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					                                              Microsoft Office Enterprise Project Management
                                              Customer Solution Case Study




                                              IT Department Delivers on its Business
                                              Objectives with an EPM Solution



Overview                                      “The data we are presenting now is getting
Country or Region: United States
Industry: Professional services
                                              recognition at the highest corporate levels. In time, I
                                              expect the EPM Solution to bring significant business
Customer Profile
Based near Houston, Texas, Administaff
                                              value to the entire organization.”
provides human resources services to          Kevin McKenzie, Manager, Project Portfolio and Standards, Administaff
companies across the United States. It has
1,500 employees, who provide support for      Administaff, a full-service human resources services provider,
more than 100,000 client personnel.
                                              wanted to improve visibility into resource utilization and better align
Business Situation                            resources with business objectives. To support internal operations
In supporting internal operations and
customer applications, the IT department      and core customer applications, the IT department used Microsoft®
lacked visibility demanded by key             Office Project Server 2003. While deploying Project Server 2003,
stakeholders into how its resources were
allocated and the costs of those resources.   Administaff realized that significant value could be realized by
                                              upgrading to Microsoft Office Project Server 2007. The 2007
Solution
After initially selecting Microsoft® Office   release could improve insight into available resources, facilitate
Project Server 2003, Administaff decided      communication between team members, and further reduce cycle
to upgrade to the 2007 release of the
Microsoft Office Enterprise Project           time for large projects. Following the initial test implementation,
Management Solution.                          Administaff plans to fully upgrade to Office Project Server 2007 and
Benefits                                      deploy Microsoft Office Project Portfolio Server 2007 to address
 Improved resource allocation and            critical resource management issues.
  greater visibility
 Increased productivity from better
  collaboration
 Faster cycle time from streamlined
  processes
 Alignment of resources with business
  strategy
Situation                                        example, Administaff is in the process of
Administaff delivers personnel management        upgrading its benefits administration toolset
services to small and mid-sized companies        to offer clients more choice and flexibility.
throughout the United States. Based near         However, “that’s taking a lot of resources
Houston, Texas, the company provides a wide      away from other initiatives like bug fixes and
variety of benefits and services to more than    other small projects. So that’s a tradeoff,”
5,000 client companies and 100,000               says McKenzie.
worksite employees. Services include
benefits management, payroll administration,     While resource contention was a major issue,
government compliance, recruiting, training,     Administaff faced equal difficulty with
and business services. By managing the HR        resource utilization, specifically around
function, Administaff helps its clients focus    tracking the time spent by IT resources in
critical resources on business growth.           supporting key applications. Without accurate
                                                 time tracking, Administaff senior
The success of Administaff depends heavily       management could not calculate the true
on its Enterprise and Technology Services        cost of owning the applications.
(ETS) department, which supports both            Understanding this cost was a fundamental
internal operations and the electronic           driver behind Administaff decisions on
platform (“Employee Service Center”)             whether to make investments in new
underlying Administaff core service offerings.   applications or to retain existing ones. For
As the marketplace evolves, Administaff          Administaff, whose core products are
business divisions rely on ETS to maintain or    supported by such applications, the lack of
improve current functionality and add new        visibility into resource utilization was a
functionality to provide greater value to        fundamental issue.
Administaff customers.
                                                 Solution
To meet these business requirements, ETS         Administaff decided that the best approach
faced continuous challenges in how to            was to first select a methodology, and then
allocate its scarce resources among              choose the right tool for implementing it.
competing initiatives. As Kevin McKenzie,        Accordingly, the company established an
Manager, Project Portfolio and Standards at      Enterprise Project Office (EPO) and adopted
Administaff, says, “There was constant           the “Ten Step” Methodology. Soon after, in
competition for IT resources. We had a lot       late 2005, Administaff formally selected
more good ideas than people who could            Microsoft® Office Project Server 2003 as its
implement those ideas in a reasonable            EPM tool and began full deployment. In
amount of time.”                                 choosing Microsoft, Administaff considered
                                                 other vendors like Primavera Systems but
Resource contention typically revolved           made its decision based on the following
around the conflict between large and small      factors:
projects. McKenzie says, “Almost every year
we have one or two large initiatives that         Trust in the vendor to support Administaff
make us choose between the large initiative       Willingness to invest in future product
and getting a lot of smaller projects done.”       development
Working on the smaller projects was essential     Ratio of price to value of the product
for keeping day-to-day business activities         offering
running smoothly, while executing the larger      Integration with preexisting core
ones was critical for long-term growth. For        applications
“We are moving away                          In early 2006, the ETS group learned of the     push the product out to the business units
                                             new capabilities provided by the 2007           and start capturing their ideas in Project Web
from what I consider an                      release of the Microsoft Office Enterprise      Access proposals and in Microsoft Office
ad hoc model of                              Project Management (EPM) Solution,              Project Portfolio Server 2007 so that they can
                                             including Microsoft Office Project Server       start tracking ideas and we can start
planning where we                            2007. While satisfied with the benefits         centering our prioritizing conversations on the
would initiate a project                     offered by Project Server 2003, the ETS team    captured information.”
                                             realized there was significant value in
without considering the                      upgrading to Office Project Server 2007. This   So far, the testing of the 2007 Microsoft
affect it would have on                      value would come not only from improved         Office EPM Solution is on track. McKenzie
                                             scalability, but also features such as          reports that Project Server 2007 installs
the greater                                  consolidated views of resource allocation and   easily, and commends Microsoft partner
organization.”                               expanded workflow capabilities.                 QuantumPM for helping with a smooth
                                                                                             implementation. He anticipates that the
Kevin McKenzie, Manager, Project Portfolio   “Probably by far the biggest improvement is     transition between Project Server 2003 and
and Standards, Administaff                   the time sheet sophistication—the               Project Server 2007 will be equally smooth.
                                             improvement in time sheet and time-tracking     Once the testing ends, Administaff intends to
                                             compared to the 2003 version,” says             have Project Server 2007 fully deployed to its
                                             McKenzie “And with that goes things like a      IT organization by the end of 2007.
                                             lot more sophisticated workflow and the
                                             ability to route information in a variety of    Benefits
                                             ways. Whoever owns the project, or at least     As implementation of the Microsoft Office
                                             the task, is who will get the approval. The     EPM Solution continues, Administaff expects
                                             2007 release is a lot more flexible on who      improved visibility and control over resource
                                             gets approval, and that’s important to us.”     allocation, ultimately leading to better
                                                                                             business decisions. New collaboration
