How to Maximize the Value of your Oracle Primavera P6 Investment
So, you’ve made an investment in Oracle Primavera P6. Now what?
While Oracle Primavera P6 has a ton of functionality, its’ superpower is scheduling and resource management. It’s truly a best-in-class project management tool. The product is used by all types of organizations in both the private and public sectors, across the globe. If the projects being managed are critical or complex and capital intensive, the odds are tremendously high Oracle Primavera P6 is being used. You can use Primavera to manage any project, large, small, complex, simple, capital intensive or not. The key is investing in the right things to ensure you get the results you need and the return on your investment.
You might be asking; how do I maximize the benefits of Oracle Primavera P6? Let me start by saying; it depends. You knew I was going to say it. Regardless of what processes you’re trying to improve or what functionality you’ll be using, the wisest investments should go to the following:
Conquer The Implementation
It’s important to set up the system properly. Implementing enterprise scalable technology can be daunting. It’s smart to start by using someone who has been there and done it. If you happen to have a Certified Oracle Primavera Implementation Consultant who has implemented the tool several times working for your organization, dedicate them to the implementation and deployment of the product. If not, go outside and seek advisement, it will be worth every dime.
If you need to go outside your organization, bring someone in that has been successful implementing Oracle Primavera P6 for many types of businesses and have gained wisdom from the experience. These organizations specialize in Oracle Primavera P6 and do this for a living. This is no different than any other type of application, whether it’s a CRM or an ERP system. You want someone who understands the processes that are being improved by the tool, someone who knows the nuances of the application, and someone who has been trained in change management. No matter how small or big your organization is, it’s still a change that needs to be managed.
Configuring the system, along with training the users and stakeholders are the most critical parts of the implementation process. The configuration of the systems determines what you’re able to get out of the system, as well as many other things such as security and preferences. The good news is, if you’ve already implemented the system and isn’t working to your satisfaction, it can be reconfigured to meet your needs. But it takes someone who knows the application extremely well, and who can pull the requirements from the stakeholders.
If you are a small organization, where you only have a few users or your organization’s success isn’t tied directly to the project’s you’re delivering, you can get away with just a configuration workshop and some training. But, if you are a large organization with many users, managing complex projects, or your organization’s success is tied to the success of the project’s your managing, it may be best to go through a more formal implementation. Engaging assistance from someone with a high level of process, functional and technical expertise is critical for these types of initiatives.
Invest in Training
Oracle Primavera P6 is a comprehensive tool that provides decision-makers with the information they need to make critical decisions. But the key is enabling the people using the tool. Whether you are a project manager, engineer, scheduler, or otherwise involved in project planning, management, or reporting; it’s important that you acquire the skills necessary to maximize the software’s potential.
There is probably no more economical way to increase the accuracy and timeliness of your data and keeping your user turnover low, than to train the users. Invest in your people.
The most effective way to train your users is to have a private class that combines the processes, and detail work instructions with the Oracle Primavera P6 functionality. This way they will understand the – who, what, when, where, how, and why of the processes. They will be ready to immediately add value.
However, this can be expensive because you’ll have to customize the training material. Taking a private or public course from an Oracle University Approved Education Provider is another great option.
The best method is to combine an instructor lead course, followed up with some online training. However, before training someone, it is best to test them first, to get a baseline, and then test them again after their instructor-led course, then again after the first online course. This way you can see the improvement of the students. Then, they can focus on the areas where they need improvement. This is no different than any other type of education. Keep in mind, the more the users go back to the online course, the more they’ll retain.
The more the users have been trained, the more value they bring to the organization. Additionally, they realize the company has invested in them. They get to learn more and are generally happier employees. Not only will your employee turnover rate go down, but now you have people who can enable others on the system as the organization naturally ebbs and flows.
Provide Technical and Functional Support
Yes, support is required when rolling out a new application. However, most organizations use IT professionals. While that will suffice for some technical dilemmas, it won’t suffice for functional issues. The last thing an organization needs is a valuable resource being hindered and unproductive because they can’t get the help they need when they need it.
