Improving Information Technology Across the English Channel

About Eurotunnel

The Eurotunnel Group is responsible for the entire infrastructure in the English Channel, and controls the lorry and passenger transport (vehicle/ bus) between Folkestone, Great Britain, and Calais, France. Until 2086, the Eurotunnel Group will control the rights to the operation of the English Channel tunnel, which represents the fastest, most dependable, and most environmentally friendly way to cross the English Channel. More than 284 million people have used the tunnel in the past 18 years.

The Challenge

The Eurotunnel Group has grown remarkably in the past 18 years and because of this growth, demands on the IT department have increased exponentially, creating multiple challenges from resource demand to project execution. The Eurotunnel IT department used an ad-hoc, non standardized operational process. Only a select group of projects followed a defined process, which led to a number of issues when creating a priority list for new and existing IT initiatives. The IT department was departmentalized by role and function and worked under a model that provided an IT team for each internal client. As a result, management had to acquire the appropriate personnel proportionately, which did not allow for limitless scalability.

Eurotunnel needed a comprehensive solution that provided instant visibility to all the projects and operational tasks within IT. They needed an intuitive solution with built-in processes and the flexibility to respond to future changes and developments in the company while mobilizing the project teams. From a finance perspective, management needed to establish a dependable budgeting plan to track, measure, and allocate resources and funds to the priority projects that best matched the corporate objectives. Eurotunnel began its search for solution that would promote effective project prioritization, resource capacity management, financial management, project performance, and mature business processes across the department.

“For us in IT, the timing holds strategic importance. We do everything in order to deliver the projects on time and on schedule. Planview Enterprise provides us the comprehensive overview that we need for every project, and provides the project progress stage at any time.”

– Jean BRUNIER, IT Director, Eurotunnel

The Solution: Seeing the Light at the End of the Tunnel

Planview Enterprise is helping Eurotunnel establish efficient processes, create more transparency, and improve budget control.

“The decision to work with Planview was swift. The company possesses an established solution and has many years of experience, as well as comprehensive know-how,” explains Jean Brunier, IT Director of the Eurotunnel Group SA.

Configuration of Clear Team Structures

By leveraging Planview Portfolios, Eurotunnel has unified the IT department into three well organized groups. Management has visibility into resource capacity enabling them to optimize projects and resources efficiently. Real-time reporting and analytics help drive business decisions and provide details into portfolios, projects, and resources.

A Comprehensive Overview Provides More Transparency

Planview Enterprise serves as Eurotunnel’s central competence center giving management critical access to the data needed to support the growth and strategic direction for the development of information systems.

IT projects are generally divided into five basic phases: project definition, design (purchase, conception, detail specification), development (parameterization of the tool and specific development), tests and production start, and stabilization/improvement.

The Planview solution provides transparency into each project phase therefore project progress can then be measured, monitored, and communicated among the team and the business.

Eurotunnel has better collaboration and communication between IT and the business. If a project is behind schedule, IT addresses it immediately because the team has visibility as to why the delay occurred.

Becoming an Agent of Change for IT and the Business

With the implementation of Planview Portfolios, Eurotunnel experienced a wave of organizational change. New requirements were established and the team began to develop project lists and create extensive data sheets for every project. They started a movement of change in work habits, tasks, and processes.

“A PPM solution determines rules that apply for all projects and all employees,” stresses Brunier. “As a team, we must get accustomed to the changes in our daily work. At first glance, we may forfeit a little bit of flexibility and reaction time, but in the end we gain efficiency because all operations are working together in harmony.”

Dependable Budget Planning and Project Calculation

In addition to the compilation of projects and their master data, the PPM solution from Planview supports the creation of project plans and proposals.

Brunier says: “The ‘Holy Grail’ for an IT director is being able to create a true and realistic work plan for every team and every employee so each project reaches its completion date. This is not a simple task. An employee’s task list can often be disrupted by maintenance and unscheduled tasks, which can then delay the implementation of the work plan.”

To alleviate this problem, Eurotunnel uses Planview Enterprise for dependable budget planning. With this capability, the engagement manager creates the budgets with the client and determines the requirements for each individual project. The manager inputs the number of working days required, external resources, materials, software licences, etc. A financial framework document is also created for each project so that totals are displayed as a comprehensive overview used to make decisions. The benefits of Planview Enteprise are clearly shown in the creation of estimates with reproducible components.

For project planning and proposals, Eurotunnel is able to reference our past experiences like estimate labor costs. Previously there were difficulties in supporting these estimates with actuals but with the Planview solution Eurotunnel, we can now render these numbers more precisely, finely adjust these numbers over time, make adjustments over time, and define exactly which criteria or indicators to use as a foundation.

According to Brunier, the Planview solution allows managers to create work plans for the project teams and create a clear list of all projects to define the priorities together with the internal clients.

"Together with Planview, Eurotunnel is always ready to answer inquiries related to urgent or new projects from internal clients. Today with Planview Portfolios, we know exactly how we stand and which project can be put off for another, more important project,” says Brunier

A Productive Future

By implementing Planview Portfolios, Eurotunnel has established:

  • Clear team structures with improved collaboration and accountability
  • Process improvements with the implementation of a new five-phase model
  • Real-time transparency into projects, resources, and progress
  • Improved decision making and strategic alignment
  • Increased project performance and higher success rates
  • Better anticipation of project delays
  • Dependable budget planning with creation of project calculations, plans, and proposals

“We would no longer be able to function without this tool - especially considering the evolution of our organization with mutually shared resources which must be planned and shared at different times,” confirms Brunier.