How Microsoft PPM is Enhancing Melbourne Water’s Future
Melbourne Water Corporation is responsible for providing affordable, world-class drinking water and safe sewage treatment for millions of Melbournians. As water demand and environmental complexity increase, so do the number of projects and employees—and Melbourne Water found itself in a difficult position; for the first three years of its five-year regulatory period it had delivered one in three projects late. Melbourne Water quickly realised it needed a project portfolio management tool that did not involve switching between systems or manually inputting data into Excel spreadsheets.
As water stress becomes the norm, the need for Melbourne Water to evolve its project management capability could not be greater.
As water demand and environmental complexity increase, so do the number of projects and employees—and Melbourne Water found itself in a difficult position; for the first three years of its five-year regulatory period it had delivered one in three projects late and underspent on its capital program by 40%. The latter is an issue for Melbourne Water because “What the public gets charged for water services is based on the original budget. When you underspend your budget, you lose the confidence of your stakeholders,” said Michael Harding, PMO Manager of Melbourne Water.
Explaining how the issue arose, Harding said: “We couldn’t effectively govern what is a very large and diverse program of work being managed across a number of unintegrated systems. We had 4,000 projects in various phases of delivery being managed across four separate corporate systems and thousands of spreadsheets.”
Melbourne Water quickly realised it needed a project portfolio management tool that did not involve switching between systems or manually inputting data into Excel spreadsheets. Much of the time, Melbourne Water wasn’t able to predict portfolio underspend until it was too late to react. “Using spreadsheets is not the right way for a publicly funded, billion-dollar business to operate”, said Anthony O’Shannessy, Chief Financial Officer of Melbourne Water.
Sensei helps Melbourne Water realise the full benefits of its Microsoft PPM investment.
Melbourne Water evaluated several systems before making the switch to Microsoft PPM. They were immediately attracted to Sensei’s obvious focus on integration and reporting solutions. Michael Harding, PMO Manager of Melbourne Water explains, “We went to the market seeking a delivery partner that could help us develop an integrated solution for the management of our capital portfolio, including an enhanced business intelligence capability. The solution needed to align to our broader IT architecture principles of simplification, innovative solutions, information accessibility and cloud computing.”
The Melbourne Water team used the implementation as an opportunity to evolve processes in their business, leveraging the best practices and innovative apps Sensei built into its Microsoft PPM solution.
How Melbourne Water derives value from Sensei’s solution:
- Melbourne Water now successfully manages more than 4,000 projects, 600 resources, and 74,000 tasks across the portfolio using Project Online.
- Using Sensei’s Integration Hub, Melbourne Water integrates data from three line of business systems into the Reporting Hub and Project Online, to the tune of 72 individually defined integration flows.
- Sensei’s Reporting Hub helps Melbourne Water keep informed by executing 3,800 real-time reports every week on project related information via Excel, SSRS and Power BI.
- Using Sensei’s app – Project Sync for Word – Melbourne Water users automatically sync Word documents with the latest data from Project Online at a pace of over 400 documents per week.
- Sensei’s Monte Carlo app statistically simulates project cost and risk scenarios to predict Melbourne Water’s project budgets to a 95% probability.
- Sensei’s Finance Hub app improves Melbourne Water’s capability to effectively govern the financial performance of its projects by providing complete visibility over project financials.
How Microsoft PPM is Charting Melbourne Water’s Future.
Chief Financial Officer, Anthony O’Shannessy was not shy when asked how important Sensei’s solution is to Melbourne Water’s overall success, “The implementation of a single project portfolio management system has elevated our discussions from siloed business unit discussions based around multiple individual systems, to whole of business discussions based on a single integrated system and a single source of truth.”
Improved the number of projects delivered on time and on budget
Before the real-time visibility afforded by Microsoft PPM, Melbourne Water wasn’t able to predict portfolio underspend until it was too late to react. Since the company began using Microsoft PPM, increased portfolio visibility has enabled Melbourne Water to utilise funds more effectively and enhance life and liveability for the community of Melbourne. “We used to have multiple individual solutions in the business. Now we have one overarching tool that gives us complete visibility across the organisation, enabling us to decide on where the best investments are and how to spend the public money wisely,” said Anthony O’Shannessy, Chief Financial Officer of Melbourne Water.
Reduced time spent on administrative tasks
Project Managers no longer have to chase down employees, deep dive into multiple spreadsheets, or track down emails to know a project’s status. Due to increased visibility through Microsoft PPM, Melbourne Water reduced the time spent on resource allocation and other administrative tasks. Today, Melbourne Water has the ability to view resources, tasks, and project specs at the push of a button.
Portfolio performance at their fingertips
Before Sensei’s solution was implemented, employees at Melbourne were managing projects across four systems, which did not enable them to prioritise their portfolio of work. Today, they know at-a-glance where they should best invest capital resources in a manner aligned to the organisation’s strategic direction and customer expectations.
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