Either appoint someone who is an expert in the tool to be the point of contact for your users or go to the outside to outsource the function. Going to the right partner can save you time and money. If the partner is qualified, they should know the application inside and out, and have both Oracle Primavera P6 technical and functional SMEs on staff that can help. An organization who understands the operating systems, databases, the P6 schema, who have configured the system and have trained users.
Maintain The Infrastructure
Oracle Primavera P6 EPPM can be a challenge to install correctly and manage. There are major releases once a year and minor releases nearly every month. It’s important these releases are tested before being installed. Sometimes there are security gaps being filled, or bug fixes, and sometimes new functionality that would benefit the organization is added.
It’s also important, that the hardware is optimized. The allocation of CPU and RAM can make a difference on how the application performs. Knowing the needs of the P6 Professional Client and the Web based P6 EPPM can make a difference. There are also technical configuration settings that need to be set correctly for the application to perform. You also need to watch certain files that will grow out of control if not managed properly.
Going to the cloud is an economic option. The cloud enables you better access to manage and scale your system infrastructure needs. A lot of people go to Amazon, Azure or Google. However, the best approach may be to outsource the hosting to a managed service provider, especially one who has the technical and functional expertise of Oracle Primavera P6. It may be more economical. These providers are sharing resources across many customers, using the same application expertise and can provide the needed application support on demand. Most IT departments don’t know Oracle Primavera P6 or understand the operating system and database as technology goes. Also, these teams are split among several applications making them a specialist in IT, but a generalist when it comes to the applications they support. It would be better to focus IT on the most critical applications that run the companies’ operations and financials.
Gain Visibility Through Executive Dashboards
While schedulers and PM’s have Oracle Primavera P6 to analyze the schedule and resource information, executives need the data that comes out of the system to make critical decisions. The reporting in Primavera P6 EPPM is good, however, you really need to know what you are looking at and how to get it when you need it. Most executives, we’ve encountered aren’t interested in learning Oracle Primavera P6 or even learning how to navigate it to get the reports they need. This means, they are dependent on others to extract the right information at the right time and put it into a format they’ll easily understand. An executive’s attention is hard to come by, so you need to ensure the data is not only easy to understand but also engaging.
Some executives are provided power point slides put together by someone else or a team. They are pulling information out of P6, graphs or summary information and putting it in a slide deck they’ll distribute to the key stakeholders. Sometimes these reports come in a Microsoft Excel worksheet, sometimes with charts and graphs, sometimes they are just narratives in a Microsoft Word file.
If a company is innovative and forward thinking and understands the value of good information, they are probably using some type of dashboards. Most are using Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Sisense, or something similar.
Some have opted to purchase P6 Analytics. What’s great about it is, it comes with some pre-built dashboards and the data is configured to be easier to get to so you can build some additional charts if needed. There is a price to pay for this convenience though. If you want to tie it to any other outside data sources besides Oracle Primavera P6, you’ll need to invest in Oracle OBIEE. Now there is a better choice, called ProjectInfoCenter.
Of course, going to a dashboarding tool makes a lot of sense. If done right, it should be a point and inform type of experience. Management should be able to view their entire Project Portfolio data from one dashboard to see how they’re performing and drill into the projects that need attention.
The Project Dashboard should enable you to check out the cost, schedule, and risk performance. Easily drill down through the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to get to the root of any problem. View detail metrics that are critical to an integrity-based schedule, and much more.
- Instant insights to information you need
- Easy to understand
- Point and inform interface
- What-if analysis
To wrap this up, keep in mind, if you’re organization’s success is tied to the projects you’re managing, you need to make sure you have the right system to manage it. Investments in your project management system (people, process & technology), make a lot of sense. Because, if done right, it will provide you the insight to make data driven decisions. Yes, we all need to use the wisdom earned from our experiences to validate the data. Make a commitment to yourself and your team to quit using your gut as your primary source for decision making.
Make the system do what it’s supposed to do and be a decision support tool for you and your organization.
To maximize the value of your Oracle Primavera P6 solution, you’ll need continue to invest in the following:
- Executive Reporting
As we say in Texas, GO GET EM!