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Covance is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive drug development services companies. Through its nonclinical, clinical, and commercialization services, Covance helps pharmaceutical and biotech companies develop one-third of all prescription medicines in the market today. The company has a number of business units that serve different niches and stages in the drug development spectrum, such as nonclinical development, clinical development, periapproval, and market access.
The company’s IT department has multiple project management organizations (PMOs) that serve its business units. At any time, IT teams might be working on projects as diverse as clinical and laboratory data collection and management systems, data reporting systems, infrastructure and network upgrades, and enterprise resource planning initiatives. The company’s IT department uses a federated PMO model, which poses challenges, as the model requires a centralized process and tool set to ensure consistency and visibility across project portfolios.
Covance, a publicly traded company for more than 10 years, had grown organically and through acquisitions. Its legacy project management infrastructure did not have a strong governance methodology in place for the project portfolio process. In addition, Covance wanted to institute a staged-gate methodology―in which each project has to meet specified milestones and pass a review process before moving to the next phase―to enable stricter project portfolio governance.
After a thorough review, Covance worked with Oracle Partner Hyde Park Solutions to implement Oracle’s Primavera Portfolio Management to standardize the IT project portfolio governance processes. With the implementation, Covance strengthened project governance and supported its staged-gate process. It also enhanced project portfolio communication among stakeholders—including business sponsors, IT development, and IT operations—to improve outcomes and reduce the need for rework.
Additionally, Covance benefits by using Primavera Portfolio Management to improve the productivity of its staged-gate review meetings. It more than doubled the number of project reviews completed in every staged-gate meeting and instituted a nearly 100% paperless project portfolio review processes by providing a dashboard view of projects and conducting staged-gate reviews via Web conference sessions. Further, Covance expanded input from and collaboration between stakeholders, and increased the number of gates in its methodology, which gave it greater control to successfully manage larger projects, as opposed to smaller discrete efforts. Covance also improved project budget management by taking the information from Oracle’s PeopleSoft Financials and applying it to Primavera, via Excel spreadsheets, which enables it to determine actual project costs and compare them with forecasts.
When beginning its search for a project portfolio management solution, Covance Inc. considered several vendors, including Microsoft and Planview, as well as some SharePoint-based solutions from smaller vendors. After an extensive review, Covance chose Oracle’s Primavera Portfolio Management because it was familiar with Oracle and Primavera solutions. In addition, it knew the product was flexible and robust, which is important since Covance has several hundred IT employees and contractors and had consistently made strategic IT investments a priority. Covance also selected Oracle due to a strong consulting partnership with Hyde Park Solutions, which specializes in Primavera implementations, and because Primavera Portfolio Management is highly flexible and configurable.
“The fact that Oracle provides the database layer as well as the software was an attractive proposition. Primavera’s interoperatability with other systems, such as PeopleSoft Financials, was also appealing to us. Oracle enables us to link project costs to the portfolio management tool, which was also an important part of the equation,” said Jason Davis, senior director of IT governance, portfolio management, and process excellence, Covance Inc.
“Hyde Park Solutions, which specializes in Primavera implementations, was absolutely instrumental to the success of our deployment,” Davis said.“The Hyde Park team provided critical insight and resources for every step of our journey―from assessment and planning, through implementation and rollout. Its experience with project-centric organizations was invaluable.”