Intel, the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturer and number 62 in the 2010 Fortune 500, has thousands of projects of nearly every size and type. The company wanted to consolidate multiple project management software solutions onto a server solution that could scale globally and was flexible enough to handle these diverse projects. Intel chose to implement Microsoft Project Server 2010. With the flexibility and improved user interface of Project Server 2010, the company can manage many different types of projects and drive high user satisfaction. It is also taking advantage of Project Server 2010 to achieve environmental benefits through virtualization and will use the solution’s portfolio management features to improve the way it plans project workloads. With a user base approaching 20,000 users worldwide Intel was able to deploy a 70% virtualized Project Server 2010 production environment and as a result will realize significant annual savings.
Intel is the world’s leading manufacturer of semiconductor chips and other devices, technologies, and platforms related to computing and communications. Founded in 1968, Intel ranks number 62 in the 2010 Fortune 500, with revenues of U.S. $43.6 billion. Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, with dozens of locations around the globe, Intel has a work force of more than 79,000 people.
||Project Server 2010 is a very flexible product. We can configure it to meet the different scheduling requirements of our internal customers.
System Analyst, Enterprise Scheduling Team
Intel runs thousands of projects, of many different types. “We have a lot of big projects, such as developing our processors and chipsets, or building and maintaining manufacturing facilities,” says Liesl Andrico, Product Owner for EPM2010 and a System Analyst on the Enterprise Scheduling Team at Intel. “Projects can run as long as three years, with as many as 1,000 people on them. Yet we also have small projects, with three people working for six weeks.”
Furthermore, those projects represent different types of work. Andrico says, “Many of our employees are manufacturing chips in the factory, and their schedules will have intricate calendars to model a 24-hour working environment with project line items scheduled down to the minute. Other employees are writing software or designing chips or testing. These development processes have different methodologies: different time frames, types of effort, and requirements depending on the product being developed. Our long-term research and technology exploration schedules are even more high-level.”
Intel has used various editions of Microsoft project management software since 1998, but the company has also used many other server-based solutions, especially for scheduling. Several of these solutions are commercial products, but others are home-grown, because individual business groups have done custom development to achieve specific goals. The multiplicity of solutions has resulted in costs for maintenance and support, and Intel wanted to reduce those costs by consolidating project management solutions and data.
In addition to cost concerns, Intel also had several minor concerns about the user interface in Microsoft Office Project Server 2007. “Updating tasks is a traditionally difficult task for employees to embrace,” says Andrico. “In the feedback on any project management solution’s user interface, employees would ask us: How do you know when you’re ’50 percent’ done with a task? An engineer might be problem-solving while driving home from work, or might find a new idea while browsing the Internet on the weekend. How does an engineer address this time when progress is being made because you are thinking about your work? We wanted to help users overcome those hurdles to successfully posting their information. The best way to do that is to have a solution and interface that’s flexible enough to adapt to our ways of doing business.”
For technical reasons, Intel was also unable to use workspaces in Office Project Server 2007. And although company employees dabbled with Microsoft Office Project Portfolio Server 2007, Intel was not doing much automated portfolio management. “Our planning processes are typically manually driven, people sitting around a table with Microsoft Office Excel 2007 spreadsheets,” says Kirt Eberts, IT Manager for the Enterprise Scheduling Team at Intel. “We want those processes to become data-driven and much more automated and integrated.”
In short, Intel was looking for an enterprise project management (EPM) solution that had the flexibility to manage different types of projects and the power to consolidate solutions across locations and functions. It also sought improved user interfaces and more sophisticated portfolio management tools.
Intel joined the Microsoft project management Technology Adoption Program (TAP) in 2007. As part of that program, Intel provided input to Microsoft on its needs and tested prototypes and early versions of the solution that would become Microsoft Project Server 2010. “The feedback stages were critical, and we found the Microsoft project team was very open to what we had to say,” says Andrico. By the end of the process, Intel had made 162 requests for changes, 81 percent of which were implemented.
||We can consolidate applications onto the Project Server 2010 platform, which means that we can save in contracts with third-party vendors.
