A Year in the Life: Transforming Project Portfolio Management

We’re extremely fortunate to have a guest blogger today. Etta Wilson, ServiceNow Architect and Administrator at CareFusion, shares her story of transformation with ServiceNow Project Portfolio Management (PPM).

Etta has been with CareFusion since 2011 and it was her own personal experiences that brought her to the company.

Inspired by our recent one-year anniversary launching ServiceNow PPM – which has completely transformed our approach to project portfolio management here at CareFusion – I’d like to share our experiences and encourage additional discussion among like-minded enthusiasts.

First, a little about CareFusion and my own personal journey here.

At CareFusion, we are united in our vision to improve the safety and lower the cost of healthcare for generations to come. Our 16,650 worldwide employees are passionate about healthcare and helping those that deliver it – from the hospital pharmacy to the nursing floor, the operating room to the patient bedside. Even prior to when I joined the company, I was a user of the equipment while I was taking care of my mother – she had Lou Gehrig’s disease. I saw firsthand that the products we develop improved my mom’s quality of life, especially given her devastating illness, so what we do is very close to my heart.

I’m part of the Service Management team, which includes the PMO, Change Control, Internal IT Communications/Collaboration and ServiceNow Design and Administration.  We sit within the IT organization.  Our PMO deals with not just IT projects – we are responsible for many business-level and global projects as well.

What a Difference a Year Makes

Before ServiceNow, we were using Planview. Actually one of the reasons I joined CareFusion was because of my knowledge and experience with this product.  While we had grown the deployment with elements such as capacity, demand, project, financial and resource management, we couldn’t really advance our project portfolio management approach since our service desk was in another tool.  We had no way to fully review capacity or demand of available resources.

ServiceNow was already being used by our Service Desk, so when we received a directive that we were moving from Planview to ServiceNow, I was surprised but welcomed the opportunity to finally have a single system of management and record for IT.

I utilized the Wiki and PPM best practice sessions with ServiceNow to understand available functionality to perform the gap analysis.  An evaluation specifically for PPM was definitely an eye-opener and after a three-day workshop to get immersed, we made the transition – hitting our go-live target in just eleven weeks.

The Power Begins to Shine

As we went live and began using ServiceNow PPM, it became clear that the capabilities within ServiceNow were going to fuel the effectiveness of not only the PMO but the entire enterprise. But it did take about three months for me to really think, “Wow, this is going to be beautiful!” You’ve got to approach a major transformation with your eyes open. Now, I see the ability to truly have an end-to-end solution that’s seamless and automated – a first for us.

I think it’s very important to focus on effective training and consistent adoption. In the early days, we needed to reinforce that everything was done in ServiceNow because it is so closely tied together.

A year later, these fundamental capabilities have transformed the life of a project manager. Instead of managing all the administrative tasks, our team can now focus on managing projects. Productivity has drastically improved.

Effectively Managing Time and Resources

One of the most compelling benefits – which I think is a must-have – is integrating the time and staffing financials into the PPM application. I’m sure there are some readers who view the management of timecards as unnecessary when a formula may get you close, but this integration within ServiceNow allows us to automate, and easily conduct a financial month end close.

I did have to make a change to how we process month end.  Because our Resource Managers approve timecards, the Project Managers had no timecard visibility.  Approvals or adjustments that could impact their project cost could not be reviewed or monitored.

As a result, I moved the entire timecard processing into a scheduled job. Approval flow and adjustments can be made throughout the month cycle. Exchange rates can also be imported. At the end of the month, the scripts run and create the expense lines and expense allocations against the project, portfolio budgets and cost centers automatically.

Putting the Pieces Together

Over the past year, I’ve enjoyed providing input directly to ServiceNow Product Managers as new capabilities are evaluated and with other users at the ServiceNow demo days, SNUG and at Knowledge. Being able to share ideas and lessons learned with developers and architects has raised my excitement for the power of the platform. I can envision the benefits of ServiceNow automating work across IT and even further into the business beyond what we are doing today.

For me, I now see this transformation as similar to a move away from a Microsoft – it is easy to get comfortable using the features provided out of the box. But it is much more rewarding to put together your own model with the pieces that work the best in your enterprise.

When I think of Project Portfolio Management, it’s more than just an application.  It’s a way to conduct the business of IT.

There are several applications and modules in the ServiceNow platform that makeup an end-to-end solution for PPM effort and initiatives.  Over the next few blog items, I will be detailing “PPM with Etta” illustrating our end-to-end solution.

Let’s start with “Submitting an Idea” for a project in the Service Catalog and creating demand using the recently released “Eureka” Demand Management application.

Come join the party and hopefully the information shared will help you develop your own effective and comprehensive PPM platform –it will be fun!

Note: For more information on PPM and to join the ongoing user discussion, please access the ServiceNow Community PPM special interest group (registration required).

Etta Wilson
Etta Wilson is a ServiceNow architect/administrator at CareFusion. You can connect with her via Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ettawilson.

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