#AmazingPM, OutageHawk, project management, solutions

On-Time, On-Budget: a Solution for Smoother Sailing with Planned Outages

If you’re a PM in heavy manufacturing and run into problems staying on-budget or on-schedule with planned floor or plant outages, this post is for you.

Do you find that no matter how meticulously planned your outages are, when you shut down the plant, the realities are, in practice, different from your plans? During a planned outage, rapidly progressing work across a large number of interdependent jobs and tasks can easily take over, causing you to lose sight of your plans. If you’re unable to access the time-critical information  that lets you make informed decisions, if you’re using ad hoc and incomplete collaboration processes, and if your data is residing in disconnected toolsets, it can become impossible to get an accurate view of status and areas of concern. This can result in (dun dun DUN) chronic schedule delays and budget overruns.

The solution, of course, is to make better decisions. How? Centralized, actionable, near-real-time info. Featuring proactive problem-solving in executive meetings, rather than playing catch-up and having to dig around for status. Change the conversation from, “Where are we?” to “This is what we do.”

dotted e OH logoInnovative-e has purpose-built a solution, OutageHawk™, to help project managers take control of planned outages and ensure that the realities of the outage match the plans. OutageHawk™ provides the right tools to the right people.

  • Planners and PMs use Microsoft Project to create schedules.
  • Executives use a summary dashboard with drill-downs that can be used in regular status meetings at any time, from any device.
  • Supervisors use a simple, clear interface to update tasks.

In the next blog post or two, we will detail these tools for the different users of OutageHawk™. For a short overview of what OutageHawk™ is and how it can up your planned outage game, check out this 4-minute video or read more about it on our website. If you’d like to talk to someone about OutageHawk™ or schedule a demo, contact us at info@innovative-e.com.

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#AmazingPM, PPM, project management, PS+, solutions

Time to Take a New Look at Today’s PPM Solutions – Extending Microsoft Project Online, Part 2

In our last blog post, about using market-leading Microsoft-aligned products to enhance the OOTB functionality of Project Online, we talked about the benefits of using these products, and spotlighted a few of such products that your organization might be able touse, or might already be using.

We wanted to mention at greater length another solution that can vastly improve your OOTB Project Online experience to give you #AmazingPM: PS+.5580_CPS_PS-US-Web-Banners-x-2_262x450

PS+ is a pre-configured, best-practice solution to enhance Project Online by improving visibility and transparency into projects and portfolios for decisionmakers, and improving ease-of-use for users. The folks who made PS+ won the 2016 Microsoft Partner of the Year award for this solution, which seamlessly integrates with Project Online to bring better navigation, clearer data for better reporting and analysis, preconfigured templates, and other productivity-boosting features.

Innovative-e is the premier US partner for PS+, which you can test drive for free and with no risk or obligation (drop us an email if you want to know more!).

When examining the PPM solution you have in place, consider PS+ to augment Microsoft Project Online to accelerate your PM, make it easier for stakeholders to look at the big picture, and make it easier for users to use.

Watch the 3-minute video about for a quick overview of what’s now possible with PPM solutions.

#AmazingPM, PPM, project management, PS+, solutions

Time to Take a New Look at Today’s PPM Solutions – Extending Microsoft Project Online, Part 1

In his most recent video, “Time to Take a New Look at Today’s PPM Solutions,” Mike Taylor, President of Innovative-e, talks a little about how using Microsoft Project Online can accelerate your project and portfolio management and free up resources that can then be used elsewhere in your organization. Straight out of the box, Project Online will boost your PPM.

But Project Online can be extended to make your PPM solution even more amazing.

Microsoft-approved and -aligned add-in products can further reduce cost and time to implement and maintain Project Portfolio Management solutions. Core platform capabilities are enhanced with automated best-in-class products that provide a vast array of benefits…

These benefits include:

  • Enhanced user experiences for PMs and users
  • Features like best practice templates based on PMI or Prince2
  • One-click access to all info
  • Simplified organization of projects
  • Utility time-savers like one-click status reports
  • Enhanced data-visualization reporting
  • Improved financial management with near-real-time data mart and trending info and time-phased information

If your PPM integration needs are more advanced, the Project Online platform works with other mature tools and market-leading products, like Oracle, SAP, and others. Integration with other Microsoft products, such as Office 365, is seamless.