IT Manager, Enterprise Scheduling Team
In May 2010, Intel formally decided to upgrade to the new product. The upgrade began in November and will be completed by December 2011. “We run two versions for six to nine months, first migrating new projects, and then existing projects, to the new solution,” says Andrico. As of January 2011, the production environment included 10,000 users. By July, 20,000 users will be on Project Server 2010.
At full implementation, about 5,000 employees, mostly project managers, will perform their duties using the full Microsoft Project Professional 2010 client application. The other 15,000 users will access project data through the web client, Microsoft Project Web App. Because Project Server 2010 is built on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, interoperation is seamless. Thus employees will easily be able to access project workspaces, which include documentation, lists of deliverables, and discussion areas—all of which promote collaboration among team members.
Project Server 2010 also interoperates with Microsoft Office 2010. “Microsoft Excel 2010 spreadsheet software is a particularly valuable tool that employees use to easily analyze project data,” Andrico says. Project data, which is stored using the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise data management software, is also available to executives in reports and dashboards. The reports are powered by Excel Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. The dashboards—powered by PerformancePoint Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services—are easy to create and update.
Although many Intel departments are switching to Project Server 2010, some continue to use other project management solutions. However, all project management data is centralized on Project Server 2010 and can be accessed from other applications using the Project Server Interface (PSI). “The PSI uses permissions on the site to pull data from Project Server 2010 into other applications just as it does with the Project 2010 client,” says Andrico. “Some of our internal customers who have specific requirements are able to develop applications in the Microsoft .NET framework, using the PSI, to meet their needs without affecting the performance and stability of Project Server 2010.”
Intel has made several key customizations to Project Server 2010. In one, the company can take a snapshot of project management data. “We generally do so weekly and use the snapshot to show trends over time and historical data,” says Andrico. In another, it makes better use of “duration-based” scheduling. “Most scheduling in Project Server 2010 is work-based—for example, this task will take 40 hours,” says Andrico. “But many of our projects are duration-based—this task is due in 5 days.” A third customization, which the company calls the “network” feature, enhances the Gantt chart in which an employee sees his or her tasks. “Now you also have a view of all the tasks that precede and follow your tasks—a view of how you fit in the network,” she says.
Intel has a comprehensive support and training delivery model for Project Server 2010. A support team trains site administrators in the software; the site administrators (now numbering about 100 worldwide) can then train users and solve problems. “It takes a lot of coaching up front, including early and late meetings with staff at our global locations,” says Andrico. “But the training process builds productive relationships and high customer satisfaction. Escalations from the site administrators are rare—maybe one or two issues a week that they can’t handle. The result is that support requires a team of only four people and we can focus on improvements and introducing new customers to the solution.”
Through 2011 and 2012, Intel expects to enhance its decision-making processes for choosing its portfolio of projects. “With customers who have expressed an interest, we plan to use the portfolio features of Project Server 2010 to replace our manual planning processes,” Andrico says. “This year we had three departments run their planning process using Project Server 2010. They had great success, despite the fact that we had not yet completed our internal training materials, and we have several more departments excited to try the new features.”
||We have found that 95 percent of people who start using Project Server 2010 are still using it six months later. Many of the implementations have expanded beyond their original scope.
System Analyst, Enterprise Scheduling Team
Intel also plans to enhance its business intelligence by developing more comprehensive dashboards and putting more Excel Services on the web. Finally, the company expects to capitalize on the interoperation between Project Server 2010 and Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, a collaboration platform that many of its engineers use to manage software development processes.
Intel is taking advantage of Project Server 2010 to save money by consolidating server software using a solution that helps the company manage many different types of projects. The company is using features of Project Server 2010 to improve user satisfaction, meet environmental goals through virtualization, and better manage its portfolio of projects.
Because it can use Project Server 2010 to replace many other project management solutions, Intel is saving money. “We can consolidate applications onto the Project Server 2010 platform, which means that we can save in contracts with third-party vendors,” Eberts says. “With the rich functions and features of Project Server 2010, we no longer need to buy other products.”
