Headquartered in Finland, but with offices in multiple countries around the globe, Etteplan is a company that specializes in providing technology services and expertise for businesses in a vast range of different industries.
Their 4000 strong global team offers services in software, embedded solutions, engineering and technical documentation; helping both organizations that need to scale quickly and those that require a level of expertise they can’t get in their particular region.
Etteplan’s purpose is to help their customers create a better world through engineering, innovation and digitalization and they achieve this by allowing those customers to focus on their core competencies.
This might mean Etteplan’s experts will write the technical documentation for a product; develop the software or embedded system for a product and offer additional testing capacity to ensure it meets quality standards; provide specialist knowledge on product design or all of the above. This leaves the customer to focus on manufacturing and selling the product.
Working across industries including manufacturing, aviation, automotive, medtech and energy, Etteplan tackles complex projects with large companies in highly technical sectors, providing valuable expertise and support globally and locally.
Building a clear picture across the business
As well as their high level of expertise across a range of services, what’s also crucial to Etteplan’s success is the quality and efficiency of their operations, for both internal projects and external delivery. Their Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence was tasked with launching a system that could track the vast array of internal projects ongoing within the company.
Before this they were reliant on an outdated file-based system that was not fit for purpose, as explained by Benjamin Sjögren, Director, Business Applications & Architecture: “We had a custom-based document management system built on Sharepoint which was not really integrated into anything. It had depreciated quite severely and not a lot of people were using it. It was not really worthy of our project business which is a huge part of Etteplan’s growth.”
Drawing up a shortlist of prospective tools, Forecast quickly jumped to the top of the list, following an internal recommendation. What stood out to them straight away was the flexibility of Forecast as a platform.
“The reason we gravitated towards Forecast was because, although we were looking for a tool that we could use for internal projects, we could also see that the platform excels for delivery as well.” said Benjamin.
Although Etteplan does not track time for internal projects, the fact that Forecast could be made to work for projects that require time-tracking and for those that don’t was another advantage.
Bringing visibility to project work
Etteplan is now using Forecast to track all of its internal projects and create clarity for people at all levels of the organization.
“What we can see is a transparency around which projects exist and how many we have. From a top-down perspective there is a huge benefit already.” said Benjamin.
By using labels in Forecast, Etteplan is able to delineate projects into 4 distinct categories for a quick overview of priorities. Projects are also tagged with strategic themes corresponding to things like international growth or compliance. This allows group management to quickly get a clear picture of which areas are getting the most investment.
It also ensures that managers are not overwhelmed with too many projects at one time and helps prevent change fatigue with too much transformation in one area.
“There is more cooperation between service areas, because we can see the projects in Forecast. We can connect the development projects to our strategy.” added Pia Kauhanen, Operational Development Manager.
Forecast is also helping augment the performance of individuals running projects. “Historically, a lot of the people that are running the projects are not always project managers by profession. So, it’s a bit of a hurdle for those people to start using a tool, the advantage is that Forecast makes things much easier to get started.” said Benjamin.
Harnessing the power of integration
Combining Forecast with other tools is another aspect that has proved to be successful. For example, Etteplan has built a Power App on the Microsoft platform which is integrated with Forecast, so that data can flow both ways and give oversight on which projects are being launched.
“For internal projects we needed a process and approval flow to provide transparency into what gets launched” said Benjamin. This ‘Development Project Launcher’ as it’s known at Etteplan has been running since early 2022.
Consolidation of tools is also top of mind. In a large organization that continues to grow organically and through acquisition, it’s key that different areas of the business and new teams are not hindered by siloed tools.
“In project management we currently have five or six different tools such as MS Project. It can get kind of scattered and hard to support, so with Forecast we’re working towards having one centralized project management tool.” said Pia.
With the use of Forecast to run internal projects already ongoing, Etteplan is looking ahead and piloting the use of the platform for delivery of their client work. A key part of the progress is the strong partnership that has been developed between the two companies to ensure that we’re constantly listening, evaluating and evolving.
“The dialogue between us and Forecast as to what we’ve needed has been very good, we’ve had a great partnership since the inception” said Benjamin.