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Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a BriefingsDirect podcast on Deloitte-Australia, and how their business has benefited from leveraging the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model for project and portfolio management (PPM) activities.
We spoke to Deloitte-Australia at a recent conference to explore some major enterprise software and solutions, trends and innovations making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers.
I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions and I’ll be your host as we learn more about Deloitte’s innovative use of SaaS hosting for non-core applications. First, please join me in welcoming Ferne King, director within the Investment and Growth Forum at Deloitte-Australia in Melbourne. Welcome.
Ferne King: Thank you.
Gardner: Tell me, Ferne, what led up to the use of SaaS for PPM? Why did this particular model seem to make sense?
King: The SaaS model made sense to us, because we had a strategic direction in our firm that any non-core application’s strategic intent was to have them as SaaS.
Gardner: What is it about PPM, in particular, that made this a leading candidate for that initiative?
King: It’s the only solution that we found in the marketplace that would help us support and have visibility into the investments we were going to make for ourselves internally around the growth and the maintenance of what we did internally within our own firm.
Gardner: Perhaps for our listeners’ benefit, you could explain a little bit about what you do there at Deloitte in Australia and the extent to which you went with this PPM solution. How far and wide?
King: Deloitte-Australia is approximately 5,000 practitioners. In 2010, our revenue was A$850 million. We provide professional services to public and private clients, and we are now globally the largest professional services firm. We utilize PPM internally within the firm, and that helps us to understand that portfolio and prioritization. Deloitte-UK practice and Deloitte-America practice in their consulting areas use PPM to go to the market and help manage deliver investments with their client base.
Gardner: From a high level, what have been some of the benefits of PPM in general, but furthermore, the SaaS deployment method?
King: The three benefits of PPM, primarily for us has been understanding that portfolio and linking that to our strategy. For example, our executive will have a series of business objectives they want to achieve in the Australian practice.
By utilizing PPM, we can understand what is going on within the firm that’s meeting those objectives, and then, more importantly for them, with the gap, and then they can take the action on the gap. That’s the number one priority. The number two priority is being able to communicate to our people within the practice the particulars of change.
For example, over the next quarter, what will our practitioners in the firm see as a result of all of these myriad of initiatives going on, whether it’s a SaaS service HR system or whether it’s a new product and service that they can take to market. Whatever change is coming, we can better communicate that to them within their organization.
Our third priority which the PPM product helps with discipline is our area of delivery. So, in our project management methodology, it helps us improve our disciplines. We had a journey of 18 months of doing things manually and then we brought PPM to technology enable what we were doing manually.
From a SaaS perspective, the benefit we’ve achieved there is that we can focus our people on the right things. Instead of having our people focused on what hardware, what platform, what change request, what design do we need to be happening, we can focus on what our to-be process should be, what our design should be. Then we basically hand that over the fence to the SaaS team, which then help execute that.
We don’t have to stand in a queue within our own IT group and look for a change window. We can make changes every Wednesday, every Sunday, 12 months of the year, and that works for us.
Gardner: Great. Now you described how you’ve decided on the prioritization of moving to SaaS as non-core. But, forgive me, PPM, the way you described it, it sounds rather mission critical. How was it that you decided on this, even though it seems so pertinent and perhaps it forms mortar to other types of business processes?
King: We would say it’s non-core, but high value. Just because it’s non-core, doesn’t mean that it’s not a top priority. Our firm has approximately 2,500 applications within our Australian practice. PPM, at our executive level, is seen as one of our top 10 applications to help our executive, our partners, the senior groups of our firm register ideas to help our business grow and be maintained.
So, it’s high value but it’s not part of our core practice suite. It doesn’t bring in revenue and it doesn’t keep the lights on, but it helps us manage our business.
Gardner: Could you give me a sense of the timeline? Is this something that is relatively new, something that you're well into, something that you're looking at through the rear-view mirror and assessing? Where are we within your roll-out of this PPM for SaaS?
King: I’d answer that in the question of where are we in our roadmap of strategic enterprise portfolio management. In that journey, we're four years in and we are two years into technology enablement. We undertook the journey four years ago to go down strategic portfolio management and we lasted about 18 months to 2 years, manually developing and understanding our methodology, understanding the value where we wanted to go to.
In our second year we technology enabled that to help us execute more effectively, speed to value, time to value, and now we are entering our third year into the maturity model of that.
Gardner: When you describe this as something that doesn’t directly impact your bottom-line, it certainly sounds as if it’s impacting the users within your organization. What’s been the feedback from the front lines, those who are involved with are actually using this? Has this been something that they’ve embraced or something they needed to learn to embrace over time?
King: Fantastic results, particularly at the executive levels who are the ones who pay for us to create the time to work on this. Deloitte itself has taken the transformation over the years, If anybody in the market follows the professional services, industry group areas, Deloitte globally is 160,000 practitioners and over 250 billion of revenue on FY10. We're coming together and have been taking a journey for some time to be as one.
So, if you're a client in the marketplace, you don’t have to think about what door you need to enter the Deloitte world. You enter one door and you get service from whatever service group you need.
If I take the example of three years ago, our tax group would only be interested in what’s happening in their tax group. Our consultant group would really only be interested in what’s happening in the consultant group.
Now that we are acting as one, the tax service line lead and the consulting service line lead would like visibility of what’s happening firm wide. PPM is now enabling us to do that.
What I would summarize there is that PPM has enabled us to help the executive achieve their vision of firm-wide visibility of the enterprise investments we are making to improve our growth and support our maintenance.
Gardner: Tell me if you could, Ferne, a little bit about how you came to the HP solution. What was it that you were looking for in a solution and what requirements did you feel were most important in leading up to that choice?
King: First of all, probably, 27 years experience with project delivery, coming from an engineering construction background, getting very detailed knowledge over the years about the one-on-one delivery components and dealing with a lot of vendors over the years in the client marketplace.
So, well-versed in what we needed and well-versed in what was available out there in the marketplace. When we went to market looking for a partner and a vendor solution, we were very clear on what we wanted. HP was are able to meet that.
I actually took my own role out of the scoring process. We helped put scripts together, scenarios for our vendors to come and demonstrate to us how we were going to achieve meeting our objectives. Then, we brought people around the table from that business with a scoring method, and HP won on that scoring method.
Gardner: With you being fully into this project and for those listening who might be considering moving to a more holistic PPM approach and perhaps evaluating the different sourcing options, is there anything in hindsight that you could offer in terms of advice when beginning such a project?
King: Understand the method or the approach that you want to use PPM for. You cannot bring PPM and expect it to answer 80 percent of your issues. It can support and help direct resolution of issues, but you need to understand how you are expecting to do that. An example would be if you want to capture ideas from other business units or groups or the technology department on what they'd like to do to improve their application or improve product development, any area of the business, understand the life-cycle of how you want that to be managed. Don’t expect PPM to have preset examples for you.
Gardner: Very good. We’ve been discussing how Deloitte-Australia has benefited from leveraging SaaS as a model for delivery of project and portfolio management activities. I’d like to thank our guest, Ferne King, Director within the Investment and Growth Forum at Deloitte-Australia. Thanks so much.
King: Thank you, Dana.
Gardner: And I’d also like to thank our listeners in joining us with this BriefingsDirect podcast, coming to you from a recent HP conference.
I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.
Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast, part of a series on application lifecycle management and HP ALM 11. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.
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