The consolidation has gone smoothly, thanks in part to Project Server 2010 features. “Behind the scenes, with PSI and the backward compatibility of Project Server 2010 with previous versions, it’s easy to replace or link to other solutions,” Andrico says.
Furthermore, Intel is using that consolidation to simplify its computing environment. “We’re going from an older environment on its last legs to a state-of-the-art environment with full Microsoft backing,” Eberts says. “In addition, with less custom development, we can lower our support costs. We are moving departments off their own environments onto an enterprise environment.”
Flexibility to Manage Different Types of Projects
Intel is using Project Server 2010 to manage the many different types and sizes of projects across the company. “Project Server 2010 is a very flexible product. We can configure it to meet the different scheduling requirements of our internal customers,” Andrico says.
Thanks to the flexibility of Project Server 2010, and the ease of further customizing it to meet specific needs at Intel, the company can provide software that supports project management under many different methodologies. “Many of our engineers don’t work in defined hourly increments, but in spurts,” says Andrico. “We can accommodate both their work styles and the work styles of the employees on the manufacturing floor using a single solution rather than multiple server solutions.”
High User Satisfaction
Intel has used the interface improvements in Project Server 2010, combined with its support and training delivery model, to drive high rates of user satisfaction. “Our employees communicate a high satisfaction with Project Server 2010,” says Andrico. “We have found that 95 percent of people who start using Project Server 2010 are still using it six months later. Many of the implementations have expanded beyond their original scope as far as the number of users logging into the system.”
In part, the user satisfaction derives from the simplified time and task management functions in Project Server 2010. “Compared with the previous version, the Project Server 2010 interface makes it much easier for users to get through the updates they need to make,” says Andrico. “There have also been improvements to many small features, such as groups, filtering, delegation, resource tracking, and manual task scheduling. Users can see how those enhancements help us achieve better communication and organization in our company.”
Support for “Green” Environmental Goals and Savings Through Virtualization
Intel runs Project Server 2010 in a virtualized environment on 64-bit server computers with dual Intel Xeon® X5670 2.93 gigahertz processors.
Intel Xeon® processors based on Intel Core™ microarchitecture integrate hardware for virtualization into all key server components including Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) helping its IT organization consolidate more applications and heavier workloads on each server to improve flexibility, reliability, and total cost of ownership (TCO).
Currently, Intel is 70% virtualized across its various scheduling solutions and 20,000 users.
Intel has taken advantage of the architecture of Project Server 2010 to make great leaps in virtualizing its scheduling environment. “As a corporation, Intel is very concerned about being environmentally responsible and reducing our CO2 footprint,” says Andrico. “Virtualization is an important way to accomplish those goals, and we have found that virtualization is easier to accomplish with the new services model in SharePoint Server 2010.”
Intel uses virtualization not only to help protect the environment but also to save money. “By virtualizing our data center, we are saving money on utility bills and driving down our costs to our internal customers,” Eberts says. “Centralizing our project management data using Project Server 2010 has been a key component of that effort.”
Sound Decision Making and More Balanced Workloads Through Portfolio Management
Intel intends to use Project Server 2010 to keep employees happier by improving the way it plans for and prioritizes projects. “Portfolio management is in its infancy here, but we’re really excited about it,” says Eberts. “Using Project Server 2010 to map people to projects, we will be able to show our employees their future workload, rather than telling them, ‘Trust us, we won’t overwork you.’”
Eberts adds, “We can use data in the strategy mapping capability of Project Server 2010 to drive the correct changes in our project priorities. And with Project Server 2010, we’re better able to see schedules, risks, and milestones, which are the building blocks of sound decision making.”
Microsoft Project Server 2010
Microsoft Project Server 2010 brings together the business collaboration platform services of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 with structured execution capabilities to provide flexible work management solutions. Project Server 2010 unifies project and portfolio management to help organizations align resources and investments with business priorities, gain control across all types of work, and visualize performance through powerful dashboards.
For more information about Microsoft Project Server 2010, go to:
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