02 June 2009 – Recession: the perfect time for project management


This economy’s not tough, it’s downright brutal. But for CIOs feeling the pressure to do more with less, this could be the perfect opportunity to spend some money on a key piece of business technology: an enterprise project management (EPM) tool.

EPM products help companies collect and make sense of data to facilitate governance and assess the status of projects in the business. EPM tools not only help plan and track existing projects, but also shape a portfolio of existing and future projects categorised by such criteria as budget size, schedule, or business line.

But despite the growing number of EPM solutions in the market, far too few South African companies are using these tools, says Tertius Zitzke, chief executive of the Pretoria-based solutions provider AccTech Systems. AccTech Systems is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and is the 2008 Microsoft Enterprise Project Management International finalist and rated as the leading EPM provider in Africa.

Forrester Research that suggests that operations gobble up to 75% of the average company’s IT budget. Zitzke believes that between 30 and 50 percent of the energy companies expend on operations is wasted through various inefficient process and poor decisions, providing an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate value.

“If you can prove that a R500 000 investment can eliminate R1.5 million of waste in your operation, you’ll get the go-ahead to spend the money,” says Zitzke, who says business is booming because project management applications are helping IT executives rationalise expenditures.

Sandie Overtveld, who heads business marketing at Microsoft South Africa, says before deploying an EPM system, many companies have project managers who are unaware of their colleagues’ activities, causing a lot of waste and duplication.

“CIOs are constantly being asked tough questions around their technology spend, so they have a very real interest in tools that can give senior managers a holistic view of operations that allows them to save time and money, and rationalise processes,” said Overtveld.

Before leasing and capital equipment group Eqstra Holdings embarked on its recent EPM initiative, information was discrete and project management wasn’t formalised.

“We’ve always followed stringent project management methodologies during our system delivery life cycle, but these were applied in an informal structure,” said Louis Volschenk, CIO at Eqstra. “The fact is most organisations experience changes in project deliverables and these scope changes lead to altered delivery dates ultimately altering the project outcomes. Now we can accurately predict the future effect of any changes in our operations.”

Eqstra opted for a Microsoft-based solution, AccTech’s EPM Compact, which saw the first components installed within days to start delivering meaningful returns almost immediately.

“This short implementation cycle, together with the fact that we were familiar with Microsoft products such as MS Project Professional, made solution and vendor selection an easy one,” said Volschenk.

“Our project delivery is now predictable and consistent. All parties involved in a project are now accountable for their actions which have lead to a dramatic increase in employee performance, reduction in late delivery and the most important factor, insight to the project life cycle.”

Editorial Contacts:

Nick Botha
Marketing Director: AccTech Systems
Tel: 0861-11-1680
Email: nb@acctech.biz