Pharma & Biotech
S2E (Services Epargne Entreprise) is the leading platform for employee savings plans management services in France. The company processes and manages a full range of employee savings products on behalf of major account holders (banks and insurance companies). All in all, S2E serves 70,000 companies of all shapes and sizes and nearly 3 million employees.
- Industry: Financial services
- Founded: 2006
- Location: Nantes, France
- Revenue: €53.7m
- Employees: 350
- Website: www.s2e-services-epargne-entreprise.com
“Another objective of getting a consolidated system was to help the company improve coordination and collaboration between project managers and resource managers and to achieve consolidated visibility of team capacity.”
Project Portfolio Manager – S2E
At the end of 2018, S2E grew aware of the need to improve the management of their project portfolio and started looking for a solution tool to match. S2E’s Project Portfolio Management team (in other words their PMO) then set out to restructure its process around Sciforma’s Project Portfolio Management software, starting with the deployment of the new system at the level of the IT Department — the key driver for project activity.
Key Business Drivers and Requirements
Harmonizing the management of diversified projects
With an annual budget of €8 million and more than 130 employees (plus many external contractors), S2E’s IT department runs a wide range of varied projects. Some are managed directly by the IT department’s teams, while more cross-functional projects involve multiple governances. Some projects focus on improving and transforming internal processes, while others aim to develop or improve the services and interfaces provided to the companies and employees that S2E services.
S2E set out to find a tracking system providing the consistency required to effectively manage such an array of projects. Three different tools were used to track the time spent on projects, to manage budgets, and to run other types of operations. The scattered data had to be consolidated manually and prevented the implementation of a common process for managing and tracking project work. Accordingly, S2E needed a single repository to harmonize the project management, formatting and reporting processes in order to improve control.
Enabling the sharing and consolidation of reliable data
To track the remaining work to be performed on projects, project managers had to manually decrement the data team by team using Excel — a particularly complex and time-consuming task. As a result, consolidating a summary report on the progress of all projects took about 20 days, and the data was already out of date by the time it was reported.
Another objective of getting a consolidated system was to help the company improve coordination and collaboration between project managers and resource managers and to achieve consolidated visibility of team capacity.
In addition, the company wanted to strengthen the links between project management and financial control in order to bridge the gaps between operations’ visibility of resource consumption and budget managers’ visibility of invoicing and billing.
Supporting the PMO’s empowerment
Formerly within the IT Department, S2E’s PMO was transferred to the Customer Relations & Transformation Department (which directly supports account holders) in order to gain a more comprehensive view of business activity as well as improved ability to drive transformation.
In order to take this step and embrace a more central and strategic role, the PMO needed to optimize its project portfolio management capabilities (creation, approval, monitoring and reporting, changes, trade offs, etc.). It needed a dynamic repository with automatic real-time updates providing the fresh and reliable data required to act as early as possible, to anticipate rather than react, and to respond quickly in case of changes or potential issues with a project. Last but not least, the PMO needed the support of a collaborative platform to better play its key role as a connector between the various teams and stakeholders.
S2E needed a single repository to harmonize the project management, formatting and reporting processes in order to improve control.
Implementation of Sciforma Solution
Software Critical Capabilities
S2E chose Sciforma after browsing the market and securing the approval of all stakeholders. What sealed the deal was the ease of use and overall usability of the solution’s interface. S2E activated the tool at the level of the IT Department on January 1, 2021, after a one-and-a-half month pilot phase involving some twenty users.
- Project scheduling/planning
- Project management and tracking
- Resource and capacity management
- Budget management
- Portfolio/Program Management
The implementation of Sciforma was conducted iteratively with the help of a Sciforma expert, who supported S2E throughout all the phases of the tool’s deployment and consolidation:
- Training in project management with Sciforma
- Situation and requirement analysis in the form of use cases
- Recommendation of solutions making the most of the default settings plus customized adjustments
- User assistance to support the PMO
S2E adopted Sciforma 7.1’s SaaS solution. Following the recommendations and the philosophy of the vendor, they chose to stay as close as possible to the standard version of the product. Overall, the implementation process was smooth. We were amazed at how fast and easily the Sciforma expert was doing the customizations we wanted, reflecting the flexibility of the solution.
“Experience has taught us that over-customizing a system makes it more difficult to maintain. We found in Sciforma’s default version most of the key project management functionalities that we use. After a few minor tweaks and customizations, the software was perfectly aligned with our needs and process.”
Pascal Lenois, Project Portfolio Manager – S2E
Key Realized Benefits
Increased consistency in project management and monitoring
S2E’s first steps with Sciforma are already introducing noticeable improvement. Now that the stack of Excel files, applications and tracking dashboards that the company used to juggle is centralized in a single tool, planning and tracking are much more efficient. The tool’s project templates, which automatically suggest predefined deliverables, are particularly helping project managers to manage, monitor, formalize and report on their projects. As the single repository ensures traceability and consistency, it is also improving project sequencing by helping everyone to know what is going on and by ensuring that phase-gate requirements are met.
Gains and improvements at all levels
Sciforma’s tool now enables multiple S2E team members to work on the same project at the same time, which has facilitated and bolstered collaboration between resource managers and project managers while also improving resource allocation. Project managers are able to request generic resources, which are then to be converted into named resources by the concerned team leader: this way, these two complementary roles are enabled to collaborate effectively based on a clear vision of the capacity. The monitoring of transactions, including the fees of external service providers, is now centralized and standardized in Sciforma to provide a consolidated overview of the forecasted, committed and actual cash flows. For financial control, the new ability to track project budget allocations and costs with greater granularity is translating into improved visibility on budget commitments.
Empowering PMO to own its role as a hub
The PMO saw the deployment of the tool as the occasion to restructure the whole PPM process. Based on an analysis of user needs, it defined and implemented in Sciforma a number of best practices and standard formats to facilitate management and monitoring. Additionally, the PMO has been creating and disseminating contextualized user guides to explain and entrench these practices and it now enforces proper application. For example, the launch of Sciforma has provided the perfect opportunity to remind users of the importance of adjusting and updating the remaining work — which is now much easier thanks to the tool.
Overall, S2E’s PMO is supporting users to help them to embrace the tool and the new process and to sustain their awareness of the key importance of their tracking and monitoring work for the quality of data and the health of the project portfolio. The goal is to build an actual community around the tool and to increase interactions and synergies across the various stakeholders involved in project activity.
Finally, better visibility into consistent and reliable data sets is improving the PMO’s ability to monitor the portfolio and ensure its health (including project chances to meet deadlines, budgets and scope). The PMO is now able to identify those projects with poor metrics, issues or risks, and it can conduct more in-depth analysis, report to the executive committee, and issue recommendations to help drive the business.
S2E’s PMO intends to further develop its process by identifying the most relevant metrics to monitor project quality.
The company wants to be able to easily make dynamic adjustments to the make-up of its portfolio in order to include new projects and come up with trade-off solutions if needed. To that end, S2E will leverage the tool’s scenario simulation, reporting and implementation capabilities.
As the number of Agile projects is growing, S2E wishes to include these in the portfolio and in Sciforma.
Creating Impetus for Continuous Improvement
Part of the PMO’s role is to issue recommendations aimed at improving the process gradually as the new best practices are becoming established habits. The company wants to be able to easily make dynamic adjustments to the make-up of its portfolio in order to include new projects and come up with trade-off solutions if needed. To that end, S2E will leverage the tool’s scenario simulation, reporting and implementation capabilities.