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The SharpCloud Blog

The SharpCloud team share their insights into visual roadmapping, dynamic presentations and the project planning process

Meet SharpCloud for Project Management Pathfinder, Nathan Dillon, from Thermo Fisher

"SharpCloud is reducing a lot of headaches by saving time, improving collaboration and increasing process efficiency, which is resulting in more informed business decisions across our Project Portfolio."

 - Nathan Dillon, IT Project Manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific

 

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Nathan talks about how SharpCloud is helping him to improve collaboration, increase accountability and productivity and ultimately drive better results across projects.

The business problem

Our IT Project Management Office needed a solution for collaborative roadmapping and portfolio management. We required a tool that could show incoming project demand and inter-dependencies, so that we could make decisions on prioritization and mitigate risks of resource consumption across our portfolio.

Although HP’s Project Portfolio Management software (HP PPM) is our 'go to' technology for managing our active project’s, it was really difficult to actually show the project amends, what was coming up and what projects to approve or prioritise and that’s where SharpCloud helped us to manage this.

We’ve been using HP PPM for a number of years and using Query Connect to connect the database to SharpCloud, which has been very helpful and is adding value to the process.

Why have other tools not solved this problem?

Other tools required too much overhead to create roadmap items and lacked an effective ability to visually depict our roadmap and portfolio. With HP PPM you have the ability to enter proposals, which we could call Roadmap items but you have to complete a proposal for every item which is time consuming, whereas with SharpCloud we were able to use ‘items’ for our roadmap items and add new ones easily. 

In addition, other tools did not present successful means to collaborate across different functions of Thermo Fisher Scientific. We explored Power BI which is great for showing the granular details but not necessarily the high-level portfolio view we were looking for.

How is SharpCloud solving the problem?

Our executive IT leadership team now meets on a monthly basis to review the roadmap and portfolio in SharpCloud. We review the project dashboard and make real-time updates during the meeting, leading to more fluid communication and more informed and efficient business decisions. 

When pulling together our strategic landscape, the data is coming from a combination of HP PPM and Excel. Before SharpCloud, we were using Excel to work through our Roadmap, but with a big team, version control often became as issue, causing confusion.

Now with SharpCloud, we have one dashboard accessible to all, showing the roadmap items and our active projects. The active projects are pulling data from HP PPM but as the roadmap items don’t exist there, they are created directly in SharpCloud. We meet monthly and it’s our one source of truth for our Roadmap, which everyone can use and update. 

SharpCloud is more of a business tool, and through collaboration and corporate knowledge, we are creating data in SharpCloud which doesn’t exist anywhere else. Access to SharpCloud is not restricted so we are able to share our dashboard with many of our business partners who then have insight into what we’re working on in IT.

What are the key differentiators that set SharpCloud apart from other tools you have used?

SharpCloud’s partnership with Microsoft Azure was a big differentiator, as it granted single sign-on viewer access for all our O365 employees. Moreover, SharpCloud’s Query Connect was a game-changer, as it enabled us to establish data syncs across varied databases, thereby reducing duplicative work and ensuring data transparency in a powerful way.

Overall we really appreciate the visual aesthetics and customisation SharpCloud provides. If we want to show our Roadmap regionally we can use the map feature or we can show it on a timeline, so that level of customisation and being able to change the views is really great and it’s so easy to show a story.

At the very least, everyone in the company has viewer access which is really great and the single sign on capability is so convenient.

What are the benefits of using SharpCloud?

SharpCloud has really benefited me personally as a project manager. It helps to get everyone on the same page, so not only do we use it within our project management office as a tool for roadmapping, I now use SharpCloud for project planning. I build dashboards to show the status of project tasks and milestones, which can be easily updated by project team members. This results in increased accountability and productivity, ultimately driving better results across the project.

Quantifiable results 

Since SharpCloud is still relatively new to our Project Management Office, we have not been able to quantify the benefits, but it's fair to say SharpCloud is reducing a lot of headaches, saving time, improving collaboration and increasing process efficiency which is resulting in more informed business decisions.  

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