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IT Project Portfolio Management at Formica

An IT Project Portfolio management solution provided by Automation Centre helped Formica to organize and track work across its international business units.

As an industry leader in the development and distribution of surfacing products for both industrial and residential applications, ranging from laminate flooring to construction panels, Formica Corporation faces a high, international demand for its goods.

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Formica Corporation needed a project portfolio management tool for tracking its numerous IT initiatives. Often, the corporation would find itself with overlapping initiatives in different regions including North America, Europe and Asia. With the same burden shouldered by all businesses in a still uncertain economy, to do more with less, Formica Corporation wanted to ensure its resources were being utilized effectively, neither left under-utilized nor burned-out under overloaded demands.

The systems utilized by the business units to manage projects and resources varied from basic tracking applications to spreadsheets. The lack of a common system created difficulties for Formica Corporation in allocating resources effectively.

What Formica Corporation wanted was the ability to view all of their initiatives across regions within a single system, where the status and progress could be monitored easily and resource allocations managed for best results. In addition, the ability to track high level budget requirements for these initiatives was considered a priority.

Choosing TrackerSuite.Net

Formica Corporation approached Automation Centre for a solution. In addition to providing tools for project portfolio management and resource allocation tracking, TrackerSuite.Net possessed several competitive advantages, including its ability to integrate with their existing systems, such as their Lotus Notes platform, and workflow approval functions from mobile devices, including Blackberry smartphones.

Most importantly, TrackerSuite.Net offered Formica Corporation the ability to configure TrackerSuite.Net to their own way of doing things, rather than forcing them to adapt to it as a “vanilla software” solution would. TrackerSuite.Net provided Formica Corporation with the tools they were looking for, delivering superior project portfolio visibility with configurable, color-coded dashboards showing health, progress, budget and workload data. TrackerSuite.Net also delivered a rich status reporting engine that Formica Corporation found particularly valuable, as it uses status reporting “pretty religiously” according to Philip Williams, a project manager with the corporation.

“We like the traffic lights, the red-yellow-green indicators... the ability to click in and look around [inside a status report],” remarked Williams. TrackerSuite.Net also enhanced communication with automated project portfolio newsletters and notifications of project schedule and status changes, milestone achievement and progress. It also provided a central document repository with functions for access control, approval workflow and versioning.

At a workflow level, TrackerSuite.Net provided automated email notifications of task assignments as well as reminders for status report due dates. Through its integration with mobile devices via email, Formica managers could review and approve items using their Blackberry smartphones, including timesheets submitted by their employees.

Moving Forward

Currently, TrackerSuite.Net is being leveraged by Formica Corporation’s business units in North America and Europe, and its use is growing in their Asian offices, for coordinating development projects, assigning tasks, reporting project issues and status reporting. With a central location from which to manage and track their project portfolios and their associated resources, Formica is much better able to manage their resource workloads effectively.

Moving forward, Formica Corporation is considering the use of TrackerSuite.Net in its change management initiatives, and the potential of expanding its use beyond the IT department.

Watch a Demonstration of Program and Project Portfolio Management with TrackerSuite.Net

“We like the traffic lights, the red-yellow-green indicators... the ability to click in and look around [inside a status report],”
Philip Williams, Project Manager

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