»In my opinion Blue Ant has everything a company needs for multi-project management support.«
Demag Cranes & Components GmbH is one of the world‘s leading suppliers of industrial cranes, crane components and Demag brand services, as well as port technology with a broad spectrum of semi-automated and automated solutions. Demag Cranes & Components GmbH manufactures in 16 countries on five continents and is represented by its Sales and Service network in over 60 countries. We spoke to Pascale Tarteret, IT controller about the introduction of Blue Ant multi-project management software.
We spoke to Ms Tarteret about her experiences with Blue Ant.
What is your position in Demag Cranes & Components GmbH, and what is your remit Ms Tarteret?
I am responsible for IT controlling at the company, including multi-project management.
Can you describe the project environment at Demag?
We use Blue Ant multi-project management software on a large number of projects, e.g., infrastructure and software projects. These projects usually contain complex tasks across departments, sections or segments, involve more than 20 man-days and/or require an investment of over 50,000 EUR. Smaller projects of over 3 man-days, so-called ‘Service Requests’, and also our maintenance service (daily business) are managed with Blue Ant.
What prompted you to introduce a multi-project management software at Demag Cranes & Components GmbH ?
Before the introduction of Blue Ant there wasn’t enough transparency with regard to status, dependencies and the documentation of IT projects. This was particularly the case when we wanted to view projects across business segments. There was also no strict, company-wide regulation of IT projects. These first had to be uniformly defined, the guidelines for the reporting had to be established and the requirements with which the multi-project management tool should support our projects had to be fixed. At this time, we also didn’t have a company-wide project portfolio to fall back on. Similarly, effective IT resource management was only partly possible. We have now tackled this problem with Blue Ant.
What was the decisive factor governing your decision to go with Blue Ant as a multi project-management software solution?
It is important for us that our project approval processes are shown by the software. We wanted to establish different kinds of projects and use the possibility to access defined templates when creating new projects. In Blue Ant we can, for example save sample projects based on internal company project management standards. As project manager, I can then add relevant items and data. The software should also show project risks, status and phases, the creation of project activities including milestones, and enable the definition and creation of specific reporting formats. Equally important for us in the choice of Blue Ant was the time recording function which Blue Ant offers, and the useful functions for our resource-planning. Every employee can now plan their absence (holidays etc.), refer to the workflow authorization, record operating hours and, when necessary log onto a project, or in the case of part-time work, input regular working days/days off. Other important software requirements for us were the displaying of subjective and objective project progress, the notification of completed tasks and cost estimation (bottom up) as well as comprehensive support. We were further convinced by the relatively inexpensive (taking into account price/performance ratio) company license.
What was the decisive factor governing your decision to go with Blue Ant as a multi-project-management software solution and how did you begin the installation process?
The Enterprise solution is suitable for up to 1.000 users and can be extensively customized in all templates and additional interfaces in existing system landscapes, including web services. So it was exactly what we were looking for. We began implementation in February 2009. First, we did the ProjectShop, which proventis offers on installation. Our project managers were able to refresh and expand their technical and management knowledge, and above all it was possible to get everyone to the same level. We then did the proventis training courses – we decided on the ‘Train the Trainer’ option – with the aim of building a Blue Ant core team in the company, who can pass on their knowledge to their colleagues. All in all, it took a year until the software was completely installed.
How did the staff react to the software?
As is often the case, when you try to standardise something in a large company, you come up against a few challenges. In the first year, the management had to do a lot of persuading, and at times a certain amount of pressure was necessary. The employees’ acceptance increased, the more the initial work changed to a long-term easing of their work burden. We hope to continue our progress with Blue Ant, so that the use of the software will not just apply to specific areas, but will also extend to the whole company.
How has your project work changed since adopting Blue Ant?
We have built up a combined understanding of software-supported multi-project management and achieved consistent working practices for members of staff with just one system.
In what ways could you see Blue Ant being profitably used in other companies?
In my opinion Blue Ant has everything a company needs for multi-project management support. The software is intuitive to use and covers all common project management functions regarding time and resource planning as well as supporting the whole project cycle right up to the billing of the services provided. With the help of Blue Ant’s resource planning, management has a company-wide overview of current staff availability. Blue Ant provides project managers with current, reliable planning data. Blue Ant ‘enforces’ a certain planning and methodology and the development of a common knowledge basis. Another of the software’s strengths is that it can be customiszed to a company’s specific needs and user requirements are taken into account in further software development. The software support provided by proventis is another definite plus.
Do you have a favourite function?
Yes, for my work I find the overview of the completion rates of all the projects including costs in the controlling menu particularly useful.