                                             After assessing Project Server 2007,            features and streamlined project planning will
                                             Administaff chose to become one of the first    boost productivity and reduce cycle time.
                                             Microsoft customers for this product and        Finally, stronger alignment with business
                                             began a test deployment with a partner,         strategy through better project selection will
                                             QuantumPM. The upgrade installation of          focus resources on the right projects, driving
                                             Project Server 2007 will be supported by        long term value for Administaff.
                                             Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007
                                             and the Microsoft Office Project Web Access     Improved Resource Allocation and
                                             client. Staff members who require scheduling    Greater Visibility
                                             capabilities will use Office Project            Sam Larson, the Vice President of Enterprise
                                             Professional 2007, while the majority of the    and Technology Services at Administaff, is
                                             Administaff team will use Office Project Web    determined to ensure that ETS is proactive in
                                             Access to update tasks and initiate project     addressing the needs of clients—both internal
                                             proposals.                                      and external. The Microsoft Office EPM
                                                                                             Solution drives this goal because it offers
                                             Implementing Project Web Access is a major      Larson and his team visibility into how scarce
                                             step for Administaff because it extends the     IT resources are allocated to key business
                                             project management solution from the IT         initiatives. The Reporting Data Services in
                                             department into the business units. “The only   Project Server 2007 will help Larson create
                                             people right now to get benefits from the       customized scorecards and reporting using
                                             solution are the IT groups. I would like to     familiar tools like Microsoft Office Excel®
“As our organization                         spreadsheet software. With a far better            collaboration client or through the SharePoint
                                             understanding of where resources are and           site if it’s something that needs to be
grows and matures,                           what they are doing, Larson and his team are       documented. “A lot of teams will set up
Project Server 2007 and                      able to be proactive and plan for the future.      discussion boards or issue-tracking lists, even
                                                                                                testing lists,” McKenzie says. “So we really
Project Portfolio Server                     Already, the visibility and insights offered by    rely heavily on Windows SharePoint Services
2007 will help manage                        the Microsoft Office EPM Solution are              as our collaboration tool.”
                                             resulting in better budgeting and personnel
our internal project                         decisions. Recently, the IT department             The integration of Project Server 2007 and
portfolio while                              determined that the workload in certain            Windows SharePoint Services is also of value
                                             groups was too high, presenting the options        to Administaff. According to McKenzie, “We
increasing our efficiency                    of either increasing headcount or reducing         have a couple of projects right now where we
and effectiveness ....”                      services provided to customers. Administaff        actually provision the SharePoint site out of
                                             chose to hire more IT employees. As                Project Server. We plan on provisioning
Sam Larson, Vice President, Enterprise and   Administaff eventually upgrades to Project         Project Server sites for every large project.
Technology Solutions, Administaff            Server 2007, these benefits only increase in       This will ensure consistency across sites and
                                             magnitude.                                         allow us to develop a more sophisticated
                                                                                                toolset of SharePoint objects ….” He adds, “I
                                             McKenzie says, “The Microsoft Office EPM           think we’ll do a lot more with this integration.”
                                             Solution is giving us a lot better handle on the
                                             decisions we make. It is helping us move to a      Faster Cycle Time from Streamlined
                                             more strategic project model. We are moving        Processes
                                             away from what I consider an ad hoc model          Projects managed by ETS have widely varying
                                             of planning where we would initiate a project      costs, timelines, and resource requirements.
                                             without considering the effect it would have       Delivering on time is a constant challenge. To
                                             on the greater organization. Instead, our          boost productivity, ETS plans to implement a
                                             more strategic model will help us balance          standardized project-planning model. Project
                                             resources and plan projects more effectively.”     Server 2007 will support this objective by
                                             In addition, the ability to collect and analyze    enabling ETS to implement repeatable
                                             resource allocation data will help the             processes as templates, refine them, and
                                             company make budget adjustments and                capture these improved processes within a
                                             potentially cut operating costs.                   custom Project Guide. In addition, ETS can
                                                                                                develop and apply automated workflows. The
                                             Increased Productivity from Better                 end result will be greater quality, faster cycle
                                             Collaboration                                      times, and lower costs.
                                             The ETS group sees tremendous value in the
                                             collaboration features provided by Project         Despite some concerns internally, ETS
                                             Server 2007 and Microsoft Windows®                 already expects major productivity
                                             SharePoint® Services. These features offer         improvements made possible by
                                             value to project teams in coordinating small,      standardized project planning. “Everyone
                                             ad hoc projects like software updates as well      worries about formalized processes,
                                             as larger, managed projects involving              assuming they extend rather than reduce
                                             multiple business groups. Each SharePoint          time,” McKenzie says. “But I think formalized
                                             site includes issue-tracking and the               processes for certain activities can
                                             documents necessary for the project. Most of       streamline projects significantly.” For
                                             the communication happens through the              example, the IT group has identified several
                                             Microsoft Office Outlook® messaging and            key deliverables common to every large scale
EPO project. McKenzie plans to include those       Although Project Portfolio Server 2007 is not
deliverables on a standard SharePoint site         yet deployed at Administaff, McKenzie looks
provided to each project team. “We can give        forward to using this powerful tool for “what
them the SharePoint site showing all the           if” analysis, to help forecast the results of
deliverables they will need, the plan showing      different project combinations. Already with
at which point the deliverables are due, and       Project Server 2007, McKenzie says, “The
the generic roles needed for creating each         data we are presenting now is getting
deliverable,” McKenzie explains. “Then they        recognition at the highest corporate levels. In
won’t have to reinvent the steps required to       time, I expect Portfolio Server 2007 to bring
create a business case. We are marrying the        significant business value to the entire
deliverables with the tool.”                       organization.”

