Telstra's transformation drive begins with Clarity

Who said elephants can’t dance? Telstra is now using a single application for project management across its wider enterprise

Telstra's multi-billion dollar network and IT transformation project is being driven by the successful implementation of an enterprise program management application that even has the marketing department using it for campaign management, according to the company.

Having spent the past 10 years working on developing standard company processes and the past five on IT systems to support it, Telstra's enterprise program management, or EPM, began to flourish only 18 months ago when CA's Clarity project management application was procured to manage projects over the Web.

EPM is managed by the Telstra Program Office which was established two years ago to drive the company's transformation.

Telstra Program Office lead Carolyn Smart said the division not only drives the transformation of IT work but also how programs and projects are managed across the company.

"EPM is a set of processes supported by a tool and we use EPM for all investment, and that's billions including construction, product development, and marketing," Smart said. "We've manged to convince marketing that a marketing campaign is a project, but we just have to pretend it isn't a project."

Telstra's EPM journey may have started as far back as the mid 1990s, but now 18 months after its installation, 3700 people in the organization are using Clarity to manage about 6500 projects.

"We do not see Clarity as a tool that starts in IT and grows, but see it as a tool across the enterprise," Smart said.

In 2002, before Clarity, IT was asked to help the EPM initiative and built an in-house application called BIMS, which had a workflow engine and automated the approvals process. But the world of project management tended to still live separately at Telstra and most project managers continued to use Microsoft Project, Excel, and the occasional Access database.

The decision to purchase Clarity was motivated by the "plethora of projects around the company" and a desire to use an "out of the box" system.

"Clarity has brought EPM to the project level and we have deployed it across all project management levels to find out the truth and health about a project," Smart said. "We had no centralized company resource management at all. We also use Clarity for benefits realization."

In a presentation on how to effectively govern business initiatives across the enterprise at the 2008 CA Expo in Sydney last week, Smart spoke about how projects at Telstra are executed using a standardized business initiative management framework with four "gating points" and there are some standardized activities for tracking and reporting.

With this methodology, whether it's a marketing or IT project the business case is the same. The project and program status reports have a dashboard view for graphical representation of spending and other metrics.

Other parts of the business process performed in Clarity include parts of sales process, business improvement and baseline programs. It takes people through governance activities and provides project lifecycles.

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