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Video: Integrated Work Management – The Value of Total Work Management in SharePoint

Many organizations are not getting the full value out of their PPM systems because they are not accounting for all work that affects their project’s resources.  Take a look at this integrated work management video as WorkEngine Solution Specialist Christina Williams walks you through some of the common issues organizations face when total work management is not considered.  Find out how you can extend your SharePoint value by practicing total work management within your organization today.  Click on thumbnail below to view video.

World Leader in Manufacturing Selects WorkEngine for PPM in New Product Development

Congratulations to Vectron International and EPM Live trusted partner PM Providers for implementing a successful WorkEngine PPM Solution for New Product Development!

“WorkEngine was a great choice for us.  We’ve been able to bring project teams together from across the globe and improve collaboration.  Our executives love the ease it has provided to roll up multiple projects at a glance, and the seamless data integration with our other business systems,” said Dave Chandler, Vectron Product Manager.

Vectron International is a world leader in the design and manufacture of Frequency Control, Sensor, and Hybrid Product solutions including crystals and crystal oscillators, frequency translators, clock and data recovery products, Crystal filters and other components used in telecommunications, data communications, frequency synthesizers, timing, navigation, military, aerospace and instrumentation systems.

Headquartered in Hudson, NH and with operating facilities and sales offices in North America, Europe and Asia, Vectron International is known for its technical capabilities in crystal oscillator and SAW filter design. The innovation and capability provided by the company reflects technologically sophisticated integrated solutions.

Vectron’s continued innovation curve is dependent on highly skilled engineering resources with specific domain expertise.  As a result, Vectron’s ability to develop and drive new products and custom applications to market is directly tied to the availability of these valuable and limited engineering skills.  In order to more effectively balance the need for new product development with customer-specific custom orders, Vectron needed a way to understand and model the entire project portfolio with specific focus on product development road-map projects to ensure that adequate resources continued to be focused on future product development.

In addition to developing and tracking the portfolio of projects in the pipeline, Vectron also needed a way to account for production support activities, resource allocations across the portfolio, and actual work accrued against projects across three business lines and four development sites in the US and Europe.  The development of good project scheduling techniques, product development process adherence, enhanced collaboration and communications, and time reporting were essential elements for driving improved performance, accountability, and resource capacity optimization.

Vectron knew they needed to deploy a Project Portfolio Management System (PPM) to address their business challenges but were concerned with introducing too much complexity for employees.  Vectron entrusted PM Providers, an EPM Live partner, to select the ‘right-fit’ PPM solution for their business.  PPM tool selection was a critical step to ensure system acceptance and data integrity.  After evaluating Microsoft Project Server, EPM Live’s WorkEngine, and PM Providers’ EPMLite solutions, Vectron selected WorkEngine as having the right mix of functionality and ease-of use for the organization.

With the WorkEngine Solution Vectron was able to rapidly develop business-centric views of their project portfolio with dynamic, real-time reporting including resource utilization and capacity analytics.  In addition, WorkEngine’s user-friendly timesheets and timesheet compliance reports allowed Vectron to quickly evaluate resource efforts across business units and projects and adjust allocations to meet shifting priorities.  Built on proven Microsoft SharePoint Technology, WorkEngine was clearly the right-fit solution for Vectron International.  Now Vectron is able to effectively monitor and control project resources and direct key staff efforts to strategic roadmap projects without compromising existing customer project support.

EPM Live Welcomes Cambridge Technology Partners to the Partner Program

EPM Live welcomes Swiss based Cambridge Technology Partners to the EPM Live Partner Program. As part of an ongoing effort to serve clients across Europe, Cambridge Technology Partners and EPM Live have partnered to help customers leverage WorkEngine’s end to end Project and Work Management capabilities.

Cambridge Technology Partners was founded in 1991 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and rapidly became a leading consultancy. Today, they are a Swiss company serving a diversified portfolio of upper mid-market and corporate companies from locations in Nyon, Zürich and Basel.

Burn Down Charts – Not Just for Software Development Anymore….

