Thomas Cook is a £7.8 billion hospitality and tourism company consisting of almost 22,000 employees. It is a leader in its 15 core markets across the globe in Continental Europe, Northern Europe, the UK and Ireland. As a professional services provider in the tourism industry, Thomas Cook projects are varied, typically lasting 6-18 months. After a major transformation program there existed a variety of independent tools and local data repositories that were used to execute and report projects in different areas of the company. These tools captured and reported information at different levels of granularity which resulted in large overheads in collating, normalizing and reporting for the PMO and finance teams. Fundamentally the companies’ ability to be able to monitor and exert control over project investment, execution and value realization was being hampered by the absence of a consolidated enterprise-wide PPM tool.

Standardized Reporting with KeyedIn 
For the many different types of services Thomas Cook manages across its industries, KeyedIn Projects had to ensure a new, big-picture view. “Our requirement was to have a centralized, cloud-based solution to help standardize our processes and speed access to project information. For example, Group IT reports were taking too long, delaying our timescales to complete the review process and publish progress,” said Group IT PMO Practice Lead Tony Muller.

When evaluating solutions, Thomas Cook needed:

  • A single source of the truth across the whole portfolio
  • A unified PM system gained from distributed , unaligned systems
  • Real-time information to gain visibility and speedy reporting
  • A flexible and dynamic solution to master different currencies, languages and legal structures and coordinate these centrally, in a user-friendly way, to drive and provide consistency
“We decided to go with KeyedIn Projects because of its superior Management Information (MI), ease of use, and strong Resource Management and Capacity Planning functions. It was also an extremely pleasant sales and discovery process with their teams who tailored presentations and activities around our needs—it was never about high-pressure sales,” said Mr Muller. “We looked at business requirements, security, and everything our IT leaders had on their wish list was included as we vetted almost 200 PM vendors to get to KeyedIn Projects,” Mr Muller added.

The Solution 

KeyedIn’s cloud-based/SaaS solution had all of the features and functionality required to handle these challenges. Yet, the portfolio managers needed to educate stakeholders and gain consensus across many departments. Reporting was a potential issue among these groups—how could their new PM tool help foster a culture of control while enabling the needed changes?

“We were looking for a long-term relationship. We knew we needed help. We wanted to be able to work with KeyedIn and ensure we could configure what we needed without too much work and that it would fit into our environment and our culture,” said Mr Muller. “KeyedIn Projects was prepared, flexible and responsive,”.

A train-the-trainer approach worked as a first step: KeyedIn held a workshop series for executives and a select subset of 1,000 users. This was crucial to gain a common understanding of resourcing, finance and program management.

“During the planning phase and throughout the pilot, we were able to focus on what our executives needed in their dashboards to ensure the right metrics were included,” Mr Muller added. “This hands-on support went a long way in training our people and also in proving to us that we had chosen the right PM software partner.”

Thomas Cook Group uses KeyedIn Projects features to gain control, visibility, and to know when and where in the world they have chosen the right project with the right resources for the right reasons. They did so by:

  • Implementing forecasting and budget tracking to make better portfolio decisions before and during projects
  • Managing milestones and deliverables on a user-friendly dashboard more accurately in real-time and among every project in the company
  • Gaining strategic resource management capabilities that captured the entire portfolio
  • Empowering better governance and risk/issues management
  • Establishing real-time project management to manage dependencies across projects and to understand the interplay of projects across time and across teams

KeyedIn Projects is projected to improve the speed of reporting by at least 50%. This is important because employing a centralised and mobile-ready portal will help the PMO track progress and ensure reports and analyses enable continuous improvement. Finally, best practices in governance, standards and conduct can now be instituted across all project teams.

“The tool is flexible enough to allow different standards and workflows to live side-byside in the portfolio. It integrates nicely with our SAP financial systems and was easy for users to adopt,” said Mr Muller.

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