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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

The following are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions. If you do not see your question, require additional information, or wish to describe your own project situation, please use the Questions and Comments form. Or just call us at 310-230-1722. We're always happy to answer questions or discuss a project!

Questions

About PRI Applications – Preliminary Details

How Can I Try Your Applications, and Who Else Is Using Them?

About PRI Applications – Specific Functionality

Integrated Applications

Competition

About Project Remedies

 

Answers

About PRI Applications – Preliminary Details

Q: Do we have to have Remedy to run PRI's applications?
A: Yes. All of PRI's applications run on your existing Remedy Action Request System environment. They leverage your investment in Remedy. NOTE – You do NOT need Remedy for a Web Demo or to use the Project Remedies Sandbox.
Q: Do I need an AR System license for each application user?
A: Yes. But people doing different things need different types of AR System licenses. One client, for example, had 250 people in Network Operations being notified that they had a task, statusing the task, entering their time against the task, and updating the asset list, all from the same task. These people needed write licenses. Another 750 people world-wide were only using our applications for time tracking. All these people needed were no-charge, read-submit licenses.
Q: What is the PRI licensing model?
A: PRI's software licensing model is similar to BMC's. You pay a certain amount for the base bundle on a production server, and a certain amount for the base bundle on a test/development server. ActionProgram Manager and Time Manager have a per-user charge, while ActionPortfolio Manager and Service Manager do not. Our annual maintenance plan is in addition to the software license fees.
Q: Can I integrate PRI's applications with my existing AR System-based applications, so we can use Remedy for project initiation?
A: Yes. That's the whole idea. For example, if you are using Remedy for incident, problem, and change management, and if you also use it for program management, you have all work tasks gathered together in one system – Remedy becomes a central repository for all work. If you also do time-tracking against those project tasks, you are capturing all resource costs within the same system. Now you can see what's happening across all projects, in real time.
Q: How long is the typical implementation?
A: While each one is different, the normal implementation takes between 20 and 30 person-days. We've done it in less than 5 days, and sometimes, more than 30 days are necessary. It normally takes about 20 minutes to upload our software into your existing Remedy environment.
Q: What is the benefit of Remedy-based project management?
A: The ability to effectively manage projects and project costs on an enterprise-wide basis is no longer a nice-to-have: understanding your business and how much it costs is critical to survival. Managers need real time access to accurate information, the ability to generate a comprehensive set of targeted reports, and the confidence that workers are using and updating their project records responsibly. And these days, that functionality has to be Web-based.

Project Remedies' ActionProgram Manager (APM) is the only program management system designed to deliver all of these features within Remedy's powerful Action Request System, allowing you to leverage your experience and investment in the AR System.
Q: Can we use our existing Remedy applications for project initiation?
A: Absolutely. Whatever form(s) you use now can be expanded to add other categories of requests. Using the same type of AR System workflow functionality that you currently use for incidents, problems, and changes can be used for requests that go down the proposed project / active project life-cycle.

How Can I Try Your Applications, and Who Else Is Using Them?

Q: Where can I see your applications?
A: Schedule a web demo or an on-site demo. Call Stan Feinstein at 310-230-1722.
Q: Is there a way that I can try them out for myself?
A: Yes. PRI has a sandbox environment set up just for that purpose. Note: you do not need the Action Request System in order to use our Sandbox. Call Stan for details at 310-230-1722.
Q: Who else is using your applications?
A: PRI's applications are proven, and are running at a diverse group of companies and organizations. The following is a partial list of our clients:

  • International Monetary Fund
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • J.P. Morgan Chase
  • American Honda
  • Callaway Golf
  • Pre-Paid Legal Services
  • Computer Sciences Corporation
  • DaVita
  • GCI Communications (Alaska)
  • Reliance Globalcom Services
  • St. Louis University
  • Stanford University
  • Unilever North America
  • Universal Studios

For a complete client list, please call Stan at 310-230-1722.

About PRI Applications – Specific Functionality

Q: What kind of resource management functionality do you provide?
A: Effective resource management is critical to business success and a healthy bottom line. To that end, it is important to have a system that provides current and comprehensive information on your human resources, their skills, location, commitments, and availability. And, your system must be easy to use so that it can be maintained with minimal work.

