PlanView: Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold
Goldilocks might have been trespassing, but she knew her comfort zone. PlanView's customers seem to have found the same satisfaction with a tool that treats their resources just right. One major advantage, says AIB Banks' Steve Lynott, is PlanView's flexibility. His staff can engage the software "at whatever level we want." Some units are "using it almost exclusively for time recording, and others for full project management"which means "we go 'the full Monty' in terms of detailed phase and task activity." With PlanView, says Wausau Benefits' Bob Wiederhoeft, "You're allowed the degree of depth on a project that you'd like."
PlanView's "not complicated to use," Lynott says, "but getting it right the first time can save a lot of hardship. The initial consultant from PlanView really needs to know your business and to have a number of successful implementations under their belt." And you'd better like what's in the box. "They won't customize for an individual customer," he says. "They'll take customer requirements and bring them out in a release."
BancTec's Paul Evans finds "some of the project-management aspects are good, but for the accounting system you have to go elsewhere." That's OK, he says, because with PlanView, "I can control how data affects my budgets."
"Once you understand how you want to set your views and how you navigate around the site, you can get at exactly what you want," says Connecticut's Eric Lindquist. "If you miss that concept, you could struggle with it for a while."
Aqera's Rob Silk found "irritating little problems which can be worked around but need tidying up in a future release." Lynott agreed that technical snags were "more 'niggles' rather than anything else." For example, "the system has an irritating but very effective habit of sending an e-mail if you haven't sent a time report on a weekly basis. When we brought a new user on, the software looked at the system-implementation date rather than the user's start date ... and immediately zapped 52 e-mails out. So there was a fix for that."
But the help wasn't local. "We found the client support too patchy, but over the past six months it seems to have improved," says Silk. "Support capability in Europe was not as good as in the U.S.," says Lynott. "If one more [support] person asked me to send a screen dump, I would've used Irish language in the matter." But PlanView "actually delivers what it promised to deliver." And that beats a bowl of cold porridge.
8300 North Mopac #100, Austin, Tx 78759
Ticker: Private; founded 1989
Employees: 195 worldwide
An early proponent of the resource-centric view of enterprise project management, he designed three other systems before PlanView. Has a degree in aeronautics.
His background includes stints in consulting and aerospace. Credited with the revamping of sales processes and the resulting jump in sales revenue.
VP, Customer Service
Responsible for the Professional Services Group and Customer Support teams. Tied staff compensation to the results of customer-satisfaction surveys.
Work and Resource Management integrates with Microsoft Project. Also offers tools called Prisms Processes for I.T. and Portfolio Management.
State of Connecticut
Director, Customer Relations
Project: The state selected PlanView in 2001 over Artemis and Primavera (among others), mainly for its workflow and document-management capabilities.
Project: Provider of business systems for the financial-services sector relies on PlanView 7.2 primarily for project planning and time recording, and to maintain the company's skills register.
Project: The financial-transactions company uses Microsoft Project to produce schedules, but relies on PlanView 6 in Europe for project costing and time reporting.
Manager, I.T. Project Office
Project: PlanView replaced a mainframe-based system at the financial-services company, which now uses the software for portfolio management as well as project management.
Project: The medical-benefits administrator uses PlanView primarily as a time-capture tool for its activity-based costing system.
Head of Investment Value Management
Project: The Dublin-based bank deployed 7.1 in phases, beginning with an easily accessible time- reporting function over an intranet. Smaller projects use just planning and delivery functions.
Executives listed here are all users of PlanView software. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.