LCBO uncorks document-sharing project

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario is in the process of completing trials aimed at centralizing its project management environment.

The system will comprise Microsoft Project

Server 2003, Microsoft Office Project Professional 2003 and Windows SharePoint Services. Once implemented, it will significantly decrease the time and effort needed to pass project-related information between users and will allow easier tracking of project status by managers, according to the LCBO.

“”We wanted greater efficiency and ease of access by centralizing our projects on a common location, a common server,”” said Ivor Davies systems analyst for the LCBO. “”We wanted to have all our all our IT projects in one common location where everyone was using a standard template, a standard calendar.””

Microsoft’s EPM (Enterprise Project Management Overview) technology will allow executives and other stakeholders access to project-specific information including real-time updates on project status.

“”The executives and a lot of the people who were the stakeholders in charge of the projects weren’t really getting a lot of visibility into what was going on with the projects”” said Joe Galati, product manager for Microsoft Office Project. “”You might have to say, ‘OK, I want a report on these projects.’ Then people would have to go off and running, go to their reports, have their meetings, and, after a few weeks, come back and give an update.””

Such a cumbersome system made it difficult for managers to assess whether or not projects were on track.

Heather Collins, manager of end-user computing at the LCBO said that Microsoft EPM technologies provides a single point of contact for all project-related information such as timelines, documentation, status reports, communiqués, and group collaboration. The features within Microsoft Enterprise Project Management will allow her company to put a document up, and have all parties put their input into the document.

“”Everything is in a single point so that you know exactly where you are going to get it, and for documentation, it is not being passed back and forth between people via e-mail or hard copy,”” she said.

“”There is a very easy to use and familiar interface to actually find out what tasks you have to work on, and update your tasks,”” said Galati.

Collins said the LCBO will be able to dispense with the long, laborious meetings where participants are required to go through a document section by section ensuring everyone has their input.

A 50-person pilot project will be completed by the end of this month. The LCBO plans to begin a full implementation in July.

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