North Carolina gets its IT portfolio under control

The Project Management Office of North Carolina’s Office of Information Technology Services manages a portfolio of $30 million to $40 million in IT projects and operations and maintenance jobs. But it lacked a comprehensive view of the projects, which affected its productivity.

Four years ago, the PMO installed project management software to save money, increase productivity and accelerate the procurement process, replacing a number of separate state IT project management services.

An important part of bringing these separate units together was gaining better control of resource management to run the business processes more efficiently, said Robert Pietras, the PMO’s manager.

After evaluating a number of software vendors, the office selected the cloud-based IT Governance Solution software by Innotas, which included project portfolio and application portfolio management capabilities.

There were three major requirements that the PMO was looking for in an IT project management software system:

  • Project and portfolio management capability to direct efficiencies and visibility.
  • Scalability.
  • Services and support.

Since the software has been in place, Pietras estimated, the state has saved more than $129,000 annually. The latest version of the software can score projects against an agency’s strategic goals. For example, it can highlight risks and goals for an organization. The tool also allows users to create projects with templates.

Before the new system, users had to access multiple sources to get information. With the Innotas software, all of this data is in one place, Pietras said. Project teams can send each other links to different pages. Users also can update project risks and provide automatic updates on changes. The project management system helps the PMO by providing transparency and data, he said.

The template feature allows users to create dashboards to view IT projects. Pietras said the PMO conducts strategic and tactical project management. The tactical branch of the office consists of 15 project managers running 30 to 35 projects at a time. The office can also perform program management as a service for other state government agencies. “It’s a good place to keep everything nice and consistent,” he said.

The Innotas software has a small footprint and allows users to export data to other projects, which allows both flexibility and scalability, he said.

The PMO has been using the tool for a year and a half. There are 250 user licenses in the system consisting of team members and program managers who use the software daily.

In the future, Pietras said he sees use of the project management tool expanding, with more users and more efficiency in the system. One challenge is getting smaller agencies to use the tool, especially agency CIOs, Pietras said. For example, the PMO is testing projects with the state’s Industrial Emissions Office and the Office of Personnel, which have small internal IT shops. “You can pretty much treat your program as a project,” he said.

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