Cambridge Assessment - (Contact available on request)
Education. Cambridge Assessment is one of Europe's largest assessment organisations.
Group turnover is circa £250 million
The key business drivers for a scheduling tool were to provide a mechanism whereby the staff within a number of technical teams could have work assigned to them in an efficient and balanced manner in order to meet the customer's requirements for maintenance, support and deployments. A key requirement was the ability to assign resources at a very granular level i.e. with very specific start and end times. Additional requirements were the ability search for resources based on both availability and skill, the ability to present all relevant information in one screen, the ability to filter the data presented to show any mix of resources, and the ability to access the data to produce management reports. All data in the system should also be visible to all users, whether they are resources or management.
Schedule It is deployed within one department at one location covering 5 technical teams. All tasks undertaken by the staff in the teams is recorded and booked through a central resource manager who updates Schedule it. The total number of staff (i.e. resources) whose work is scheduled in this way is 48. The total number of users is 55, which includes the 48 resources, the resource manager and their deputy, and 5 senior management users.
Schedule it client is installed on each user's desktop, which is either Windows XP or Windows 7. The database is on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 64 bit.
Prior to roll out extensive testing was undertaken with key sample users asked to provide feedback. Additionally work was undertaken to ensure that the full capabilities provided by the templates which govern what is shown on screen were deployed and that the information shown was the minimum needed to inform the resource. One item of note was the ability to determine, through a template, the format of the balloon pop up which appears when the mouse is held over an event. This was found to be a useful method of providing information and as a result all user must have Windows Balloon Tips turned on.
Following the initial testing and configuration Schedule it was rolled out to all users, team by team, over a one week period, which included 1 to 1 training (lasting 15 minutes).
Schedule it has provided the expected benefits of a central repository for booked workload, clear and easily accessible resource availability, and detailed reporting (using both the internal reports and an external reporting tool) which has provided valuable management information and informs the capacity planning process.
From the perspective of the resources themselves Schedule it has been well received and is now relied upon as the single source of information regarding assigned work.
The approach taken in fully understanding the work of the department in question and identifying precisely what we required from a scheduling tool, finding one which met those requirements, testing with key users, and taking the time to understand and then utilise the configuration, especially the templates, features of Schedule it has enhanced reception of the deployment. As a result of the time spent on these aspects the benefits of the software are being realised, and the configurations rolled out at the start have not had to be revisited.