Essilor of America Gets Visibility into Resources for Improved Project Delivery

About Essilor of America

Essilor is a world leader in vision solutions, developing, manufacturing, and selling optical lenses since 1972. Headquartered in France, Essilor has three major innovation centers located in Dallas, France, and Singapore. Forbes recently granted Essilor the “Change the World” award for its philanthropic endeavors to provide eyeglass lenses and free screenings to underprivileged children around the world.

Challenge: Inaccurate Portfolio Planning and Lack of Visibility into Resources

As most organizations know, change is often a challenge and resisted by many. The company’s Enterprise PMO supports the IT organization with 17 technical services lines and 29 business units in the U.S, Mexico, and South America. Typically, the PMO manages a $20 million portfolio of programs and projects with another $10 million in unplanned projects, which inevitably throws off the resource balance and portfolio planning. Instead of executing and delivering projects, it was putting out fires. Spreadsheets were being used to manage 150 people and all of their projects, something everyone identified as a change driver.

Essilor had been using a customized project management tool from 10 years prior, but it was inadequate and labor intensive. While it allowed users to take shortcuts, those missed steps meant there was no real resource management. The project delivery teams often had to say no to exciting new projects, simply because the resources didn’t exist to support them. With no visibility into resource allocation and skillsets, the PMO lost credibility as stakeholders became increasingly frustrated. Both the CIO and president fully supported the notion that a major change in resource and project management had to happen.

Solution: Planview Portfolios for Visibility and Governance

“We saw how flexible Planview Portfolios was and that it would allow us to do 99.9 percent of what we wanted in a single tool,” says Diane Williams Roberts, Director, Enterprise Portfolio Management at Essilor of America. “We opted to have Planview host the tool in the cloud because we preferred to put our highly technical resources in our innovation and digital areas where they can bring real value to the world. Planview does an excellent job hosting for us.”

Planview Enterprise gives Essilor what they needed most – an enterprise view of the portfolio. Now they are able to get the right programs and the right projects in alignment, breaking down the traditional silos and being able to quickly see where issues might arise down the line. “Using Planview Enterprise, we can now show, with data, how each proposed project will impact other projects and resources, both immediately and long term,” says Roberts. “It forces a ranking system so we can prioritize projects and assign the right resources.”

Moving to Planview Portfolios provides needed resource governance and transparency as well. Instead of groups committing to projects without regard for resource capacity, there is data to show which resources are available and which aren’t, which resources are over-committed and which have bandwidth, which skillsets are available, and where outside resources might be needed. Now, Roberts can negotiate with outside partners for the best talent at the best cost instead of running to them in a crisis for whoever is available. Even better, it helps Essilor retain the talent they have in a highly competitive workforce.

The PMO has regained the confidence from stakeholders and has even been able to foster collaboration between project managers, resource managers, and employees. Their status reports immediately flag potential issues and enable Roberts to drill down to see milestones, dates, risks, and dollars that come straight from Planview Portfolios.

“It’s not about getting the system right on day one or even day 30,” she explains. “It’s about having a system that can live for the next umpteen years. We want it to be successful enough that people outside of our PMO and IT organizations can see how successful we are executing projects that they want to replicate it. We envisioned what our world should look like after we went live and Planview Enterprise helped us make it a reality.”

„Mein Endziel bestand in einer guten Sichtbarkeit. Ich brauchte ein leistungsfähiges Tool, das auf globaler Ebene skalieren kann und Essilor of America unterstützt. Mit Planview Enterprise habe ich dieses Ziel schneller erreicht, als ich mir hätte träumen lassen.“

– Diane Williams Roberts, Director, Enterprise Portfolio Management at Essilor of America

Results: A Model of Successful Resource and Project Management

Within 30 days of the soft launch of Planview Portfolios, Roberts shut down the old system, forcing team members to rely on the new solution. In doing so, Essilor saw immediate benefits that have even gotten the attention the France and Singapore offices.

Since using Planview Portfolios Essilor has realized the following benefits:

  • Immediate visibility into resource capacity, project demand, and project status
  • Ability to perform ‘what if’ scenarios, particularly with unplanned projects
  • Reliance on fact-based data rather than emotion
  • Elimination of subjective reporting and error-prone spreadsheets
  • Insight into how resource capacity impacts project execution

For more information, visit