Cloud & Cognitive Services (C&CS) is a division of IBM that brings together IBM’s software platforms and solutions, enabling hybrid cloud services delivery that helps clients predict, automate, secure, and modernize their business. From an operations perspective, C&CS helps IBM’s services business modernize, simplify, automate, and accelerate quote to cash (Q2C).
However, one of the main challenges for IBM recently was the need to eliminate the chaos of disconnected tools, data, and processes (especially for their local and global operations). At any given time, the company is typically involved in more than 20,000 – 25,000 projects ranging in size and scope, and they needed to a way to eliminate the time spent collecting and consolidating data from multiple disconnected systems.
Recently, two leaders from IBM —Worldwide Software Services Business Operations Director Michelle Ginther, and Executive Project Manager Sharon Burton — joined Planview’s Director of Product Management Dave Blumhorst on an informative and insightful webinar, during which they shared the details of their transformation journey with Planview’s connected services.
Before we dive into some of the details, dynamics, and lessons covered in the webinar, let us take a step back and briefly discuss what is meant by connected services.
What are Connected Services?
Connected Services is the guiding principle for transforming services to deliver more value, delighting customers while driving profitable revenue. It is about connecting people to the right systems, delivery methods, and other parts organizations for the business and customer’s benefit.
As you’ll hear from Dave Blumhorst, Director of Product Management, “Professional services does not live in a silo. We are connected to the rest of the organization, and we need to emphasize that connection.
Now let’s dive in!
The Top Business Drivers That Enable Transformation at IBM
At IBM, transformation is not “just another buzzword.” It is authentically built into the organization’s DNA and has remained a defining part of the culture since the company launched more than a century ago in 1911.
To move forward and reap the rewards of being a truly connected services organization IBM identified six core business drivers that enable transformation:
- Reporting “On the Glass”: establishing total visibility so that services, operations, and product teams can see how they are performing in real-time by monitoring KPIs and metrics.
- Modernization: replacing home grown tools and manual processes that contribute to global inconsistency.
- Capacity: maximizing the potential of services use and talent. It is extremely important for IBM to use resources where they are needed, and when they are needed, based on specific skills.
- Data: streamlining data collection, analysis, automation, and predictive capabilities.
- Audit Support: fixing troubled projects and financial reporting.
- Operational Efficiencies: minimizing Q2C cycle to reduce costs, while also having the capacity to ask customers about the problems they have and figuring out how to solve and automate that.
Planview PSA as the Services Cockpit at IBM
Why did IBM choose the Planview PSA solution (built with Planview’s AdaptiveWork, formerly Clarizen) to drive transformation? It was a combination of key capabilities and core functionalities.
The key capabilities include:
- Financial Management
- Project Management
- Capacity Management
- Audit Support
The core functionalities include:
- Highly configurable environment to meet IBM’s requirements.
- Flexible infrastructure for seamless integration.
- Streamlines data analysis & reporting.
- Reduction in operational resource
Regarding Planview PSA solution using AdaptiveWork, Michelle stated, “We can configure AdaptiveWork and make it fit IBM’s needs. The infrastructure is seamless. It is integrated into what we do.”
Michelle also addresses a few other key points within the webinar, including the additional value this solution has brought for IBM’s services and operations team.
In fact, the Planview PSA solution has become such a core part of the infrastructure at IBM, that it is referred to internally as the “services cockpit.”
Challenges Addressed with Planview PSA
IBM selected Planview PSA to solve problems in five key areas:
- Internal Systems: attempting to get data from multiple systems was challenging and time consuming.
- Financial Data: taking data and rolling it up across multiple business units and geographies was also difficult and time consuming — and in some cases could take days.
- KPIs: it was difficult to collect and present key metrics that drive business.
- Workforce: with a shrinking workforce and changing skills, IBM needed to have a single, centralized tool that all users could work on.
- Agility: it was difficult to be fast and agile, and to meet customer needs.
How IBM Unlocked Value with Planview PSA
From an infrastructure perspective what IBM needed to do was establish one integrated system. Based on this vision, Michelle and Sharon invested a significant amount of time analyzing and understanding IBM’s Q2C infrastructure; and particularly where data and business intelligence was stored. What they discovered was that instead of just one, there were in fact multiple sources of truth, including:
- Distributed Software
Based on this understanding, the focus shifted to how Planview PSA could be utilized and configured (through several APIs) to capture data from these various sources of truth, and deliver them to project managers, resource managers, and other team members so they could get the real-time actionable intelligence they needed to make faster, smarter decisions.
However, in order to achieve this vision and unlock more value, IBM had to overcome challenges in two key areas:
- Deployment-Related Challenges
- Business-Related Challenges
The webinar dives deep into IBM’s challenges, explores how they were and solved, and highlights the outcomes and value that IBM continues to realize with Planview PSA as the company’s “services cockpit.” Sharon and Michelle also discuss what they have learned so far, and how they anticipate leveraging Planview PSA in the future to unlock even more value.
Watch the Webinar & Additional Resources
- Watch the full on-demand webinar, “Unlocking Value Through Connected Services at IBM.”