While participating in the recent EPM Live Bootcamp (which was a HUGE success!!), I came across an interesting case study presented by one of our experts that I’d like to share with you. By implementing the Enterprise Cost, Resource, and Work Management capabilities of EPM Live’s WorkEngine product, a prominent telecommunications firm saved over $20M in fines!

Some of the key requirements for this particular WorkEngine Enterprise deployment involved:

  • SAAS solution for the Enterprise Project & Portfolio Management solution
  • Enterprise level Task and Work Management collaboration and reporting
  • Portfolio visibility of all projects, displayed in Gantt views for Projects within SharePoint
  • Enterprise reporting and business intelligence

One of their key work management needs included the need to count the number of Planning, Engineering, and other key tasks by Phase (Not started, In progress, Completed). This data needed to be stored in a time-phased manner so that trends could be graphically displayed in a report. A sample of this report is attached.

For those of you who have been exposed to Agile methodology, you will notice this is very similar to a traditional agile “Burn-Down” report. I found this an interesting approach to leveraging Agile-type reports within a traditional waterfall schedule that was managed within Microsoft Project 2010. Because WorkEngine supports snapshots within their reporting solution, you can create a “Burn-down” or “Burn-up” chart on any SharePoint work items, not just your backlog!! State regulators were so impressed with this reporting method, there are many other vendors that have adopted this same reporting format.

This case study represents how WorkEngine supports true integrated work management to meet all needs across an organization, and provides valuable cost savings!  By implementing WorkEngine Enterprise, the organization avoided millions of dollars in penalties and improved resource efficiency by 40%.

Special thanks to our training department for hosting such a great Bootcamp where all our EPM Live experts could share their knowledge with our customers, partners and internal staff!

EPM Live Rocks the Gartner PPM and IT Governance Summit

Last week EPM Live sponsored the Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit which took place in our very own sunny San Diego.  Our booth was full of excitement as we spent two days demonstrating WorkEngine’s newly enhanced PPM and IT Work Management capabilities.

WorkEngine was recently rated in the new Gartner Marketscope for Project and Portfolio Management Applications so we had a lot to celebrate as we kicked off the conference on Monday afternoon.  WorkEngine, represented as the “SharePoint Answer to PPM”, drew a large audience interested in expanding their underutilized SharePoint collaboration systems into full PPM solutions.

Although SharePoint-based PPM was a hot topic, so was WorkEngine On-Demand.  As Gartner predicted, SaaS solutions are on the rise and we definitely felt the heat as we answered all of the common SaaS questions that circulated the show floor.  PPM online is definitely the new rage and with WorkEngine’s affordable, quick and easy PPM online solution, the response was incredible!

But for those of you who know us well, it can’t be all work and no play.  EPM Live hosted a rockin’ EPM Live concert event in the historic Gaslamp District Monday night to help attendees wind down from the day’s events.  The EPM Live party limo bus escorted conference attendees to and from the event to give everyone the full rock star experience.  The EPM Live band was there to welcome the crowd as we rocked the night away.  EPM Live partners, customers and conference attendees filled the venue and helped make this year’s conference one of the best!  To check out more party pics from the evenings event, click here.  As for the conference, well, it was top notch!  We hope to see you next year!

 

#SharePoint 2010 Tips and Tricks: Upload a File in the Middle of Writing an Announcement

Today I found myself in this predicament:

I was writing a new post in the Announcements list on my project workspace, and I wanted to insert a link to the document I was referencing in the post. But, the document was not already uploaded to my SharePoint Site.
Back in SharePoint 2007, that would mean that I have to go upload the document, and then come back to the announcement, and copy the URL from the location I stored it, and try to remember what I was writing…but for 2010…Microsoft improved the product!
To clarify – posting an Announcement is very simple: Title, Body, Expires (expiration date). But now in 2010, when I click into the “Body” section, a ribbon lights up and I have two tabs: Format Text andInsert.
On the Insert tab, there are four options. Under the Links group, is the new option for 2010: Upload file.

SharePoint 2007 offers Insert Table, Insert Hyperlink (you provide the address), and Insert Image as separate buttons that are activated when you click into the Body field of the Announcement (in Edit mode).