New Look Slide 3

 

Regardless of the platform you’re using now to manage your projects and portfolio, Microsoft Project Online – with or without add-ins – can make your project management more efficient and give you a measurable return on your investment.

Watch the video, and reach out to us at info@innovative-e.com to find out more!

 

#AmazingPM, PPM, project management, solutions

Time to Take a New Look at Today’s PPM Solutions – out with the Old, in with the New

In his latest video, “Time to Take a New Look at Today’s PPM Solutions,” Mike Taylor, President of Innovative-e, says:

The latest tools are vastly superior to those of only a few years ago. Roadblocks to success from the past are gone.

What’s changed?

The traditional model of PPM was a solution configured on an organization’s data center in a server farm. This involved purchasing and maintaining servers and software, and the staff to set up and manage both. Expensive both in terms of dollars and resources!

Microsoft’s PPM platform has shifted from costly on-premise solutions to a secure cloud-based platform – Microsoft Project Online – that reduces infrastructure costs and setup/maintenance time. Instant-on infrastructure accelerates the implementation of a solution so organizations can deploy quickly and start realizing ROI faster than they could with on-premise solutions. The win here is obvious – organizations have more money and time to invest elsewhere in their businesses.

Access to a cloud-based PPM platform is fast and simple. Users (executives, PMs, and team-members) can access the platform in a number of ways, from almost any device. Project Online is available, by role, to anyone, anywhere. In a work society that is more globalized than ever, this flexibility that allows stakeholders to access an organization’s PPM platform from anywhere on virtually any device extends organizations’ efficiency and productivity, another clear win.

New Look Slide 2.png

Microsoft Project Online, effective OOTB (out-of-the-box) has some other goodies for PPM professionals, which we’ll be discussing at greater length in our next post. If you want a preview before our next post, be sure to watch the video!

#AmazingPM, adoption, project management, solutions

What you need to know to choose the perfect Microsoft Partner for #AmazingPM

Are you currently considering moving to Project Online? If so, you know such a move can be difficult because of the complexities and risks of adoption. So what do you do? Many companies have found success by using a Microsoft partner to guide their Project Online implementations. But in order to ensure adoption within your organization and an overall #AmazingPM experience, there are a few things to consider before selecting a partner.

If you’re looking for help with a Project Online migration, the best method is to select a partner who will guide you in following these three principles:

  • Start quickly
  • Achieve winnable wins
  • Sustain adoption

Any good partner should help you start quickly so your organization can see returns on your investment soon after you’ve implemented Project Online. Focusing on quick wins helps ensure adoption and growth for your investment.

Innovative-e’s solutions are designed to be successful and provide you an #AmazingPM experience right out of the box. This allows your organization to focus on the tool, and worry about the high-end customizations after the tool has been adopted by stakeholders.

Choosing the right partner to help you implement Project Online for your organization will help you experience #AmazingPM by enabling you to get started on the fly, achieve early wins to share with decision-makers and higher-ups, and encourage widespread and sustainable adoption of your implementation. A good Microsoft partner will step through the entire migration process with you so that you don’t have to worry about the risks of adoption, so you can see demonstrable returns on your investment quickly, and so that your overall project management experience is amazing.

Innovative-e is a Microsoft partner with Gold-level competencies in Project & Portfolio Management, Content & Collaboration, and Application Development. We have a well-established history of guiding organizations across multiple vertical industries migrate to Project Online. Our customers report back positive results from the implementations we’ve helped them with, and consistently give us kudos for providing #AmazingPM results.

Do you want a quick start, fast ROI, and widespread and sustained adoption of your Project Online solution? Do you want #AmazingPM? We’d love to help you! Email us today for your free consultation. You may also qualify for a free half-day or full-day Microsoft-sponsored session.

solutions

Innovative-e launches Outage Hawk™ app at November 7 Microsoft PPM Summit in Chicago, IL

outage-hawkInnovative-e has developed Outage Hawk™, an outage planning and performance management toolset built to leverage the power of Microsoft PPM, to give heavy industry a  better way to plan, manage, analyze, and make more real-time decisions about maintenance and Capex outage projects.

Innovative-e brings their experience with developing solutions for manufacturing and heavy industry customers to Outage Hawk™, which provides tools for greater visibility and insights into planned outages, better and more informed decisions, and an ease-of-use that ensures usability and adoption for the people who are using the tool.

