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Multi Project Resource Scheduler: creating an add-on to facilitate project management

Earlier this month, Projexia launched MPRS – Multi Project Resource Scheduler, an add-on to SAP Business ByDesign that boosts its Project Management capabilities.
Our Innovation Team, here at Projexia, has been working relentlessly to come up with a solution tailored to the needs of project-based companies. The hard work earned us SAP’s Top Innovation Partner Award!

So, what does the add-on exactly do, and what’s the story behind it? We interviewed Patrick Levesque, Director of Innovation, Cloud Solutions at Projexia, to find out.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for creating MPRS?

A: The idea came from various conversations with our clients and particularly those with advanced project management needs. Most of the time, they were searching for a new ERP system and were evaluating SAP Business ByDesign because of its good fit with project-based companies. However, we realised that ByDesign had a solid foundation for project management but was lacking advanced functionalities in terms of resource management.
As an example, one of our customers wanted to be able to plan its resources daily and have visibility on who is available when. They needed a planning board for their resources.

We decided to move on with SAP Business ByDesign and started working on an add-on that would offer the functionalities that the market needed. The MPRS project was born.

Q: Was it something tailored for one client at the time, or did you take a multi-client approach?

A: Right from the start, we developed MPRS with a multi-client approach, knowing that it would help all project-based companies who are using SAP Business ByDesign.
We based our work on the industry’s best practices and on ByDesign, which is also multi-client and multi-tenant.
We brainstormed a lot with our client XYZ Technologies, who helped us with the whole project and saw the added value they could get from the application.

Q: What were the first development steps?

A: At first, we had to think of a tool to develop MPRS in.
We compared what was available on the market and we decided to use SAP Cloud Platform.

We designed MPRS’s minimum value: “What minimum value should the application have to answer our client’s need as well as SAP Business ByDesign users’ needs?”.

We had a lot of brainstorming sessions on functional design, everybody had great ideas and it took us a while to sort out what should and shouldn’t be included in MPRS.
We all knew that the main focus was resource management, but we had to define just how far we wanted to go with it.

Q: How did you build your team, and who’s behind MPRS?

A: When we started working on MPRS, we only had two resources working on it: a manager and a solution architect, who built a proof of concept.
SAP was very enthusiastic about the whole project, and we decided to create a bigger team, fully dedicated to MPRS :

  • A solution architect who worked on the project from Day 1 and put a lot of thought and effort on its design.
  • A lead developer, who graduated 2 years ago and is passionate about MPRS. He’s been working on it day and night and we are amazed by his dedication.
  • An SAP Business ByDesign functional consultant, Project Management and Procurement, who helped us with ByDesign functional analyses and processes.
  • An SAP Business ByDesign junior consultant who helped us with all the test phases.
  • A UX/UI designer, who designed the look and feel and made sure the user experience is optimal.
  • An Operational Research Analyst, who developed an algorithm to calculate resources’ availabilities within MPRS.

Some of our consultants were on and off the team, helping us with punctual needs. Pretty much everybody got involved at some point. It was a great team effort.

Q: What were the difficulties of working on such a project?

A: We had to change the way we usually work, and that was a big cultural change for us.
Projexia is a professional services company, who built a product development team to work on MPRS, meaning we had to learn how to deal with billable hours VS non-billable hours.
I believe Projexia adapted pretty fast and it’s now part of our company culture.

Another difficulty we had was to define which key functionalities we should include in MPRS, while making sure it still makes sense when coupling it with an ERP system. Every new functionality is a challenge.

We work hard to identify and develop the core functionalities and it’s an ongoing project. We plan on launching new functionalities in the upcoming months / years.

Q: Who is MPRS’ target audience?

A: Any SAP Business ByDesign client who uses the project module can take advantage of MPRS, as it’s an add-on to that specific module.
People who work in services and on resource assignment will find in MPRS a tool that allows them to work faster and more efficiently.
At the moment, the main focus is resource assignment, but we have clients in project management who showed interest so we’re working on adding project management functionalities to make MPRS more flexible.
Based on SAP Business ByDesign’s model, we want to make it evolutive and keep updating it throughout the months, just like ByD.

To know more about MPRS, visit SAP App Center or check out our video.

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