“My team runs approximately 10 – 15 large initiatives at a time. Each of them would send me emails, which I would then have to manually input to PowerPoint slides – a process that could take me four to six hours. But even then, it was a static snapshot, and by the time our executives got around to reading the email, the information was already out of date. There was also limited to no flexibility for creating customized views if an executive asked.”
Director of Program Management, Cisco Capital
Cisco Systems Capital Corporation (“Cisco Capital”) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco Systems, Inc. that specializes in providing innovative financing for Cisco solutions worldwide. More than just a finance company, Cisco Capital is uniquely positioned to provide the most flexible and competitive financing for the acquisition of Cisco technologies. Cisco Capital delivers financing solutions designed to support business goals and technology needs, both today and in the future. More information is available at https://www.cisco.com/web/ANZ/products/ciscocapital.
In response to an increasingly complex and global landscape, Cisco Capital recognized that to fully enable profitable growth for its parent company Cisco Systems, Inc., it needed to improve how it managed important strategic initiatives, as well as several operational activities across the organization. To that end, Cisco Capital tapped Senior Manager Aimee Shea to lead its newly centralized PMO, and ultimately help the organization to enjoy a higher project success rate.
However, Shea quickly realized in order to achieve this key objective, Cisco Capital had to overcome several project and program management-related challenges. A legacy of achieving inconsistent results. Limited visibility of overall project health and status at both the individual and aggregate portfolio levels. An inability to effectively manage cross-functional collaboration at a high level. Difficultly managing multiple work streams. Static, outdated project reports that were manually intensive to create, and still failed to drive informed decision-making.
Shea and her team agreed that Cisco Capital’s PMO, as well as its associated departments and divisions, needed a new technology-led framework for planning and executing; one that would fit how the organization wanted to manage projects and programs in a collaborative way.
Based on its challenges and requirements, Cisco Capital conducted a comprehensive exploration of various cloud-based solutions, and it also examined tools used by its parent company Cisco Systems Inc. After evaluating Clarizen, Shea and her group realized that it was the ideal solution for delivering the much-needed framework for planning and executing, and at the same time, it would seamlessly align with the collaborative manner in which the organization wanted to manage projects and programs. With the ability to provide centralized project views and cross-functional work streams, Clarizen would provide both the internal visibility to the PMO group and the external visibility to Cisco Systems they would need to build a foundation of transparency and consistency across the enterprise.
Clarizen had not only out-of-the-box project management capabilities that they could leverage, but also the flexibility to customize the solution to Cisco Capital’s specific needs, without major IT involvement. Says Shea: “We saw very quickly that Clarizen had all of the robust capabilities we were looking for in an enterprise level solution, and it was highly configurable to how we wanted to run our projects.” Clarizen also had a low total cost of ownership, an important attribute for this financial services organization.
Supported by its dedicated Clarizen Success Manager, Cisco Capital began its implementation process by defining configuration requirements and establishing processes and templates. Full deployment was achieved within two months – a process that Shea feels was “very quick”. Rapid adoption was facilitated by Clarizen’s ease-of-use and library of accessible, intuitive learning tools and resources. Adds Shea: “Clarizen is now functioning as a reliable single source of truth for our project and program information”.
- 99% Reduction in time spent creating project roadmaps – from 4-6 hours to only 1-2 minutes.
- Generating accurate and relevant real-time portfolio health insights vs. static, outdated snapshots.
- Significantly improved cross-departmental collaboration.
- Improved executive visibility into resource capacity and workload, both internally and outside the PMO.
- Increased confidence and support for the PMO by delivering predictable results.
- More accountability with respect to off-track projects.
- Better integrated planning for global, complex programs.
- SOX compliance reporting activities made easier and more accurate.