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Software Engineering Firm Improves Workflow, Streamlines Project Management
Microsoft Project Server 2010
Customer Solution Case Study
Software Engineering Firm Improves Workflow, Streamlines Project Management
Country or Region: Israel
Industry: Professional servicesSoftware engineering
Based in Raanana, Israel, Amdocs designs customer experience systems for customers worldwide. Amdocs has approximately 17,500 employees and operates in more than 60 countries.
Amdocs wanted to administer its software engineering processes more efficiently, but employees were spread across multiple locations and used different management tools.
Amdocs simplified project management with Microsoft Project Server 2010 and extended the solution by connecting it with Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server.
Speeds deployment by more than 50 percent
Reduces total cost of ownership
Improves workflow with familiar interface
If we want to open a file from an older version in Project Server 2010, we just open it, save it and it works immediately. There are no migration problems, no conversion issues, and no errors.
Tomer Simon, IT Development Manager, Amdocs
Amdocs, a global provider of customer experience systems, wanted to help its IT teams work more efficiently. Project management was particularly challenging because teams worked in multiple locations and used different software development models. To improve workflow, Amdocs is standardizing its application life-cycle management processes with Microsoft Project Server 2010. It is also integrating the solution with Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server and Exchange Server 2007. IT administrators benefit from deployment that is more than 50 percent faster, and Amdocs expects to cut costs by streamlining project management. Employees have Web-based access from almost any location and work more easily with a familiar interface. Managers now have better project visibility, and the company can extend the centralized solution to include more users and applications.
Based in Raanana, Israel, Amdocs designs customer experience systems to help companies manage their business processes more efficiently. It also offers an array of consulting, technology, and product support services. Amdocs has approximately 17,500 employees, who serve its customers in more than 60 countries.
Amdocs wanted to improve the workflow for its own IT staff, which was also spread across diverse locations. For example, the team that handled application life-cycle management (ALM) was based in Israel, and the research and development and product delivery teams were located in India and the United States. In addition to working in different time zones, the IT teams used a variety of project management methodologies and tools, including Scrum for agile software development, the Waterfall development model, and Microsoft Office Project Server 2007. Also, all of the IT groups were using Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Enterprise Edition and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for collaboration along with Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server for application life-cycle management.
It was more like a mix-and-match than a methodology, says Tomer Simon, IT Development Manager at Amdocs. It was hard to get an accurate status report. We had difficulty knowing exactly how much work remained, and, as a result, how close we were to meeting a deadline. Resource planning was also a big problem.
Amdocs wanted a solution that would connect its infrastructure and its project teams in multiple locations. We were looking for a platform that could provide a single view of all of the other systems in one place, including information about a projects development status, change configuration, and resources, says Simon. We were looking for one solution that could handle almost everything.
The companys ALM team in Israel had used Microsoft Office Project Server since the product was first released. The team planned to upgrade as usual to the next versionMicrosoft Project Server 2010. But when it learned more about Project Server 2010, it realized it could use the solution to standardize project management for multiple IT teams.
Because Project Server 2010 is built on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Amdocs would be able to implement a unified project and portfolio management solution that includes the familiar SharePoint Server 2010 user interface, a common data store, and enhanced business intelligence and reporting tools. Equally important, Amdocs could take advantage of the comprehensive application programming interface to integrate the solution with other applications.
Amdocs successfully completed a pilot project with Project Server 2010 and began deploying the solution in its production environment in December 2009. Orantech Technologies, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, used its ProjectParty software to connect Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server with Project Server 2010. Orantech is also helping with ongoing implementation and training, and Amdocs expected to roll the solution out enterprisewide by April 2010.
In addition to Team Foundation Server, Amdocs integrated Project Server 2010 with Exchange Server 2007 so that employees would be able to update tasks in the Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 messaging and collaboration client. It is also implementing Microsoft Business Intelligence tools such as Excel Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. Simon says, Because Project Server 2010 is based on SharePoint Server 2010 and weve integrated it with Team Foundation Server, we can play around with different Web Parts and create a site that shows us the status from multiple systems on one platform.
Assaf Leibovitch, Senior Developer at Amdocs, adds, From a developers point of view, deploying Project Server 2010 was very intuitive. The doc (The biggest benefits of Project Server 2010 are the improved visibility and the ability to use one tool to manage the entire process. I can quickly see the status or cost of a project.Tomer Simon, IT Development Manager, Amdocs)umentation from Microsoft was also specific and detailed, and if we follow the instructions, it just flows.
