Visibility Across the Defense and Security Portfolio (CAE Interview)
Sylvain Beaudry goes into details about the specific needs from CAE for a PPM tool, the scope of the Planisware implementation, and the unique relationship with the Planisware implementation team.
An interview with Sylvain Beaudry, PMO Director for Defense and Security, CAE Inc.
So my name is Sylvain Beaudry, I am the Global PMO Director for the DNS Operations of CAE, Inc. CAE is a multi-national training solution company. We are world leaders in flight simulation for both civil and military applications.
What does CAE do?
I think CAE has the biggest base of flight simulators in the world right now, and most great airline industries are using CAE systems, or spin-offs of CAE systems, to do flight simulations to be able to train their pilots, which are basically at the end of the line the security of all the passengers. So we have a great responsibility in ensuring that our products are the best of the best.
Why adopt a PPM Tool?
Most of our businesses is around projects. Since we are projectized, we wanted to make sure we had one place to consolidate all of the information, whether it is financial, resource, or even timeline planning - into one single space. Up to now, we had been amalgating many different systems that were not necessarily integrated, which led us to selecting a software like Planisware to be able to do financial tracking, increase visibility with a single-source of data and so on.
How does CAE manage specialized projects for customers?
You'll want to have a standard product, that you're selling and then from there you'll want customizations to be able to work with different customers if they want to have a special product or a special modification made for them. Especially in the military division, where I work, we have customers who have very specific needs that will not necessarily be able to be catered to by simple, off-the-shelf products, so we need to be able to have that project structure in place to be able to cater to those specific customers.
Why did CAE choose Planisware?
We have very complex project review cycles at the end of the month, we have a lot of interactions into each one of these projects and we wanted to make sure that the tool would give us the capability of all together at the same time working in the tool. That was one of the key winning points that would bring us there. There's also other considerations like financial flexibility, possibility of customization, integration into our other software, like Oracle, reporting capabilities. All of that made our cut in our selection.
How widely is Planisware used at CAE?
Truly active projects would be in the 2,500s projects at the same time. Other statistics would be number of active users - approximately 600-650 active users right now and this is RM so this is Resource Managers, Work package Managers, Project Managers, PMO, and administrators.
What is it like to work with the Planisware team?
The Planisware team has been amazing throughout the entire implementation. I did a bit of benchwork, making sure that my impressions were the same as the team's - great availability and high flexibility, which I think is a big representation of the software itself. It's a very flexible software, ready to cater to the specific needs of the customers. There are a lot of customization options, and the team is working the same way. They're willing to go in that direction, to the extent of what's interesting for the product, and they're also able to say, "guys, don't go in that particular direction, although it may seem tempting - it's not best practice." So they bring in that view of also best practices from the industry which is really interesting.
What is the best part about working with Planisware?
I talk a lot about cultural transformation. Planisware for us is not just a simple implementation of a software, it's actually part of a journey for CAE about cultural transformation and looking at things differently and doing it different ways and we need to benchmark, we need to look out there, we need to bring in best practices, and we know Planisware has a lot of partnerships with a lot of these big businesses from which we can learn. Not everyone, but a lot of them we can learn from and they do bring in that knowledge so I think having that intelligence built into what Planisware is bringing us in terms of a solution is really the best part about working with them.
Sylvain Beaudry, Thank you very much.