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Case Study – 3 Sales Calls and the Quest for a Disciplined Approach

by Stan Feinstein, 6/20/2009

I went on 3 very interesting sales calls recently. They were interesting because, although they were quite different companies in unrelated fields, they all expressed a need for incorporating a disciplined and integrated project and program management approach into their workflow processes.

A Large Health Care Company

The first sales call was at a very large health care company. We met with several directors who report to the CIO. The Remedy developers were not in the meeting. This company uses the BMC IT Service Management suite for Incident, Problem, Change, and Asset Management, and they are implementing BMC's Service Request Manager. They use MS Project Server for managing projects and time tracking. Before the meeting, they said that their pain points were managing costs and resources. They were interested in our approach because it provides a Total Cost Management System in one system, without the major integration project, and because of our Resource Management functionality.

At the meeting, they said that when they talked with Microsoft about this, their Microsoft representative admitted that MS Project Server could not satisfy their needs.

We began demonstrating our ActionProgram Manager application, starting with the request and going down the whole proposed project/active project life-cycle. After about 20 minutes, they realized that another problem they have is that, because MS Project Server is a standalone application, they have no confidence that all of their projects are actually in the system. They have a very high proportion of consultants to employees, and said it was difficult to explain what everyone was doing at any given time. They really liked ActionProgram Manager's Resource Management functionality because it clearly shows how busy their people are, and on which tasks. They also really liked our ability to incorporate portfolio and program management functionality into their business processes. The process supports their goal of a disciplined approach, which is what they realized they needed.

A U.S. Government Agency

The second sales call was at a U.S. Government agency, and the meeting was with managers as well as the Remedy development manager. These people had designed their own applications to better manage their business. They had a customized version of the IT Service Management suite (version 6.5) plus a home-grown service request application that was very cool. Actually, it was Change Management that was customized the most, and the customizations do some of the same things as ActionProgram Manager, except they said that ActionProgram Manager does them better. They liked ActionProgram Manager's ability to plan and schedule projects, to help them coordinate resources and reduce duplication of effort, and APM's time and expense tracking functionality. Since they were process-oriented, they really liked and appreciated the ability to incorporate program management functionality into their business processes, and we discussed how these processes form a disciplined approach for users to follow.

One of the topics they had been discussing prior to our meeting was whether or not to upgrade to ITSM Suite 7x. They wanted to do it to get the newest version of Asset Management and the CMDB, but they didn't want to do it because of the amount of work they'd have to do to upgrade Change Management. After seeing ActionProgram Manager, they realized it would be much easier to incorporate all of what they do in Change Management into APM. They would have a much better solution than if they upgraded to ITSM Suite 7x; they could then drop Change Management, and save more than a few dollars. If and when they upgrade to Version 7x they could also drop using BMC's change management module, and no longer pay maintenance fees for a module that would be replaced by PRI's APM. Plus, they could reassign the Remedy developers to other important development tasks by implementing APM, and reduce their in-house costs for their custom developed solution. Replacing their customized work with APM would also allow them to benefit from new functionality added by the community of PRI users at no extra cost.

A U.S. Federal Government Department

The third sales call was with the Associate CIO for one of the departments in the U.S. Federal Government and several of members of his team. The Operations arm of this Department had licensed an ITSM Suite last year, but this didn't come up until the end of the meeting.

The CIO had 3 specific questions. He wanted to know:

  1. How could we help them implement ITSM (not specifically BMC's ITSM suite) as a disciplined Asset Management approach?
  2. How could we help them implement Activity Based Costing and better understand their costs?
  3. How could we help them implement quality frameworks such as ITIL V3 or Six Sigma?

I described our Demand Management Framework. The CIO said, "Isn't this more detail than I should be interested in?" I said, "No, it isn't", and explained why the DM Framework was the disciplined approach he was looking for.


Why the current interest in a disciplined approach?

Here were 3 sales calls in 3 weeks where "a disciplined approach" was an important concern in ITSM environments. The first organization understood the need for incorporating program management functionality into their workflow processes and how that led to a disciplined approach; the second was suffering from not doing it; and the third organization was looking for a way to do it. At the 3rd organization, we also discussed how this was ITIL V3, and how to incorporate Activity Based Costing into the system.

Maybe implementing a disciplined approach within an ITSM environment is finally being recognized as a realistic way to enforce and automate process, with far less associated risk than trying to change human beings or corporate culture. We have all been there and done that and now it's time for something that works. Improved project and program management will ultimately improve enterprise service management.

In an ITSM environment, PRI's products provide better IT process and project management than any of the alternatives. We automate and integrate project and program management and workflow so you don't have to reinvent that wheel with every new project. You can focus your resources on more immediate and pressing problems, such as working the project. We provide computer-aided project management that enforces discipline through a flexible process framework for end-to-end management of IT/business services – from cradle to grave.

In this economic climate, the jewel is the combination of meeting service levels AND demands for new and improved services, while managing AND reducing IT and enterprise costs and risks.

They were 3 very interesting meetings, indeed.

If you'd like to discuss these issues or if you have similar questions, please call Stan Feinstein at 310-230-1722.