Project resource management
Project resources within arm's reach
Tata Consulting Engineers Limited deployed a project resources
management solution to keep project management information and other resources
within arms reach. Here's how they did it. by Soutiman Das Gupta
Tata Consulting Engineers Limited (TCEL) was overcome by a
pressing business need. It had to streamline communications flow across the
company and provide an organizational view of its projects and operations. Since
each of the numerous projects was assigned teams and resources that operated
in separate silos, it was difficult to manage project resources and follow a
'projectized' model to deliver services to clients. It deployed a solution called
ProjectByNet (PBN), which “allowed the company a number of benefits like project
initiation, project planning and scheduling, and task-based allocation of work
to resources. It also gave the company the ability to map the existing project
processes,” said Prashant Navalkar, Senior Engineer - Electrical at TCEL.
Legacy creates a burden
TCEL, an ISO 9001 certified subsidiary of Tata Sons Limited,
employs 700 nationwide personnel and performs a number of services like pre-project
activities, design engineering, procurement assistance, project management and
co-ordination, inspection and expediting, construction supervision, and commissioning
assistance. The company used legacy software applications for its man-day control
systems, and project tracking and scheduling. These applications were stand-alone
in nature and created data silos with no real-time access capabilities. “It
was tedious and time-consuming to generate MIS reports from these legacy applications,
and the reliability of the information was doubtful. At times the same information
had to be entered separately into each application since these systems were
not based on an RDBMS. The systems had issues of scalability and security. Thus,
we needed to have an RDBMS-based project tracking, monitoring, and scheduling
system,” explained Navalkar.
Based on the past experiences with stand-alone systems and
solutions, the company decided to use an integrated solution. “We evaluated
an ERP application called IFS (a UK-based company), which included the Project
Management module. We chose PBN, which was provided by Compulink since it met
our business requirements in a cost effective manner,” said Navalkar. “TCEL
also had to consider whether to build the solution in-house or to procure an
existing solution. But it decided that it was best to procure an available solution
from the market,” explained Uday Kothari, CIO, Compulink Systems.
PBN at TCEL
The company performed a systems study, based on which it
made an integration plan, followed by a process of applications engineering.
It took between 18 and 20 months from the system requirement study to the training
of users. A core team of four personnel from TCEL and a team of five from Compulink
headed by a Project Manager were dedicated for the deployment of PBN.
How it helped
The company has already received most of the following benefits.
And after all the legacy applications will migrate, the company expects more
- The solution provides an easy user interface for routine tasks like time
booking, authentication of timesheets, and preparation of project timesheets.
- It allows online generation of project invoices and tracking of payments.
l manpower planning can be made according to competency levels.
- Project managers can get online and real-time project accruals, project
expenses, and profit & loss reports through integration with a finance package.
- Online project information can be shared with customers and vendors. l
Resource utilization can be planned group-wise, office-wise, and at a corporate
- Knowledge management processes can be used to capture and retrieve data
from projects related to site problems, document reviews, and compliance reports.
Other operations like resource planning and allocation, and
quality processes can be handled with the help of additional modules.
Other than the involvement of the IT team at TCEL, a few
extra resources were needed. A system administrator has been deployed at the
data center in TCEL's Worli (Mumbai) office to take care of the daily administration
needs. Two dedicated servers, one for Web applications and the other for the
database have been set up at the data center. A VPN connects TCEL offices in
Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, and New Delhi.
“The greatest challenge was to get users to shed the mindset
that accompanied the use of legacy software. We had to arrange training for
700 nationwide users in a short time,” said Navalkar. “The roll-out process
at all the nationwide locations was also a mammoth effort,” he added. In the
entire process the IT team gained a considerable amount of experience and knowledge
in the areas of deployment and roll-out of hardware, software, and networks.
Personnel from Compulink carried out initial rounds of training, and an in-house
team held subsequent training sessions for TCEL's engineers.
Taking it on in future
“We will deploy resource allocation and forecasting modules
that will help TCEL utilize its most important assets and its engineering workforce
in a more effective manner. We also plan to implement a quality process pack,”
said Navalkar. The solution will also allow TCEL to comply with the specifications
laid down by the Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM). TBEM is a complete visibility
model based on parameters like project status, customer satisfaction, employee
satisfaction, and responsiveness of the task. Executives need to monitor these
parameters on a real-time basis to ensure TBEM compliance. The company aims
to meet the terms of the model within the next few months.
Soutiman Das Gupta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tata Consulting Engineers
Limited (TCEL), an ISO 9001 certified subsidiary of Tata Sons Limited,
employs 700 personnel and performs services like pre-project activities,
design engineering, procurement assistance, project management and co-ordination,
inspection and expediting, construction supervision, and commissioning
Since each of the numerous
projects used teams and resources that operated in separate silos, it
was difficult to manage project resources and follow an integrated model
to deliver services to clients.
It deployed a solution called
ProjectByNet (PBN) from Compulink Systems.
The solution allowed the
company benefits like project initiation, project planning and scheduling,
and task-based allocation of work to resources. It also gave the company
the ability to map the existing project processes.