Interview with Mr. Adam Walker, VP/IT Manager of UMB Corp.

About UMB Financial Corporation

UMB Financial Corporation is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, MO, offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing, and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona, and Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.

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Can you briefly present what you do and what kind of projects you manage?

At UMB Financial Corporation, we use Sciforma to manage IT, PM, BA, and QA resources. These resources make up project teams tasked with executing a portfolio of IT Governance projects. We combine these work estimates with the administration, support, and other project work for capacity management across the organization. At any one time, we have approximately 75 large Governance projects and hundreds of smaller non-governance projects. Additionally, each manager has a project to plan non-project work.

How did you manage your projects before Sciforma?

Before Sciforma, managers planned resource allocations through a series of spreadsheets. Hours were charged in a separate system at the project level, and PM’s planned project schedules using MS Project on their local PCs. Actual hours were exported from the timekeeping system and manually added to the project schedules and resource allocation spreadsheets. Various report templates were then manually populated after actuals were reconciled and status meetings were held.

What made you choose Sciforma?

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We chose Sciforma primarily due to the customization ability. This allowed us to mold the application to follow our SDLC processes. It also allowed us to bring several independent systems into one allocation. Risks, lessons learned, project schedules, timesheets, capacity planning, portfolio planning, project accounting, and resource tables (to name a few systems), were all moved into the Sciforma application.

How did you implement Sciforma within your organization (processes, methods, training, assistance, spread, etc.)?

We did a phased approach. We started with the project managers and moved all our governance projects from MS Project to Sciforma. We then moved IT managers who manage project work and non-project work. Finally, we migrated all remaining resources who charge time via timesheets. We had small 12-person sessions for project managers and IT managers. For the full roll out, we did large training sessions with approximately 100 people per session. Training documents were made available in all cases.

Are you considering increasing the number of users or features you are currently using?

We are continually adding features to add value for our users or simplify processes. We have one administrator who is also a configuration specialist. He works on enhancements when not doing support work. We have a backlog of enhancements we would like to make and a long list that has already been implemented. We are now one year post-implementation and have several other departments interested in using Sciforma.

Do you see a return on your investment with Sciforma (ROI)?

It’s hard to objectively prove that out, but I think it is safe to say the application has exceeded our expectations. We are definitely getting all the benefits we were hoping to get with a potential for more. Accountability has increased as well as the level of detail (both in planning and time recording) which leads to more effort being expended on planning. This is somewhat offset by less administrative work such as creating reports, having status meetings, pulling different system’s data together, etc.

What benefits can you observe? What results did you get?

The largest benefit is having data that was previously in many systems combined into one application. From things as simple as having a centralized resource table to dynamic reporting, I don’t know how we managed without them. A lot of time was spent aggregating data and creating reports compared to now, where we spend more time working on project and capacity planning.