sales cycle
- Rapid implementation approach was well aligned with LifeWay’s need to stand up a new
system in advance of their impending fiscal year budgeting process
Case in Point
We had a competition in December to identify all of the applications that either had duplicate functionality, a less than expected utilization, a higher than expected ongoing support and maintenance expense, applications that were at end of life, applications that were running on unsupported hardware or operating systems and we built a list of the applications we needed to target to move toward end of life and that data and those projects are being tracked in Innotas.
Results: LifeWay tracks its way to success
With full support from senior management, LifeWay IT was able to implement time tracking and see results within 3 weeks of licensing Innotas. Using the implementation manager, LifeWay IT implemented the recommended methodologies and best practices for project and portfolio management within Innotas. By having clear goals defined early in the adoption stages, the team was able to upload large amounts of data and get quick wins - sometimes in as little as a day. This helped the LifeWay team gain support for Innotas and quickly move to the solution as a centralized information source. After five months of using Innotas, LifeWay was able to review budgets against actuals for divisions —providing accurate data on where resources were being allocated.
Projected benefits for the organization include:
- Prioritization of projects with high strategic value
- Clear cost-benefit analysis for decision making
- Reallocation of resources to support divisional needs
The responsiveness of the Innotas implementation team enabled continuous progress and empowered the IT team to have consistency during the critical adoption phase. As a non-profit organization, the LifeWay team realized the value of their investment and was able to gain support from the executive leadership because the benefits were quickly realized.
As a next step, LifeWay plans to implement resource management into their business model as they mature their organization. Their entire PMO will consist of a project plan to be able to streamline processes, metrics and reporting around project management, application portfolio management, ITIL and budgets.
“If you want to prioritize your corporate strategic investment, you need to prioritize the projects in order to maximize your return. Innotas is helping us do that.”
Director of PMO