Outage Hawk™ features an interactive dashboard which enables executives, project managers, and line managers to have a clear picture of what is happening during the planned outage operation. Data within the tool is closer to real-time, which allows for better decision-making based more closely on accurate data than on the “gut feelings” of managers. Simple data entry, focused navigation, and role-based job aids make Outage Hawk™ easier to use, which means that people will adopt using the tool.

Outage Hawk™ increases efficiency by enabling executives to make informed, proactive decisions and manage by exception. Project teams are empowered to provide solutions, rather than discoveries, during team meetings. Supervisors spend less time behind a desk quashing problems and more time on the floor overseeing their operations. Outage Hawk™ delivers value by helping heavy industry and manufacturing customers come in on-schedule and under budget by millions of dollars on their planned outage projects. 

Innovative-e is proud to launch Outage Hawk™ at Microsoft’s one-day PPM Summit in Chicago, Illinois, on November 7, 2016. The summit is an opportunity for executives, project managers, and team members to learn about the power of Microsoft Project to achieve business productivity across workloads and industries. At the summit, Microsoft spotlights how its PPM products make project management easier and improve productivity. At the summit, Innovative-e plans to present a session, “Creating an Amazing PM Solution for Heavy Manufacturing – Outage Planning and Performance Management,” and will unveil Outage Hawk™.

Mike Taylor, CEO and President of Innovative-e, said, “We’re very excited to show Outage Hawk™ to the manufacturing and heavy industry community. This toolset brings a huge amount of value to organizations who need to plan and manage scheduled outages. We want to help our customers increase their efficiency, stay on-schedule, and save millions of dollars, and Outage Hawk™ will do that for them like no solution has before.”

project management, solutions

Why Innovative-e loves PS+

We do Project Management for a living… 

This post isn’t a sales pitch…  Yes, Innovative-e is officially the first partner in the U.S. to offer the PS+ product suite.  However, what I’m going to talk about here is why WE love what PS+ does for OUR BUSINESS.

Innovative-e subscribes to the philosophy that we actually use the products that we build solutions upon for our customers.  The core tools we use are in the Microsoft stack, most notably SharePoint and Project/Server/Online.  What I’ll describe here is a few ways that PS+ makes our usage of Project Online a more efficient and satisfying experience.

 Experience and just finding things

Project Online/Server are fantastic tools, but they are built to be completely flexible and customizable.  That flexibility often leads to, well, let’s just say less-than-intuitive ways to do many things.  Microsoft calls these ‘partner opportunities,’ meaning they leave it to the Microsoft Partner community to address these challenges…

The folks at PS+ took these partner opportunities to heart and solved some challenges that project managers often find annoying and time-consuming.  There are dozens of cool things PS+ does, but one of the biggest is vastly improving the user experience.

It is much easier to find information.  For example, all of the PS+ Apps are installed into the default Project page by default (this is customizable).  Another cool feature is the ability to surface most project information right from the Project page.

why we love ps+ pic 1

And the little things

ps+ issues and risksSometimes it’s the little things that make the difference.  I know when I am managing projects, it always seems that there’s no time to do those last-minute, right-before-a big-meeting items that can make a big difference.  One such item is managing and reporting risks and issues.  A great example of this is the Risk to Issue Escalator.

This app addresses the steps to convert a risk to an issue whenever the risk becomes a reality. Before this app, you had to create a new Issue, then copy paste the info from the risk, then go close the risk…  This is a great time saver and makes the risk and issues list much more usable (and therefore meaningful)!

why we love ps+ pic 2

why we love ps+ pic 3

Why PS+ makes project management easier for Innovative-e

In the end, PS+ helps Innovative-e be more efficient and effective managing our projects, which as I said before, is our bread and butter.  The keys to me are:

  1. Greatly improved my user experience, which makes it more likely that I will open Project Online and actually DO my updates in a timely manner. Guess what – this is a fundamental aspect of ADOPTION.  As I stated in my blog on adoption, it is the most important of all.
  2. I find access to information much easier. I can navigate to most projects within a couple of clicks.  This saves a lot of time, which in turn, can be used to provide more meaningful updates/data entry.  At the end of the day, this increases the value of the information in the system.
  3. I love the time-saving tools like the Risk to Issue Escalator. It’s these ‘little things’ that save time and energy when time and energy are in the shortest supply (e.g.,. before a big project review meeting, under a reporting deadline, etc.).  This is the polish that makes me a better project manager and my projects more successful!