Energy company, Total South Africa’s Information Systems (IS) division implements Project Portfolio Office’s cloud-based project portfolio management (PPM) application, PPO, to slash the time spent on project management reporting, reducing it from two and a half days per week to instantaneous, real-time information at any point.
“Total’s IS division took the decision to build a project management office (PMO) in early 2016 due to the fact that it was consistently running a number of technology-related projects,” explains Moeti Senauoa, SAP and business applications manager for Total’s IS division. “We then looked for a tool that would assist the division in consolidating this project-related information for reporting purposes.
“Although six months had been spent on change management with the introduction of our PMO and the correct methodologies were put in place, we still had to employ an external resource to manually collate and distribute paper-based project management reports on a weekly basis. Due to the fact that we have several project managers in our employ, this was a laborious and time-consuming process.”
Led by project owner Senauoa, the IS division performed market research to find a tool that could eliminate this manual reporting process, and encountered PPO. “Our project managers tested the free trial version of PPO and based on this, we then decided to implement the application.
“PPO’s positive attributes included its subscription-based payment model, making it easy for resources on board and off board the tool, as the project portfolio changes,” he continues. “It is also easy to configure, has clear methodologies and allows the IS division to adhere to a project governance model. In fact, PPO has enabled us to increase the number of IS projects compliant with governance since its introduction, due to the tool’s inherent transparency and visibility. As a web-based tool, it can also be used anywhere, at any time.”
Furthermore, the solution has allowed the IS division to do away with the manual reporting process. “As mentioned, this was a key functionality for us,” Senauoa states. “Instead of a dedicated resource spending hours sitting with each project manager, running through every detail, and then needing to physically put together and distribute reports, this process is now completely automated. Not only can we draw reports instantly for our Friday ‘heartbeat’, but real-time information can also be pulled out at any time.
“The rollout of PPO has helped us to move away from the traditional process of updating details just before reports are due, calling for a different type of discipline. Now status is status, always in real time.
“In efficiency terms, this has allowed us to take the two and a half days spent just on reporting – depending on the size of the project team – and cut this down to no time at all.”
According to Senauoa, the fact that the division had already undergone a change management process, and also due to its project managers having had input in the tool’s selection, PPO’s adoption rate was very high.
“PPO is an excellent fit-for-purpose tool, with no unnecessary gimmicks. As a project management partner, Project Portfolio Office is a highly professional company, with a thorough understanding of project managers and their specific needs. I would certainly recommend PPO for any company starting a project management office,” he adds.
And the organisation’s use of PPO is set to grow beyond the IS division. Currently, Total is extending the tool to its technical teams, increasing the user base from 14 to over 70, with more to be loaded. Using a multiple methodology setup, the technical team’s external contractors, such as engineers, will also be given access to PPO on the same instance.
PPO’s enterprise capability is such that it allows multiple teams within the organisation following different process to use a single tool.
“Not only can PPO provide immediately available reports in user-friendly formats, as has been proven with the use of its professional, real-time reporting abilities at Total, it is also able to assist with faster project office administration, compliance and governance,” says Guy Jelley, founder and CEO of Project Portfolio Office. “Any organisation that is battling with paperwork can use PPO to cut through these cumbersome processes for greater visibility into the project portfolio, ultimately allowing it to focus on objectives that build the bottom line.”