 
The Upload File option is dynamic. It lets you browse to a local directory for the document that you want to upload, and then specify the site location for where you want to store this document as well. The Upload To menu will pull down all the document libraries that you have permission to:
I know it’s a small thing, but I found the addition cool and intuitive.
Other applications for this kind of functionality might be if I just created a new Excel-based report, and wanted to announce the availability of the report to my team.
Or, if we have a new form required for all systems owned by my department, I could blast the news and upload the new file at the same time!
Perhaps I just setup an EPM WorkEngine site, and I want to share my Project Plan presentation with everyone who comes to the site for the first time: right there on the home page in my Announcements list.
There are myriad applications for this time-saving trick. And, really, it’s the sum of efficiencies throughout the day that add up to better productivity as information workers.
I’m pretty happy I found this little trick, and plan to use it next time I have the opportunity.

EPM Live Sets Sail with Carnival Cruise Lines!

This past Memorial Day Holiday the EPM Live corporate office was quiet; however, the Carnival Cruise Ship Paradise was hopping with reggae music and laughter as the EPM Live crew embarked the ship in Long Beach California.  All aboard the Lido Deck!!!  EPM Live has a tight crew of hard working professionals that enjoy each other’s company and will take every chance to fit in a little team building when the opportunity presents itself.  This was our third annual cruise on the Carnival Cruise Ship Paradise with a diverse crew of product development, sales and services staff.

Hosting corporate team events has proven advantageous for EPM Live.  At EPM Live we believe our number one asset is our employees. Without our employees, we could not provide the quality of products and services we are so proud of today.  This cruise offers us the opportunity to show our appreciation for the EPM Live team’s continuous effort.  It is also provides the team with an enjoyable event to enhance the teams’ cooperation, and encourage initiative and leadership traits we value.
Not only are we supporting our employees, but also our Customer!   EPM Live has successfully partnered with Carnival Cruise to deploy WorkEngine and PortfolioEngine to address their work, project and portfolio management needs!  I am looking forward to another year of continued success as our summer release sets sail soon!  Hope to see you on our voyage…

Reporting and Enterprise Reporting: Which SharePoint 2010 Business Intelligence Approach is Best?

Reporting solutions range from complex, technically challenging infrastructure types to simple, ad-hoc reporting from a client-based application. Often, the most difficult aspect of selecting a solution is the process of understanding what the organization really needs.

The success factors of implementation are basically three-fold:

  1. The level of commitment and sponsorship of the project from senior management
  2. The level of business need for creating a BI implementation
  3. The amount and quality of business data available

reference:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_intelligence#Success_factors_of_implementation

In this post, I have analyzed some of the most popular and most common reporting solutions for SharePoint 2010, mentioning both benefits and challenges. An organization may need one, some or all of these reporting solutions to meet their enterprise needs. In practice, all of these solutions are compatible in an infrastructure properly designed with the whole in mind and can be deployed in totality.

Summary of Reporting and Enterprise Reporting Solutions:

SharePoint Reporting Options WorkEngine Reporting Solution Benefits Description
SharePoint Web Part Pages/Dashboard
WorkEngine Chart Web Part Template Pack:
http://kb.epmlive.com/Download50877.aspx
Low-impact to infrastructure
Leverages SharePoint Out of Box web part pages, high flexibility
Commonly tracked project information and will save you valuable time with the ability to place them in any Web Part Zone in your WorkEngine application.
Microsoft Office (Excel, Access) connected directly to a reporting database
WorkEngine Excel Report Packs:
General Instructions for setting up Excel to connect to WorkEngine Reporting Database:
http://kb.epmlive.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50682.aspx
WorkEngine Preconfigured Excel Reports:
http://kb.epmlive.com/Download50894.aspx
WorkEngine Preconfigured Timesheet Reporting:
http://kb.epmlive.com/Download50818.aspx
 
Low-impact to infrastructure (usually little to no change required to setup)
Report design is easily modified and updated
Commonly used Excel based application for managing and reporting
Web-based Microsoft Office (Excel, Access) rendered through SharePoint WorkEngine Excel Report Packs:
General Instructions for setting up Excel to connect to WorkEngine Reporting Database:
http://kb.epmlive.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50682.aspx
WorkEngine Preconfigured Excel Reports:
http://kb.epmlive.com/Download50894.aspx
WorkEngine Preconfigured Timesheet Reporting:
http://kb.epmlive.com/Download50818.aspx
 