Project Remedies' ActionProgram Manager (APM) offers those features and more, and it runs within Remedy's Action Request System, making it scalable and flexible to your business requirements. APM offers resource management reports, including the Resource Utilization report, the Resource Requirements Forecast report, and the User Task Assignment report, each of which can be accessed from within APM or from a browser. You'll have easy access to the right information about the right people at the right time, all in an environment you already have. To learn more about this incredibly powerful and cost-effective solution, please contact us.
Q: How do your applications handle project planning and time tracking? Getting the right information at the right time is always such a pain!
A: Project planning and time tracking applications always seem to speak a different language and use different formats from everything else. Eliminate those headaches! Adding Project Remedies' ActionProgram Manager (APM) to your AR System environment will ensure that your time tracking application integrates smoothly and easily with your other AR System applications.

Information from Help Desk, Asset Management, Change Management, and other key applications can all be fed into APM to give you a comprehensive and accurate picture of how resource time is being spent enterprise-wide. And, you will have the ability to easily generate accurate, robust reports in real time and view them from within APM with the AR System client or from a browser. To learn more about this incredibly powerful and cost-effective solution, please contact us.
Q: Do PRI's applications support Sarbanes-Oxley, and if so, how?
A: Yes. Complying with Sarbanes-Oxley legislation includes implementing pre-defined business processes for both approvals and work. All 3 of PRI's main applications – ActionPortfolio Manager, ActionProgram Manager, and Service Manager – use your existing Remedy environment as a central repository for approvals and work processes.

Service Manager allows users (not the Remedy administrator) to pre-define both approval processes and multi-task work processes, which also makes it easy to report on the number of requests approved and the number completed during any given period. We call these "approval and work templates".

ActionProgram Manager also gives users the ability to pre-define approval templates and work templates, which the approvers use to approve the detailed project plan.

ActionPortfolio Manager allows you to go through a specific life-cycle as well. A proposed project is defined, and using a stage-gate approach, approved, rejected or put on hold. If the proposed project is approved, a detailed project plan can be created in ActionProgram Manager, which is then approved, rejected or put on hold. If the project starts, the tasks are worked, people enter their time against the tasks, and complete the project. Some users have interfaced ActionProgram Manager with their Asset Management System. ActionProgram Manager is the only PM application that interfaces with an asset management system.

Our reporting tools also allow management to easily compile the information needed for reports and audits mandated by the legislation. Our comparative gantt charts also support Sarbanes-Oxley audits by clearly illustrating planned versus actual work performed, in real time.
Q: Can you really give me current project and cost visibility?
A: Yes. There are several important elements to be considered in increasing project and cost visibility, and Project Remedies has taken those elements into consideration in creating ActionProgram Manager (APM). To ensure that the information available is complete, accurate, and current, Project Remedies designed APM to run in Remedy's Action Request System, allowing information from several key business applications to be shared and managed in a central data repository.

Project Remedies designed APM to be administratively light to make it easier for your workers to update their project records frequently and accurately. To get the right information into your hands, APM includes a comprehensive and robust set of charts and reports that can be accessed from within APM or from a browser. Increased visibility provides greater confidence, reduces risk, and increases project predictability. To learn more about this incredibly powerful and cost-effective solution, please contact us.
Q: What kind of service request functionality do you provide?
A: Project Remedies' Service Manager (SM) offers workflow functionality that seamlessly integrates into any of the applications running in Remedy's Action Request System environment.

With SM, the AR System can be used for many additional applications that require more workflow, such as moves/adds/changes, order fulfillment/provisioning, loan applications, and approval processes. With SM, the AR System can handle complex, multi-task processes involving parallel or sequential workflow. These workflow processes can be predefined or created on the fly, using SM's powerful ad hoc task capability. Because Service Manager is Remedy-based, it is adaptable and scalable to meet the unique requirements of your business. To learn more about this incredibly powerful and cost-effective solution, please contact us.
Q: Do your products support order provisioning?
A: Yes. Since the Action Request System is such a powerful development environment, it makes sense to use it for all types of tracking and workflow applications. Order provisioning is an excellent example. Improving customer service levels is always a goal, and being able to tell your customer the status of their order is critical in this relationship. To do this, tracking each step in the fulfillment process of each order makes a great deal of sense.

