The PMU places its bets on Sciforma for its project, resource and portfolio management

London, 1 avril 2011 Sciforma, a world leader in project management solution development, announced today that the PMU is using its PSNext solution for its project planning and resource and portfolio management. An extra dimension has been added to this partnership, which dates from 1993, with the opening up of the sports betting and poker market last June.

Organisation, a key factor for success in an changed market

The PMU, a global online horse racing betting, sports betting and poker operator, has 1,400 contributors in France. With the advent of new technologies and distribution networks (the Internet, smartphones, etc.), the PMU has had to adapt to the changes in its market in order to exploit these new lines of development and reach out to new customers. Organising the orientation of the changes in its different lines of business and IT capabilities has played a crucial role in the expansion of the PMU's business. The changes to the PMU's core business have required detailed monitoring of the numerous projects in progress, and to support their development, the company adopted first the PSN solutions and then PSNext from Sciforma.

An invitation to tender motivated by a need for greater horizontal cooperation

In 2000, about 250 of the PMU's contributors were equipped with the Sciforma PS6 solution. But after several years in use, the tool had reached its limits. “PS6 no longer really fitted our organisational problems. In particular, it lacked the horizontal cooperation and the features needed to generate comprehensive reports on the distribution of the company's human resources," noted Catherine Chauvin, Strategic Planning and Projects Department Manager.

The PMU therefore decided to put out a new invitation to tender so that it could compare the new tools on the market. The main criteria for evaluation were profitability, ergonomics, adaptability and, above all, horizontal cooperation, since this solution was to be deployed over a wide number of services. After several weeks of deliberation, the PMU decided to once more place its trust in Sciforma and in its PS8 solution to support its growth.

Moving to PSNext: a new and crucial phase in PMU project management

After several years in use, PS8 began to show its limitations in relation to the needs of the PMU's associates. “The users were complaining that some features were missing and others needed improving. Some continued to use Excel spreadsheets to manage large amounts of data. The services needed to have greater visibility regarding the delays to their projects and the human resources that were available and, especially, to be able to organise all this data into readable overall plans," commented Catherine Chauvin. The need for a new tool therefore came from all the users, both the business users and the experts.

The various services of the PMU were therefore regrouped once again - in order to draw up a set of specifications that reorganised both the IT service needs and the needs of the business project managers. The management then opted to send the new specifications to Sciforma directly. Since the developer was able to respond correctly to the vast majority of the requirements in the specifications, thanks to its new solution, PSNext, the PMU chose to migrate to this version.

Rapid assimilation and return on investment thanks to good support and real adaptability

To bring the future users together and give them a good grasp of the tool, a series of workshops was held to define the parameters of PSNext down to the last detail and bring it into line with the needs of the contributors. All the IT project managers were trained in joint sessions and about twenty of the business project managers underwent direct training.
"Deployment and acceptance only took 8 months. This very short period of time was made possible by Sciforma's excellent support, as the company showed itself to be very ready to listen to the future users of PSNext," said Catherine Chauvin.

The arrival of PSNext has transformed the PMU's project management

The technological gap between PS8 and PSNext was in fact much greater than for previous version changes and the switch from one version to the other was managed as a totally separate project. On the final user side, several major features have changed the day-to-day management of projects and time tracking. Among the most important aspects of this new version are: the concept of the "deliverable", which allows each user to save and view the documents attached to a project (methodological guides, processes, models, etc). PSNext also offers more complete reports and a higher level of detail, allows users to send messages directly from the tool to Outlook, to create a work time tracking report more ergonomically and to add the colour coding of their choice to their projects. PSNext solution also ensures improved evaluation of project downtime costs by allowing time tracking to be done directly in the tool: the traceability of the figures sent to accounting means that the overall amortisation of the projects studied can be optimised. But PSNext has also transformed resource planning and management for business and IT managers. With the help of the workload simulations, managers are better equipped to resolve possible conflicts and justify a request for extra resources for a project, or even to forecast if the current team will be able to manage the planned portfolio of projects when the next financial year comes around.

"Today, the forecasting and reporting processes in PSNext allow us to identify the employees who are over-loaded. It is vital for us to know precisely how to use our resources, especially when they are scarce, and PSNext does this. Simply move or add an item, a deadline or a contributor to see all the consequences. We particularly appreciate the fact that we are able to evaluate the difference between the time that was initially forecast and the actual time that was spent on a project," said Catherine Chauvin.

PSNext is both a source of relief and an organisational aid for contributors during the start-up phase of a new project.

The impact of PSNext on the launch of the sports bet and poker tenders

The use of PSNext has played a vital role in optimising the organisation of the launch of PMU's sports bets and poker activities, two major offerings for the operator in 2010. To implement these new offerings, the PMU teams needed to meet very tight deadlines so as to be ready in time for the opening up of the market in June 2010. The quality of the organisation and the taskforce work style were two key factors in the successful strategic launch of the PMU's new product.

The PMU sees PSNext as support for change

"PSNext gives us a clearer view of the projects in progress and lets us plan the best use of our resources for our invariably packed project portfolio. Today, more than one-third of PMU workers are affected by the tool and it is our wish from now on to move the cursor in the direction of the general management while optimising workflow management and the management and continuing adjustment of the project and opportunity study portfolios, which involves a considerable workload," concluded Catherine Chauvin.

About the PMU

The PMU is a global on-line gaming operator for horse racing betting, sports betting and poker. In 2010, a year marked by the opening up of the online gambling market in France, the PMU recorded a 2.6% growth in its activities, with a turnover of 9.450 billion euros. The launch of its new online activities (sports bets and poker) has permitted the PMU to position itself among the top sports bets operators, with a market share of around 10% in the second half of the year, and to become a key player in poker. The web site had a turnover of 928 million euros and a strong growth of 39%. With more than 500,000 customers, has reinforced its position as the number one betting site in France and is establishing itself as one of the main brands in electronic commerce.
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