Stago develops biological testing products and systems (reagents, test instruments, disposables, etc.) for biomedical laboratories. With over 350 products and representation in over 110 countries, the Group is market leader in In Vitro Diagnosis for Haemostasis and Thrombosis.
Industry: Medical biology
Headcount: almost 2,600
Upgrading to Sciforma 7.1 has provided our company with a knowledge base and a set of capabilities that are improving the predictability of time-to-market and supporting our innovation capacity.
Stago used to manage its project portfolios using multiple disconnected systems. As a result they could only get a fragmented view of their project activity. That inability to consolidate information was hindering the innovation-oriented company in the pursuit of large projects with long development cycles and stringent regulatory conditions — especially in a context where any unexpected delay can severely impact the pipeline of activities.
Looking to further standardize and structure its project management to achieve a three-to-five year view of product development plans, the Group went in search of a dedicated PPM platform. In 2012, Stago chose PSNext 5.0 (Sciforma’s former name) based on its overall performance and deployed the tool to both the IT and product design departments.
The company used a set of different tools to manage projects: one for project schedules and Gantt charts, one for product plans, one to track the actual time spent on projects, etc. Since a large chunk of the reconciliation work was done manually using various office tools, Stago needed a consolidated view of its projects and portfolio in order to improve planning — which was a critical requirement since the Group’s product design and marketing plans need to be precisely timed and documented.
The system formerly used to track project time only showed the time actually spent but didn’t have any forecasting capabilities. What’s more, it was disconnected from the codified system used by the financial control department to manage financial allocations. As it failed to find its purpose and use cases, that tool was used patchily, with only about 30% of team time tracked.
Ensuring consistent and systematic time tracking was particularly important in order to establish clear connections between the activity schedule and the work actually performed.
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The migration to Sciforma 7.1 started at the end of 2019 and was completed in just 20 days by Frédéric Authouart, Cross-functional IT Activities Coordinator at Stago, with the help of a Sciforma consultant. The upgrade proved easy, seamless and fast, mainly thanks to Stago's decision to revert to the standard configuration of the tool, as recommended by Sciforma. When PSNext was first set up, the company had tried to cover any foreseeable needs by adding a host of specific configurations. Albeit comprehensive, the resulting setup was highly complex and substantially increased the number of steps and operations needed to manage business-as-usual activities. The switch to the new version was an opportunity to change tack. Instead of upgrading all of the many functionalities already in place, Stago decided to refocus on user needs and started by rolling out the core capabilities of the solution as defined by the project management experts who designed Sciforma. Users could then request extra features or screens. Implementing this simplified version only required basic data configuration and cut the effort by three. As a result, Sciforma 7.1 went live as early as February 2020. After several months of use, it is now clear that the off-the-shelf version of the tool is perfectly suited to the needs of Project Managers: in fact, they hardly requested any adjustments.
Simpler and faster operations have mechanically translated into increased productivity for the company. We have recorded a 20% reduction in time spent on administrative tasks
Stago took advantage of Sciforma’s planning functionality to define a number of standard project templates matching the classification of projects defined in the Group’s internal project management charter. These templates, which are pre-populated with standard work items and milestones, are especially helpful when it comes to planning product development projects with recurring activities — for example the stability tests that have to be performed on a regular basis. Project Managers just need to apply the appropriate template to a new project to get an idea of the possible delivery date, taking into account possible bottlenecks due to concurrent completion of other similar projects. Increased predictability of R&D work is improving the company's ability to compete and to meet its commitments to the market and to its customers — including by enabling Stago to better anticipate upcoming tool or reagent releases. The expanded visibility is invaluable for a company working in the uncertain-by-design field of human biology. Anticipating the delays due to interdependencies also makes it possible to adjust and optimize workflows.
By simplifying budget management, Sciforma also helped Stago to significantly increase the number of projects delivered within budget. Tracking financial data across disconnected systems and reconciling them used to tie up accounting and financial control teams and eat up the time that should have been dedicated to cost monitoring. Now that everything is automated in a consolidated system, they are empowered to tighten cost control. Additionally, the company could build a project library that helps to learn from past lessons to better predict the costs and contingencies associated with a project, thereby improving the reliability of budget plans.
Now that Sciforma 7.1 is in place and in use, Stago plans to expand the scope of the tool, including by activating capabilities for demand collection, assessment and tracking. Aligning everyone around common, pre-set description attributes will make the evaluation of project ideas against the strategy more objective, thus facilitating and improving trade-off decisions. Stago’s longer-term plans to integrate all resource management activities into Sciforma should also move the needle forward and be of invaluable help to those team leaders who act both as Project Managers and Resource Managers.
THINK MARKETING: In addition to educational content and forums (video tutorials, "corners" dedicated to best-practice sharing and casual interaction), Frédéric Authouart has engaged users in a proactive manner to onboard them onto the new version of Sciforma. The key, in his opinion, is to demonstrate the concrete benefits of the new solution in a clear way and to stress its ease of use as well as the potential for time saving. The user-friendliness of version 7.1 has undeniably eased the process.
THINK COMMUNITY: To facilitate team adoption of the tool, Stago's Cross-functional IT Activities Coordinator also built an internal network of Sciforma ambassadors. These "delegated administrators" combine a superior command of the tool with a keen understanding of operational concerns and language. They are therefore in an ideal position to act as designated contact persons within the various departments. Their discussions with the teams are recorded through Teams and included in the company’s library of video tutorials. Finally, weekly "Sciforma forums" bring together this circle of ambassadors and provide a casual platform for sharing ideas and plans to further develop the Sciforma community.
THINK REMOTE: With the shelter-in-place measures enforced as of spring 2020, Stago could fully appreciate the benefits of having a full web solution, with a single authentication system enabling anytime, anywhere access and push-of-a-button reports.