SKF Business Consulting is a unit within SKF, providing consulting services for business development for the whole corporation. SKF Business Consulting have about 35 consultants. In 2006 SKF evaluated different project administration solutions and found that Planner Suite from Gislen Software provided most of the critical components required. Since then SKF has collaborated with Gislen Software to add and improve functionality to support more and more of SKF’s needs.
SKF Business Consulting provides consulting services to the whole SKF corporation. To manage and administrate this SKF until 2006, used a complicated system based on excel. However since the number of projects for both internal and external customers was increasing, it was decided that this was not a practical long term solution. SKF’s need differed from what was available in most standard products.
SKF Business Consulting needed a complete system where projects could be planned in a similar manner as in MS Project, time and status for each task should be possible to report, authorise and invoice. Invoicing needed to be flexible to manage the complex price structure where the price per hour may depend on a general role within SKF, with the project or per customer.
In addition, it should be possible to divide invoicing of the same project between different internal customers. SKF also wanted to implement its own forecast system where the consultants themselves apart from the hours which have been planned by the project leader, could report how they themselves expected to be booked. Data from these individual forecasts would then be aggregated into a complete picture which management could use to plan the booking and resource requirements.
Gislen Software had earlier developed a project management system called Planner Suite. This tool already provided a lot of the basic functionality SKF required. Apart from these SKF ordered the following customization and additions:
- Apart from the built-in planning tool, SKF also wanted to be able to import from and maintain projects in MS Project.
- Authorization of hours before invoicing
- Entry of business expenses such as travel and management of travel time
- Improved document management module
- Forecasting tool
- Misc. Management reports
- Elementary CRM functionality
- Invoicing module with ability to divide invoices between up to 3 different internal customers
- Sponsor management where sponsors are independent of customers. Sponsors may be individuals which move from different units within the SKF corporation
- Misc. Overview functions where the whole project portfolio can be analysed, people can be moved between projects and the booking level can be maximised
- Improved and more flexible access system, where access rights are determined both by general group and by role in each project
SKF has during the years we have collaborated specified scenarios for the functions they want. Gislen Software has then written detailed specifications where the solutions often have generalised to fit into the generic product whenever possible. Once SKF has approved the specified solutions, Gislen Software has developed them and delivered them to SKF. In addition, Gislen Software has also continuously in each iteration added other functions to the product
Planner Suite is a complete project management tool which provides a very broad functionality for project-oriented organisations which invoice their work per hour, per person or even fixed price. In the former cases, the main objective may be to ensure that all work is invoiced and in the latter that the budget is kept. The system gives a complete picture how every consultant, developer or other employees uses their time
Planner Suite is made up by a client and a server application. The database is SQL Server, the product only require the Express Edition but for a large installation, the more advanced versions are recommended). The product supports the full value chain for both consulting companies and other companies where tasks are planned in project plans and where proper follow-up is needed. The system supports template plans but can also be used in an environment where every plan is completely unique. For consulting companies the full value chain is supported; Projects are planned in GANTT diagrams, the resource can see which tasks are allocated to him or her, hours are reported in the time reporting module, project leader can authorize, finance department can invoice, and the product includes various reports and analysis tools to follow up and manage the whole project portfolio, including reviewing the allocation, follow up on how much time and result has been taken/achieved, manage travel expenses, travel time, forecast future resource requirements, CRM functionality, document management, including electronic signing of documents.
Planner Suite can be used over the Internet. A limited web version exists which provides time reporting and some of the reports.