While helping project team members work            When the ETS group wanted to improve its
faster, standardized project plans also avert      project management, there were four drivers:
key coordination issues with outside               resource contention, resource allocation, the
resources whose efforts affect project             need for EPM methodology, and an EPM
completion. This improved coordination also        toolset. Larson and his team believe they now
means that costs can be assessed sooner            have the tools they need to effectively
rather than later in the project cycle. “We will   address these issues. He says, “We are
build all deliverables in the same way. The        impressed with the evolution of the Microsoft
model will help ensure that we talk to groups      Office EPM Solution. As our organization
like Disaster Recovery and Security at the         grows and matures, Project Server 2007 and
right point, so we don’t have to go back and       Project Portfolio Server 2007 will help
make significant modifications if crucial steps    manage our internal project portfolio while
are left out.”                                     increasing our efficiency and effectiveness
                                                   with internal customers.”
Alignment of Resources with Business
Strategy
Like many organizations, Administaff has
more ideas than resources on board to make
these ideas happen. As a result, Larson and
his team are forced to make hard decisions
on which ideas to pursue. Office Project
Portfolio Server 2007 can help senior
executives like Larson decide which projects
are worth pursuing based on their alignment
with the company’s overall business strategy.
The Optimizer module in Project Portfolio
Server 2007 uses techniques like Efficient
Frontier Modeling to pick the optimal set of
projects given a set of goals and constraints.
Once these projects are chosen, the Cube
Building Service and Dashboard modules of
Project Portfolio Server 2007 can help
Administaff create customized reports for
senior executives to monitor project costs,
risks, and timelines.
For More Information                                            Microsoft Office System
For more information about Microsoft                            Microsoft Office is the business world's
products and services, call the Microsoft                       chosen environment for information work
Sales Information Center at (800) 426-                          that provides the software, servers, and
9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft                             services that help you succeed by
Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-                         transforming information into impact.
2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-
hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone                      For more information about the Microsoft
(TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in                         Office system, go to:
the United States or (905) 568-9641 in                          www.microsoft.com/office
Canada. Outside the 50 United States and
Canada, please contact your local
Microsoft subsidiary. To access information
using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about Administaff
products and services, call (800) 465-
3800 or visit the Web site at:
www.administaff.com




                                                                 Software and Services                            Technologies
                                                                    Microsoft Office                              − Microsoft Office Project Web Access
                                                                     − Microsoft Office Project Professional       − Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services
                                                                       2007
                                                                     − Microsoft Office Project Server 2007    Partners
                                                                                                                  QuantumPM




This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT
MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS
SUMMARY.

Document published October 2006

				
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