How Alcon improves its time to market with Planisware Enterprise
Derek Jessup, Director R&D PPM Systems and Process at Alcon Laboratories explains how Planisware has become a strategic part of Alcon's product development process, helping them to reduce their time to market across their entire portfolio.

Derek Jessup, Director R&D PPM Systems and Process at Alcon Laboratories


My name is Derek Jessup, and I am the director of PPM Systems and Process Excellence at Alcon Laboratories.

Alcon is the global leader in eyecare and we produce products that help people's vision. That can range from anything from a contact lens to surgical equipment to replacing a lens in your eyeball.

What are the key challenges in your industry?

As a medical device company some of the key challenges that we face in our industry is really just getting products to the market quick. So everybody is innovating. And since we're the global leader in eyecare we need to maintain our presence, and so we just have to reduce the time to get there, but also the cost to get there.

How has Planisware benefited your company?

Planisware's benefited us in being able to challenge our assumptions.

So we initially during the implementation created project templates, and those templates were based on the normal process to develop the product that we were thinking of. And through the course of time by utilizing that template and having project actuals placed in the projects we're able to go back and validate the assumptions in that template and challenge the validity of the duration, the cost and the resources associated with that template. And by doing so we've been able to reduce what we thought was a development time of greater than a thousand days to about 350 days.

Using Planisware and having all the projects in one system, having all the costs in one system we were able to meet a challenge of a budget reduction without impacting the ultimate goals of the project.

So without delaying any milestone we were able to achieve our cost reduction by determining what activities were on the critical path, what spend was on the critical path and basically labelling those as "Those can't change". Anything else that was not on the critical path we had the potential to delay.

So we were able to delay some activities without having to cancel projects, without having to delay projects, and meeting the constraint that was put in place, but never impacting the project itself.

How does Alcon use Planisware?

Alcon uses Planisware for... basically the starting point was if an R&D associate was working on something that project was in Planisware.

So initially our thought was New Product Development, but it is expanded from there, so it includes things from basic Research to Post-market Support activities to Phase 4 studies, Alliance management and organizational capabilities.

It really starts at the top of the company with our executive leadership team. Those individuals really keep asking us, "What is the value that I get from the budget that we give you annually? What is the value of our portfolio at any given time?" Beyond them it's really the R&D leadership team. They need to know: "What are the milestones? What the objectives annually? What are the objectives that we're gonna hit over our strategic horizon?" So we utilize Planisware to answer those questions.

Another layer in the organization is really the project teams. They utilize Planisware to be able to execute the projects as they have been approved through our governance model.

What kind of decisions are being driven from the tool?

The types of decisions that are being addressed from the data we have in Planisware surround strategy, portfolio prioritization, collection of an annual budget, collection of strategic plans, what is the long range forecast, what does the long range plan look like for the number of product launches we're gonna have, submissions, approvals across all the projects that we have in the system.

It's really just anything happening in R&D we're able the address through the use of Planisware, and being able to show from data in the system how a project is gonna affect a budget, the strategic plan, our corporate initiatives. Being able to use the data to help drive those decisions. Some of those are based on hiring decisions.

So we have all our projects in the tool itself and we plan all the resources that are on those projects. And we're able to make assessments of where we're gonna have constraints in the future and we're able to justify hiring of new associates or contractors to support those projects going forward.
We've also been able to support our financial process to generate an annual project budget from the tool, from a bottoms-up prospective, and being able to track that budget very closely. So we have a very tight margin of a plus one to minus three percent tolerance variation from our budget and we're able to meet that by utilizing the capabilities that Planisware’s offered us.

How has Planisware impacted your processes?

We moved from a distributed model where people had files on their personal computers to a consolidated single source of information.

That information includes project schedules, project costs, internal resources as well as external resources, as well as interfacing with our financial ledgers so that we can have a closed loop process from a planned prospective to an actual perspective.