Sales performance consultancy solutions provider Silent Edge needed an enterprise project management solution to support growing demand for its services. Working with Microsoft Gold Partner Program Framework, it invested in Microsoft Project
Server 2010, having conducted preliminary work with an earlier version. Customer satisfaction is now increasing, with key reports available in seconds that previously took up to four hours. The firm has also seen a significant boost in employee productivity.
Silent Edge is a United Kingdom (U.K.) provider of sales performance consultancy. It uses a unique objective evaluation method based on industry best practice and live selling situations. Founded in 2002 and based in Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent, Silent
Edge counts among its customers the BT Group, Barclays, Siemens, G4S, and Johnson & Johnson.
Over the past 10 years, Silent Edge has expanded the business rapidly as its reputation has grown. The pool of third-party consultants, products, and talent development programmes for sales people has increased, adding to the complexity of planning new initiatives
and managing internal and external resources.
Debbie Grainge, Head of Programme Management Office, Silent Edge, says: “Our existing enterprise resource planning system was complex and inadequate for the changing needs of the business. We were struggling to get the right resources to the right place
at the right time.
“At my previous company—before I joined Silent Edge—I’d used earlier versions of Microsoft Project Server. I also spent some time using Microsoft Visual Basic to show how an application can extract information from Microsoft Project Server.”
The preliminary work done by Grainge persuaded her that Silent Edge needed a single, integrated project and portfolio management server to replace many tasks previously completed manually. She says: “The ideal solution would design, capture, select, and
help deliver the right projects as well as giving senior managers greater visibility of performance. We also needed a toolset that could schedule sales skills development workshops to maximise resources and avoid overstaffing.”
Working with Microsoft Partner Program Framework, Silent Edge chose an enterprise project management solution using a combination of Project Server 2010, with supporting technologies including Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2
data management software, and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services. Excel Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 is also part of the solution.
Project Server 2010 is at the heart of the solution, simplifying time and status reporting by intuitively creating reports and easily building powerful dashboards. Users can choose from preconfigured and localised best practice report templates. Silent Edge
is using Project Server 2010 extensively and is rolling out the solution over 12 months. It currently uses the cloud-based information solution Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and plans to upgrade to Microsoft SQL Server 2012.
James Butler, Head of Client Services, Program Framework, says: “We could see that Silent Edge required a unified project and portfolio management system to support its delivery processes. Project Server 2010 fulfilled that need by helping the business get
more value out of its existing management information.”
Program Framework not only delivered the solution, but played a key role in changing the culture of the organisation in adapting to new ways of working. Previously, resource allocation, especially of external consultants, relied on particular individuals.
Butler says: “We have given Silent Edge guidance on best practice use of Project Server 2010 and how it can be used to help people collaborate more effectively, create greater job satisfaction, and achieve continued customer loyalty.”
Silent Edge is now better positioned to ensure projects are completed on time and to the highest quality, increasing the potential for revenue growth. The new toolset helps the company maximise benefits from its existing Microsoft assets, which interoperate
with Microsoft Project Server 2010. As a result, Silent Edge has realised significant productivity gains.
Reports take 10 seconds. With the improved reporting features, users can run and view reports through the user-friendly interface in around 10 seconds. Grainge says: “Previously, running reports took up to four hours. Now, with rapid reporting
through Project Server 2010, we can satisfy large customers with demanding standards such as the BT Group.”
Costs are lowered through more efficient use of resources. By automating the planning system for events and matching of resources to projects, Silent Edge expects to significantly lower its outgoings. Grainge
says: “We can manage our people more effectively, help ensure that there’s no overstaffing, and complete projects on time with Microsoft Project Server 2010. This could achieve up to 80 per cent cost reductions in some instances.”
Managers gain detailed view of existing business. To remain competitive, Silent Edge needs to plan its sales skills development workshops at least 12 months ahead and meet the requirements of demanding clients. Grainge says: “Our job in
the project management office is to have a bird’s eye view of the projects and ensure value for money. Issue, risk, and change management was streamlined with the centralised logging and reporting across all projects. It’s amazing what we can do with Project
Server 2010 and this is just the beginning.”
SQL Server upgrade offers pay-as-you-go usage. With the release of SQL Server 2012, Silent Edge plans to take advantage of the pay-as-you-go financial model for data management, lowering its costs even further by cutting the need for physical
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