The Action Request System, supplemented with Service Manager functionality, is a perfect platform for this type of application. With SM, the AR System can handle complex, multi-task processes involving parallel or sequential workflow. Workflow processes (templates) can be predefined. Processes can be customized on the fly with SM's powerful ad hoc task capability. Because Service Manager is Remedy-based, it is adaptable and scalable to meet the unique requirements of your business.
Q: Are PRI's applications used only for IT projects?
A: NO! Our applications can be used for ANY type of project.

Integrated Applications

Q: How can PRI's applications help my company improve quality while reducing costs?
A: To improve quality and reduce costs, both the workflow process and the work performed by different people or teams need to be accurately tracked and analyzed. ActionProgram Manager (APM) includes numbers of features to this end. Templates are management's approved processes for different functions. Of course, the only way to know if your people are performing these processes the way you want them to is to divide the processes into tasks, assign the tasks to individuals or teams, and then to track their performance against the tasks. (If you do this at a project level, you loose the granularity necessary to really know where the people need additional training or where the process can be improved).

In APM, you can define your own demplates. You can even define templates for segments of projects and then combine the segments for a more unique project plan. This functionality allows you to learn from past experiences and develop best practices toward quality control. Improved quality and more efficient, effective project planning ultimately results in a greater project success ration and reduced costs. To learn more, please contact us.
Q: What about bug reporting?
A: Bug Reporting is an integration of your existing help desk and change management applications with ActionProgram Manager, and a good example of the benefits of incorporating program management functionality into your business processes. The flow goes something like this: Bug reports come into the help desk and are categorized as bugs.
  • They are assigned to the Change Control Board (CCB).
  • The CCB looks at it and decides whether it is a change request or a project.
  • If it is a project, it is assigned to Development.
  • The "bug fix project plan template" is used to create a project plan. The plan is approved, and the work starts.
  • The last task in the "bug fix project plan template" is to implement the Fix, which is done in Operations.
  • Workflow is used to automatically create a change request and to notify the responsible person in Operations that there is a new Change Request.
  • He/she implements the bug fix and closes the Change Request. When they do, workflow is used to:
    1. Close the project task.
    2. 2.Since it's the last task, close the project record.
    3. 3.Since the project record is closed, close the original request.
    4. 4.Since the original request is closed, notify the caller that the bug has been fixed.
Very cool. How do you do that with Microsoft Project, Clarity, Mercury, or any other program management system?
Q: Do You Have Something for Managing Scheduled and Unscheduled Asset Outages
A: This is another example of the benefits of incorporating program management functionality into your business processes. This is an integration of BMC's Remedy Asset Management application and ActionProgram Manager. As you probably know, ActionProgram Manager is the only program management system that interfaces with an Asset Management system.

The application assumes that the asset is going to come off-line during off-shift hours, but that the work will be planned to be performed during prime shift hours. It can be actually performed at anytime.

So, how does this work?

A button is added to the Asset form. When clicked, a scheduling form appears that allows the user to define several things:
  • Whether this is a one-time outage or is it re-occurring.
  • When the asset should come off-line: daily, weekly, semi-monthly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.
  • More specific information about this, so for example, you can specify the 3rd Sunday of the quarter at 2PM.
  • The name of the person responsible for the asset.
  • The task template to be used. The task template lists the tasks that need to be performed before the asset comes off-line and the tasks that need to be performed after the asset comes off-line.
With this information, 5 days before the first task is to be performed, the person responsible for the asset is notified. He or she assigns people to each task to be performed.

The task assignments go into each person's Support Console so they can see that they have this work to do. All of the tasks are added to the Related Items tab on the Asset form so management can see a history of what has been done or will be done on this asset.

Most program management systems deal with a planned project start date or a planned project finish date, and then use Critical Path Method scheduling functionality to determine the dates when each task should be performed. What's different about this application is that the "target date", i.e., the date when the task should come off-line, is in the middle of the project. We re-wrote ActionProgram Manager's Critical Path Method date calculator to handle this requirement.

Very cool.
Q: What Do You Provide for Release Management?
A: Release Management is normally an integration between BMC's Remedy Change Management application or a company's home-grown Change Management application, and ActionProgram Manager.

The key question in Release Management is whether or not each of the bug fixes and enhancement requests that make up the release will be finished by the pre-production deployment date. This detail is normally managed in ActionProgram Manager. The work done after the pre-production deployment date to insure that the release doesn't break anything, is managed in Change Management.

