»With the introduction of Blue Ant, we have become more efficient and have been able to increase employee satisfaction, too. «
The e-procurement specialist Onventis GmbH from Stuttgart supports purchasing departments and suppliers with efficient and secure procurement solutions from the German cloud.
More than 550 purchasing organizations from industry, service and trade with over 350,000 registered users in 14 languages optimize their entire procurement process worldwide with Onventis cloud procurement solutions. In addition, the BME-certified company offers comprehensive services, process consulting and training programs under the motto "Connecting buyers and suppliers".
We spoke with Tamara Rapp, PMO manager, about the use of Blue Ant at Onventis.
Ms. Rapp, what position do you hold at Onventis GmbH and what are your areas of activity?
I have been working at Onventis for two years, in the PMO, which I helped to set up. I am very involved with Blue Ant, maintaining and developing our system. I am responsible for ensuring that it is optimally structured for employees and projects, I help colleagues with questions and create projects based on project templates. You could say that Blue Ant is the linchpin of my work. I also optimize internal and external processes, try to integrate the direct interfaces and always try to optimize them a little bit. I also take care of various controlling activities, for which my basis is also Blue Ant, and document business processes and work instructions.
What is your company's main focus and what exactly is your daily business?
The Onventis Cloud Procurement Network networks B2B buyers’ and suppliers’ business processes. As a cloud pioneer, Onventis specializes in integrated purchasing processes for medium-sized businesses. We support buyers and suppliers in their operational and strategic procurement. The solution can also be accessed via a mobile app, which can be used to conveniently process orders and approval processes. Our main project business is product development and implementation for the customer.
What are the typical deployment scenarios supported by Blue Ant?
We use Blue Ant especially for the handling of customer projects, i.e. the implementation projects of new customers or existing customer projects. Project managers and employees are typical users. We are also happy to involve our clients in Blue Ant by giving them access and then sharing ToDo lists, project plans and documents. This is very advantageous for cooperation and is an integral part of status meetings.
As I mentioned before, we work with templates, with which we differentiate between projects. We have a very distinct template for implementation projects and smaller templates for existing customer projects. In addition, we use standardized ToDo lists for certain phases, which we can import if required.
We also record absences in Blue Ant and handle holiday planning. The same goes for travel expenses. The practical thing about the project management software is that you can combine everything that happens within a project.
How would you describe the project landscape within Onventis?
We currently support about 160 projects with Blue Ant. The projects are staffed on average by a core team of three to four people, each including a project manager. The scale of the projects varies. However, it can be said that the project landscape has grown very rapidly in recent years.
How do you use Blue Ant in your project work?
First, I create the project. Then, the project plan is discussed with the project manager and the resource and time planning is refined. The project managers also keep constant track of resource and time planning during the course of the project. At the end of the month, performance records must be created and milestones and invoice proposals updated. Our goal is to work in as standardized a manner as possible, and Blue Ant really helps us a lot with this.
What data do you collect with Blue Ant?
The employees record their hours for the projects. In addition, travel costs are recorded either on a time and material basis or as a lump sum. These can be assigned very nicely to the corresponding project in Blue Ant, so that, for example, billable travel expenses are included in the invoice proposals. The costs of external service providers are recorded, too.
Which systems is Blue Ant currently connected to or will it be connected to in the future?
The invoicing currently takes place in Myfactory, on the basis of the performance records that come from project management. The invoice number generated there is manually transferred to the respective Blue Ant invoice proposal.
There are currently no further interfaces to other systems. However, our goal is to connect Blue Ant to an ERP system in the future and also to make use of BIRT's capabilities. In this way we want to make even better use of Blue Ant’s potential.
How has the introduction of Blue Ant affected project management?
First of all, I must mention the initial situation. We were "on a green field" so to speak. There was no professional project management tool. Instead, complicated Excel tables were often used. With Blue Ant, we now have everything from a single source across all projects - from order to invoicing. It facilitates project planning, especially resource management, since all absences are also recorded in Blue Ant. By giving our customers access to the project plan and ToDo lists, there is no need to send files back and forth. With the introduction of Blue Ant, we have not only become more efficient, but have also been able to contribute to increasing employee satisfaction.
What do you recommend to other companies in your industry for the introduction of multi-project management?
I try to keep the system in such a way that each employee has only the views available according to his or her role that he or she needs for or her daily work. They get an introduction from me accordingly. When there are new Blue Ant versions, I look at the features and sort which ones are relevant and useful to us. The employees will then receive information from me about the selected innovations. I would recommend this to other companies as well.
- Weigh up exactly which modules you would like to start with and where the main focus lies in the use. Add more modules later.
- Configure views so that employees only see the content they need so that the system does not seem overloaded and too complicated.
- Appoint a project team that will have enough time for the introduction. In addition, at least one contact person who is always ready and open to questions, even after the event. This will also ensure acceptance.
Thank you very much for talking to us, Ms Rapp!