All Windows-based and Web-based client applications for Microsoft Project 2010 use the Project Server Interface, which is a set of Web services built on the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 and Windows Communication Foundation. Amdocs used the interface to integrate the customized applications it had designed for Office Project Server 2007. The company reports that the conversion went smoothly, with little effort required from developers.
ALM program managers in Israel typically work with the Microsoft Project Professional 2010 client. Amdocs is also using the new Project Server Interface to extend the solution to more users. For example, team leaders in India and other locations can use Microsoft Project Web App to connect through the Internet and edit projects. In addition, Amdocs uses Windows Communication Foundation to configure Web services that work with multiple communication protocols and connect with more applications.
With Project Server 2010, Amdocs can ease deployment and cut costs by simplifying administration. It has centralized project management, and connected more applications and employees.
Speeds Deployment by More Than 50 Percent
In the past, it could take Amdocs several days to upgrade Project Server and ensure that earlier projects would work with the new version. However, Amdocs can now deploy Project Server 2010 in less than a day. Its at least 50 percent faster to deploy Project Server 2010 compared with earlier versions, says Simon. We also needed an external vendor to help us before, but now we can do it ourselves.
Working with old projects from earlier versions is also easy. If we want to open a file from an older version in Project Server 2010, we just open it, save it, and thats itit works immediately, says Simon. In other words, there are no migration problems, no conversion issues, and no errors.
Reduces Total Cost of Ownership
Although Amdocs is still in the early stage of deployment, it already expects to cut costs by streamlining management. Before, Amdocs needed a dedicated administrator for Office Project Server 2007. Now, the administrator can focus on other projects. Because Project Server 2010 is built on SharePoint Server 2010, we only need one person to manage the shared infrastructure, says Simon.
The improvements with connectivity and the backward compatibility also make development faster and easier, because we have more options available, he continues. So it takes approximately 25 percent less time to design connectors or software that works with Project Server 2010, and the bottom line is that the process then becomes less costly.
Improves Workflow with Familiar Interface
By connecting Project Server 2010 with other applications such as Team Foundation Server, Amdocs IT development personnel can work more efficiently and gain better control of projects. As a manager, the biggest benefits of Project Server 2010 are the improved visi (Its at least 50 percent faster to deploy Project Server 2010 compared with earlier versions. We also needed an external vendor to help us before, but now we can do it ourselves.Tomer Simon, IT Development Manager, Amdocs)bility and the ability to use one tool to manage the entire process, says Simon. I can quickly see the status or cost of a project, without needing to extract information and manipulate it in another program.
The solution connects with applications that Amdocs relies on, and it also integrates more easily into employees workflow. As a result, they are more likely to take advantage of its capabilities. With its familiar interface, Project Server 2010 is easy to work with, even for a new user, says Simon. Its now much more intuitive and straightforward to just start planning.
Amdocs is using the new Project Server Interface to design a unified project and portfolio management solution that performs better and takes advantage of more resources. Simon says, We have a lot of servers out there, and we discovered that we can connect and extract data more easily with Project Server 2010 without worrying about protocol conversion or performance issues.
The company can also extend the solution and benefits of a connected infrastructure to more people. For example, Amdocs can use built-in features and technologies such as Microsoft Project Web App to facilitate Internet-based access for a growing number of employees. As a result, the company can increase scalability easier while taking advantage of its existing infrastructure.
Amdocs also has the flexibility it needs to integrate Project Server 2010 with other applications. As a result, team leaders working offsite or in remote locations can work with the same data repository and many of the same management tools as local employees. Leibovitch says, With Windows Communication Foundation support in Project Server 2010, we can scale up and out more easily.
(Software and ServicesMicrosoft Server Product PortfolioMicrosoft Exchange Server 2010Microsoft Project Server 2010Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010Microsoft Project Professional 2010Microsoft Visual StudioMicrosoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation ServerTechnologiesMicrosoft Project Web AppWindows Communication FoundationPartnerOrantech Technologies) (This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published May 2010) (For More InformationFor more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:www.microsoft.comFor more information about Orantech Technologies products and services, call 972-3-565-2097 or visit the Web site at: www.orantech-technologies.comFor more information about Amdocs products and services, call (314) 212-7000 or visit the Web site at: www.amdocs.com)Microsoft Project Server 2010
Microsoft Project Server 2010 brings together the business collaboration platform services of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 with structured execution capabilities to provide flexible work management solutions. Project Server 2010 unifies project and portfolio management to help organizations align resources and investments with business priorities, gain control across all types of work, and visualize performance through powerful dashboards.
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