Our PRI:Release Details form is part of this application. It keeps track of each request that makes up the release.

Call Stan at 310-230-1722 to schedule a demonstration.

Competition

Q: Does the AR System handle Total Cost Management?
A: Managing total cost involves managing both asset cost and resource cost. In Remedy's IT Infrastructure Suite, the Asset Management module enables you to track and manage asset costs. However, determining resource cost is more involved.

Resources are assigned to tasks and the time they spend on these tasks needs to be tracked. Each time entry needs to be associated with a General Ledger or cost account. Collecting these time entries into one file would make reporting and exporting to your General Ledger system simple and easy.

In an IT organization, people can be assigned tasks from different application sources. The IT Infrastructure Suite's Help Desk and Change Management applications are two of these sources. Project Remedies' ActionProgram Manager (APM) is the third necessary source, because some of the task assignments come from projects.

APM is an integrated program management, resource management, and timekeeping system that lets you bring all resource costs together. Designed for IT projects, APM is administratively light. All types of projects can be managed with APM and these projects can have as many tasks as you would like.

APM's time tracking module is robust. Time spent is entered into each task, and stored in that task as well as in the Universal Time Sheet. APM includes a "time-tracking tab" which can be easily added on to your existing AR System applications. With it, time entries can be made in these applications as well. Time entered in these applications is stored in the applications and also pushed out to the Universal Time Sheet. This makes reporting and exporting to a financial system simple and easy.

APM's time tracking functionality is bi-directional. A person can also go into the Universal Time Sheet, and add time from there. From there, a person can see each of the tasks to which he or she is assigned, and enter their time accordingly. The time is posted to the Universal Time Sheet as well as in the assigned task.

Time can also be entered for maintenance tasks as well as vacation, illness and other activities. With all of the time entered, APM could even be a feed to your Payroll system. To learn more about this incredibly powerful and cost-effective solution, please contact us.
Q: Do Any BMC Applications Include the Functionality Available In ActionPortfolio Manager and ActionProgram Manager?
A: No.

The BMC Product Manager responsible for this area told Stan Feinstein, our President, that PRI's applications fill 3 gaps in BMC's BSM vision: Demand Management, Cost Management and Resource Management. Their ITS suite include a module called Portfolio Management, but it does not do what ActionPortfolio Manager does, and they have nothing like ActionProgram Manager.

Stan was on a sales call with a BMC team when their technical consultant said that Change Management is used for managing projects. Obviously, it all depends on your definition of "managing projects" but aren't you tired of this? Do you use one task to manage a project in your help desk application? Why not use the right tool for the job! By the way, someone recently said that "The difference between project management and portfolio management is that with one, you are doing the work right, while with the other, you are doing the right work."
Q: How do PRI's ActionPortfolio Manager and ActionProgram Manager compare with MS Project and MS Project Server?
A: Well. We provide an ActionProgram Manager / MS Project Comparison document that compares ActionProgram Manager with MS Project and Project Server. MS Project and Project Server do not have the functionality offered by ActionPortfolio Manager. Obviously, a major difference is that our applications run on the AR System while MS Project and all other project management systems do not. The result is that you get all of the benefits of the AR System with our applications, and you don't get these benefits when using MS Project or Project Server or any other project management system.
Q: How do PRI's applications compare with other portfolio and program management systems available on the market?
A: As stated above, with our applications, you get all of the advantages and benefits of running on the AR System. Ours becomes an integrated suite, without the major integration project. With ours, you can incorporate portfolio management and program management functionality into your business processes. With our competitors, you simply cannot. Our applications integrate with an asset management system. Our competitors applications do not. And so on. Running on the AR System offers significant ease-of-use and cost-saving benefits.

About Project Remedies

Q: Do you provide Action Request System Consulting?
A: Do we ever! Since our founding in 1993, Project Remedies has focused on providing quality technical solutions to our clients' business problems. With more than 250 AR System consulting implementations to draw upon, our experience has proven that a quality implementation results from putting together a team of qualified professionals with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Each team is made up of a Sr. Project Manager and at least one Sr. Developer. Our approach is simple - our teams work closely with our clients as business partners. As business partners, we share the common goal: to produce a quality solution, on time and on budget. It's that simple. A quality solution also requires a quality tool, which is why we specialize in Remedy Corporation's AR System.