Medium-impact to infrastructure, requiring technical resources to implement
Report design is easily modified and updated as organizational changes flow down
Reports are centralized through technical design and maintained as part of the SharePoint farm
Web-based SQL Reporting Services reports stored on SharePoint WorkEngine SSRS Report Pack:
 
http://kb.epmlive.com/Download50815.aspx
 
High-impact to infrastructure, requiring specialized technical resources to implement
Report design is tightly controlled
Reports are centralized through technical design and maintained as part of the SharePoint farm
Reports performance is based on SQL server stability and performance, which can handle millions of rows
Web-based KPIs and dashboards using PerformancePoint in SharePoint Performance Point integration with WorkEngine Reporting Database
WorkEngine Reporting Database Info:  Please review section 7 of our Administration and Configuration Guide.
http://kb.epmlive.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50675.aspx
High-impact to infrastructure, requiring specialized technical resources to implement
Report design is tightly controlled
Reports are centralized through technical design and maintained as part of the SharePoint farm
Reports performance is based on SharePoint server stability and performance, and can handle millions of rows
No end-user training is required to consume the reports, and they are generated automatically

Weigh the technical and organizational challenges, your business requirements and the three success factors mentioned upfront to discover which reporting solution will work best for you.

You can always start with the most simple, extensible option and grow into a more complex solution over time. At the very least, I would recommend to first try the solution with the lowest initial investment (whichever one that is for you) for a period of time, and then do a re-assessment on whether the organization’s business intelligence needs are satisfied.​

WorkEngine's January Tips, Tricks and Best Practices

Need Project Requests?

Use the WorkEngine Project Requests feature to efficiently and effectively capture, classify, evaluate, and appropriately prioritize projects within your organization.  This feature resides at the EPM WorkEngine top level site and serves as a repository for all project requests associated with the project portfolio.  See below for step by step instructions to begin using Project Requests today:
  1. Navigate to the Project Requests list in your EPM Live WorkEngine site collection and select the New Item button.  Complete the fields that are applicable to your request and click the Save button.  Your new project request will be added to the Project Requests list.
  2. Initiate the out of box Project Approval workflow or create your own incorporating your internal processes.
  3. Use one of the many views pre-configured for you to review status and analyze data for project selection.
    1. All ‘Proposed’ projects:
    2. The entire Project Portfolio (i.e., project requests, active projects, etc.).
    3. Detailed Bubble Charts assists in evaluating Risk vs. Strategic Value of proposed as well as active projects.
    4. Upon approval of a Project Request item, create your project workspace with the project data you’ve been adding and updating in the request item throughout the review and approval process.
    5. Your new project workspace is created.
Resource Pool Out of Control?

Use the Build Team feature in WorkEngine to group, sort, and filter the Enterprise Resource Pool to render only the type of resources required for the project.  This feature is ideal for organizations that have large resource pools.  See below for details on how to use this time saving feature.

  1. From your EPM Live project workspace, navigate to Site Settings ànd Build Team and select the Add Users button.
  2. The entire list of resources from the Enterprise Resource Pool will load. From here the Project Manager can group, sort and filter to narrow the list down to render only resources required for the project.  See example below.

Fortune 500 Manufacturing Company Leverages WorkEngine to Build Custom Design for Lean Six Sigma Solution

This client had the need to implement a structured approach to deploy Design for Lean Six Sigma (DfLSS) across new product development (NPD) within their organization.  Leveraging WorkEngine, Microsoft Project Server and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, EPM Live was able to help design, build and adapt this innovative approach to improve and standardize their new product development process.

This WorkEngine solution was intended to achieve an end-to-end deployment process that wouldsignificantly enhance the development of products and services that far exceeded other problem-solving and design approaches.
Six Sigma has been successfully applied to many industries and verticals to help solve business problems and improve product performance, processes, and services.  The concept of DfLSS pertains to delivering a product or service with the defined and intended functionality at the lowest cost and at the Six Sigma quality level.