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Via Christi Health, owned by Ascension Health, is the largest provider of healthcare services in Kansas. It owns or manages 12 hospitals and 15 senior villages and nursing homes throughout Kansas, where it employs more than 10,000 people, including 300 doctors and 117 mid-level providers. In a recent fiscal year, Via Christi Health provided $77.8 million in benefit to the communities it serves. The Project Management Office (PMO) within Via Christi Health is charged with managing many vital projects related to the organization’s mission which includes “transformation through innovation across the continuum of care.” Accordingly, many ongoing projects in the healthcare organization—related to innovation—have a technology aspect that is executed by the Information Technology (IT) department under the guidance of the Chief Information Officer (CIO).
Reducing the amount of overwhelm related to a large influx of projects
The PMO and IT department had been experiencing an enormous amount of overwhelm due to a history of accepting more projects beyond its ability to perform. The level of demand on resources—as it relates to total capacity—could not easily be reduced to manageable metrics for quick decision making.
When staff time was being tracked, there were concerns about the accuracy of the effort. Managers also complained that existing reporting was way too difficult to use. Moreover, the organization was nearing the completion of a large ERP application deployment that had taken resources away from other in-flight projects. The time was rapidly approaching where the PMO felt it needed some type of technology to reduce the overwhelm and set a new course for managing projects and resource utilization in a more centralized manner.
Implement Microsoft Project Server to centralize all efforts
After conducting some preliminary research, Via Christi Health asked EPM Solutions to provide technology that could be used to get the IT department back on track while reducing the staff’s consistent levels of overwhelm. It was also important the technology be delivered as quickly as possible.
EPM Solutions recommended a “FasTrack™ approach to deploying Microsoft Project Server on premise. FasTrack is an implementation methodology developed by EPM Solutions that allows us to deliver a ready-to-go Microsoft enterprise project solution up to 70% quicker.
Via Christi approved the recommendation, and EPM Solutions immediately configured a server using Microsoft PPM technology. In a short period, the healthcare organization had a fully functioning Project Server. Kent Koehler, the PMO Director at Via Christi, said “EPM Solutions provided services in a timely and professional manner.”
The new Project Server enabled Via Christi to immediately centralize all its project efforts for the IT department. It also allowed the PMO to get a better grasp on the overall demand for effort as compared to the capacity levels of staff. This allowed the organization to understand the true levels of overallocation it was experiencing like never before. From this understanding, they were better able to make informed decisions about resource utilization for the existing portfolio of projects.
Along with the Project Server, EPM Solutions supplied automated business intelligence solutions that allowed Via Christi to more easily generate legacy reports while leveraging all the data captured in their new system.
Kent Koehler said that EPM Solutions “provided our scope completely without any change requests.” He further added, “The work was being done during a time of change for our organization, and EPM Solutions was flexible and accommodating.”
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