About Zurich

Zurich is a brand instantly recognizable throughout the world. It employs about 60,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries helping customers to manage their risks. Zurich has embarked on a journey of long-term strength to create a “One Zurich”. At the heart of the transformation process are projects, which are delivered by teams at all levels. Today, more than 400 projects are ongoing or planned across the Group.

The Challenges

Zurich introduced Planview Portfolios® in 2006 to help with project portfolio management. The solution was initially used by the IT organization and later adopted by the business. The business configurations in Planview Portfolios gave IT a head start on standardizing its approach. Trevor Matthews, Head of Project Methodology and Education at Zurich, said: “We were jumping on the opportunity to pull information together and look at it from a group point of view. We did not yet have a global project management framework in place to define how all projects are managed. The challenge was to consolidate reporting for IT and business projects. The first step towards moving forward was recognizing that we needed a common direction, and that the entire organization would benefit from a global, standardized approach.”

The Solution

Having evaluated and distilled all their project management practices, Zurich was able to put in place a global project management framework supported by the Planview solution. This is based on four key elements:

  • A Group-wide project management framework – using industry best practice examples to guide and navigate Zurich through the challenges of project management.
  • A single platform for project portfolio management - an important step to leveraging information about projects and programs from around the globe.
  • A Community of Practice – including the provision of a global training landscape; helps to increase capability and reliability.
  • Standardized reporting – to gather and aggregate information from all the different reports and tools to settle on a standard, but highly defined set of reports.

“Each of these individual elements were key objectives for us, and although they were essential to making progress, we were able to evolve as we moved forward,” said Trevor Matthews. “We set our priorities and improved steadily as we went along.”

What this meant in practical terms is that each of Zurich’s projects was now represented by one single entry in Planview Enterprise, with all the key performance indicators related to it consolidated in one place.

Global Guidlines

Zurich has implemented guidelines to help it establish a global approach; these provide clear definitions about setting up and managing projects using Planview Portfolios.

“The guidelines align with our project management framework,” continued Matthews. “We find that it’s important to make these clear so that everyone has a good understanding of how to launch and execute a project. This is a key tool for our project managers, which helps them to be more efficient.”

Zurich has a standard project management framework for business and IT projects. This starts with the initial concept and goes all the way through to implementation and benefit validation.

“It took us time and effort to integrate IT and business elements into a single group-wide framework. We had to be pragmatic, but the project management lifecycle also had to reflect the complexity of projects that involves system development and third-party contribution. Multiple parties were involved and we tried to reflect this in a simple picture that everyone would be able to follow,” said Matthews.

Reliable Project Delivery

Improving project discipline has also encouraged Zurich to emphasize the importance of initiating projects correctly and ensuring that they are monitored closely so that any issues that arise are dealt with quickly. A great deal of effort is put into analysis and decision making.

“We have simple key performance indicators and a mechanism that can calculate an assessment of whether a project is on track, or whether there is a risk of a problem. The earlier you can step in and take action to bring the project back on track, the smaller the effort is required. It’s a thermometer for the health of the project,” said Matthews.

“Planview Enterprise helps to lift project management up to the next level and with the right organizational embedding and support; improved project delivery will be the result.”

– Trevor Matthews, Head of Project Methodology & Education, Zurich

Functional Roadmap and Change Advisory Board

“We have a functional roadmap that is managed by a Change Advisory Board representing our different business areas. This allows us to reach agreement on a global level on the Planview Portfolios functionality that is used in Zurich,” continued Matthews. “The roadmap lets us plan ahead based on our priorities and maturity of the project management community. For example, we started with basic tracking and reporting of projects in Planview Portfolios but are now using the strategic planning functionality to support portfolio management. The functionality used in the Planview solution is fully aligned to our project management framework which is continually evolving.”


In Trevor Matthews’ experience selecting a PPM tool and hoping for the best won’t work. “The tool is important and you need to put time into making sure you evaluate the right solution for your organization. To be successful you also need the right processes, practices, training, and the full commitment of your organization. The combination will result in success, but it does need all the elements. Also it is important to remember not to overcomplicate. Simplicity and consistency are essential. It sounds easy, but it can be difficult to achieve. Planview Portfolios helps to lift project management up to the next level and with the right organizational embedding and support; improved project delivery will be the result.”

To learn more about what Planview® solutions can do for your organization, visit Planview.com.

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