Office 2003 proves exacting success at Telecom unit

Microsoft's Office 2003 had been advantageous for Telecom Advanced Solutions, which has used some features of the package to improve its project management process.

Microsoft’s Office 2003 had been advantageous for Telecom Advanced Solutions, which has used some features of the package to improve its project management process.

However, Heather Fryer, Telecom Advanced Solutions’ project service manager, speaking at the product’s launch last week, says the benefits will only flow if organisations looking to deploy the project management features are clear about what they want to achieve.

“We run a large number of concurrent projects, more than 100, and we found it difficult to keep track of where projects were up to.”

After a software solution was decided on and various products assessed, Microsoft Office’s Microsoft Project Server 2002 was chosen.

“It met most of our requirements, but needed some development in project and programme management, risk management and change management.”

The customised product was recently upgraded to Project Server 2003.

While Telecom Advanced Solutions is seeing benefits such as better resource allocation and information sharing, the path from initial evaluation has been far from pain-free, Fryer says.

“Contrary to Microsoft’s marketing, it’s not a case of installing the software and the problem will be solved. You need to retrain people because it’s a different way of working. People need to understand that.”

A key to the success of an implementation is to take it slowly and lay down clear guidelines as to what you want and don’t want improved. “Do a pilot and a gradual rollout.”

It’s taken several months for Telecom Advanced Solutions to get where it is, “and we’ve still got a long way to go”.

Future plans include looking at process improvements.

During the initial search for a product, i-tools was considered, Fryer said in a subsequent interview, but Project Server was decided on because of its one-stop shop nature.

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