IT project management yields savings for energy company

HP's updated software shows IT managers where resources spend their time and why projects get delayed.

Constellation Energy invested in project and portfolio management (PPM) software from HP in part to comply with requirements laid out in Sarbanes-Oxley. In addition to achieving compliance, the integrated energy company reduced repetitive processes and is saving nearly US$1 million annually.

"We were able to implement a standard change management approach and platform across the entire IT landscape, which drove our biggest tangible ROI," says Jeff Johnson, vice president of infrastructure at Constellation Energy. "We didn't need to test each process for every change and we got huge savings when it came to the cost associated with audits."

The Sarbanes-Oxley legislation was just one of three reasons Constellation Energy implement HP PPM Center. To start, Johnson says his group need to apply more "rigor" to the project management process and implementing software designed to ensure IT projects meet pre-set milestones (or provide insight as to why the group may miss have missed deadlines) seemed a logical starting point. "We wanted to apply more realistic scope to the projects and achieve higher success rates with projects that complete on time and on budget," he explains.

Constellation Energy also wanted to more closely align IT efforts with business goals. That may sound like lip service, but Johnson says his team needed to know the projects IT focused on were "driving business value."

As a former Mercury Interactive customer and now an established HP user, Johnson now wants to see the project management data integrated directly into quality testing and IT service management products his company also purchases from HP. "We want a one-stop-shop view of all major IT activities. We have a service desk, a service catalog and project management -- we want to see all the demands on IT in one place," he explains.

Customers such as Constellation Energy drove updates to HP's Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) Center 7.5, according to Ken Cheney, HP Software's director of product marketing. The company added integration between its project management software and HP Service Management Center, for instance, which would show IT managers how resources assigned to specific projects were pulled off those duties to address a customer-facing application performance problem.

"IT managers can see via these integrations what impact a business change might have downstream to the IT environment, and project teams can get visibility into the application or service lifecycle to better understand how resources are used," Cheney explains.

Announced this week, PPM Center 7.5 can be installed on a dedicated server or customers may choose to license the product using HP's software-as-a-service model. The application features a Web-based interface and requires no client software be installed. HP included features that enable IT staff from project managers to help desk technicians to the CIO to create role-based interfaces that show them the data they need to address their questions or complete their assigned tasks.

PPM Center 7.5 is available now and pricing starts at US$30,000.

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