The European Reseach Center (ESRF) chose Orchestra to facilitate scientific collaboration
The objectives were better knowledge-sharing, comprehension, and transparency.

This project needed to navigate the specific challenges of setting up a project management tool for different nationalities and countries working on different projects, but all with the one common need for clear communication within the ESRF. The objectives were better knowledge-sharing, comprehension, and transparency.

About ESFR

The ESRF is the world’s most intense X-ray source and a center of excellence for fundamental and innovation-driven research in condensed and living matter science. Located in Grenoble, France, the ESRF owes its success to the international cooperation of 21 partner nations, of which 13 are members and 8 are scientific associates.

The ESRF in Grenoble hosts over 6,000 researchers exploiting the 42 beamlines working on different research programs. Researchers use the synchrotron beam center in fields of physics, biology, geology, chemistry, medicine and archeology. Industrialists have also used it to develop their products.

At the glance

  • 600+ Users
  • 100+ Project managers
  • 1500+ active projects
  • Portfolio management, capacity planning, resource management
  • Planisware Orchestra is a single source of truth for project management

Context & Challenges

Before implementing Orchestra, all projects generally achieved completion, but priorities and resource management on them were not well optimized.

The major issue that we wanted to respond to was the communication between the different stakeholders: we wanted to share internally the objectives and the implementation of technical development projects conducted within the ESRF - Says Jean-Luc Revol, Operations Manager at the ESRF.

To achieve this, ESRF was looking for a tool with specific functionalities, that could provide them with information such as:

  • Detail planning
  • Master planning
  • Project Progress
  • Document upload

Why Planisware Orchestra?

Orchestra was selected by ESRF because it met many of these requirements, by providing a solution and adapting it to their specific needs. Planisware Orchestra allows all stakeholders who have the correct access rights to track the progress of a particular research project.

The 600 ESRF employees can now access information and share their knowledge.

Given the history of the institution and our workload, moving into project management mode was not only a necessity but also a cultural revolution. What I appreciate with Orchestra is the ability to customize the tool and develop collectively a version that fits our needs - says Marine Cotte, a researcher at the company.

Orchestra also facilitates the management of project portfolios, which was another of the requirements expressed by the ESRF. They needed more insight into decision making and selection of technical projects.

Many development projects emerge from our experimental and instrumentation divisions, so we needed a tool that can prioritize all of these requests from researchers. Orchestra PPM allows us to analyze the proposals, select the right projects to start, and allocate the necessary resources” - says Philippe Duru, member of the project coordination office of the instrumentation division.

Today, 100% of scientific projects passing from the experimental division to the instrumentation division are managed by Planisware Orchestra.

The Benefits

The Planisware Orchestra solution creates a standard best practice among ESRF’s researchers, which improves the overall performance of the teams.

Previously, scientists had an excellent view of a project’s objectives, but they were not necessarily focussed on the software and practices that could help them achieve their aims - communicating infrequently on organizational and technical issues. Now, as a collaborative tool, Orchestra offers technical support, and helps by improving internal mehodology and communications.

Even if it’s going to take time to take full advantage of it, Orchestra is a valuable tool; it includes a lot of information and provides a real-time view so we can track projects on a local and a global scale - explains Jean-Luc Revol.

Hosted on the Internet as a Saas implementation, Orchestra is also easily and securely accessible on the move or remotely.

The ESRF is now working on a strategy to revamp the center itself. Beginning in 2009, phase I required an investment of €168 million, while Phase II of the project has been running from 2015 to 2020, costing an additional €50 million.

This program aimed to introduce many improvements into the ESRF. The objectives were to promote scientific excellence, attract a new generation of scientists, provide an environment to train highly qualified personnel, ensure economic benefits and disseminate know-how to other national centers.

To achieve these ambitious aims, ESRF has actively used and benefitted from the clarity that Planisware Orchestra brings to their teams, as their official tool for project management.