How Actelion Uses Planisware Enterprise to Support Cross-Functional Project Management

During his interview, Hakan Kocabeyoglu revealed how Planisware Enterprise was selected as a scheduling and a resource management tool for Actelion and how it stands out by addressing operational as well as management needs.

An interview with Hakan Kocabeyoglu, Group Leader Planning Performance and Reporting, Actelion


Hi, my name is Hakan Kocabeyoglu, I'm working for Actelion Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland, the headquarters is in Allschwil. I'm working in a group called Planning Performance and Reporting, which is within Global Businesses and Science Affairs, most of the time referred to as Life Cycle Management as well.

What does Actelion do?

Actelion Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company. It's rather small compared to other pharmaceutical companies like Roche and Novartis, but what we try to do is to focus on specific therapeutic areas and niche markets, orphan drugs, try to reach the patients which have unmet medical needs to come up with specialty products and go into areas which is not covered by big pharma companies.

Why did Actelion choose Planisware as their PPM solution?

So I was part of the initial selection process. We started initially with two approaches. So it was the Resource Management part, which I was not a part of, and there was the Project Management side, which I was a part of. We did separate evaluations. They decided on Planisware because Planisware is strong on the Resource Management side as well, and we decided from our side to use Planisware as well because we evaluated it against different tools, so at the end, we ended up having the same provider which makes sense as well because you cannot separate those two aspects.

How does Actelion leverage Planisware to support their cross-functional project management processes?

Actelion has roughly about 500 projects in the Planisware system. Not all of those projects are big projects. Some of them are just a couple of lines, some small activities which are to be tracked. What we do is use Planisware to plan big activities which are relevant for our company such as filings, such as new developments, [it's a] basis for discussions for decisions that we can show the impact of - the different decisions that we can, based on that, do selections of projects as well, or change the strategy.
Planisware is for us not only a project planning tool, it's more a communication tool as well. It's a method of sharing information. It's a method of making people talk to each other because they share one platform. It's a way to have open communication by using the same platform.

What kind of benefits do you see from the collaborative use of the system?

It brings people together and forces them to work together and share the same information so that basically any kind of issues which would have been hidden are visible and have to be discussed and they don't rise just at the last minute that you end up in a big problem.

What is it like to work with Planisware software?

Working with the Planisware software platform is an interesting experience as well because it is something different. You are not stuck with how the system looks out of the box, so you can help design it, you can help adapt it to your needs, and at the end it's not different than any other tool as well. The concepts behind - they are always the same. So you do the projects always in the same manner, always in the same style, but this one makes it visible. This one makes it easier to understand for management because you can extract the nice PowerPoint, and just show something colorful. It's not just a plain Gantt chart. So it's addressing the management need as well, whereas other tools may be more focused on the end user - you have to do the details... In Planisware, you do the same, but what you can get out of it is something nice, clean and easy, which you can just embed in a presentation and I think this is one of the biggest advantages.

(Michel) Thank you very much Hakan.