2006 Consensus Software Awards
IMP (Integrated Master Planner)
VESP International Pty Limited
Brief product description:
1. Outline Concept
Integrated Master Planner, or IMP, is a sophisticated project tool that integrates the many planning and tracking functions from the various disciplines that make up project teams. We believe that there is no product presently available that offers the comprehensive suite of capabilities built into IMP.
IMP is designed to be used on large and complex projects, but is easily scaled down for use in projects of almost any size.
The purpose of the product is to provide business with the means to better manage the whole-of-life project cycle, including estimating, planning, status monitoring, reviewing and capturing lessons learnt.
IMP captures, processes and presents information on all or any steps in a project, such as:
conception or tendering
work breakdown structures, resourcing and scheduling
negotiation or refinement of the project
contractual development· baselining the project
managing the project
managing the contract
IMP is structured to permit the review of single or multiple projects, whether they are in place or proposed. The tool developers recognised the need for multiple views of a project and have provided for a variety of task structures linked into the company structure with forms and reports aligned to the varying needs of stakeholders in a project. That is, IMP will interface with and integrate existing company tools used individually for tasks including scheduling, resourcing and financials.
IMP can be used by all the stakeholders in a project: executive level; bid managers; estimators; negotiators; project managers and administrators; as well as contract managers and administrators. It can run on a lap-top computer to support an individual up to a main-frame to support an entire enterprise.
IMP allows a business to develop staff consistency in estimating, tracking and reporting project work.
IMP has been developed so that its complex structure and functionality is presented to users in a simple-to-use way. Each user has access to those features and is presented with the information needed for them to perform their tasks within the complex whole.
Behind the user interface is a powerful database that holds all the information relating to a project. To make the system manageable, the database is visible to users through a range of custom-made screens that seek or present information in a way that makes each individual task relatively simple.
2. Typical Applications
IMP was developed by experienced bid team members and project managers to fill a need that has not been met for a comprehensive estimating, bidding and management tool.
It has been designed to accommodate projects of major size and complexity such as typically occur in the defence and aerospace industry. It has been tailored to meet the needs of the largest and most sophisticated companies, and users within those companies.
For example, it can allow a contractor to take a specification or request for tender and, with the one tool, permit the contractor to develop a work breakdown structure, estimate the task, prepare and revise costings, prepare a tender or bid, negotiate on the bid, negotiate the contract, develop the project baseline, and then use the baseline to manage the project and the contract.
Product at a glance
Target Industry Sectors
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Contact for more information
Murray Mann (0412) 005 981
Alan Collier (0412) 908 150
IMP’s innovation derives from its integration of existing company systems and practice to allow the client company to develop a project planning and management paradigm that improves methods, practice, accuracy and currency whilst reducing the time spent by domain specialists on such management areas.
For example, time card generators and wizards assist domain specialists in estimation, assessing risk and regular (daily, if desired) statusing of projects, resources and schedules.
In addition, the executive module provides functional and corporate managers the ability to review individual projects from near real-time data which is exported each time individual project managers, who have full control of their data set, baseline their project. This tool provides for the generation of standard analysis and reporting data sets by including pre-defined charts and textual segments as each baseline is generated, thus minimising the time spent on reporting while giving all stakeholders true-to-source data when and as they need it.
A major feature of the approach used permits a comparison of planned -vs- actual results so that lessons (and data) can be accurately studied, learned and incorporated into future projects.
The architects and authors of IMP have seen many experienced and sophisticated organisations attempt to develop a tool similar to IMP. These include large US-based defence contractors. While most contractors understand that a tool like IMP is needed, none has succeeded in developing a tool embracing its comprehensive capabilities. There are many reasons for this, but they include the difficulty of assembling a cohesive team possessing the understanding needed to develop such a tool, and the considerable patience, resources, skill and experience needed to develop and prove the result.
As far as we are aware, there is no product in the world that offers the comprehensive and fully integrated features available from IMP. There are products presently available that provide a portion of the functionality of IMP, but these do not provide the comprehensive ability to estimate, price and manage a project that have been built into IMP from conception, through design, to realisation. The product has been evaluated as globally unique by PTC of Massachusetts in USA which licenses products such as Windchill and Project Link.
IMP can be used by every contractor dealing in complex projects. Aerospace and defence are typical users, but customisation for the likes of the building and construction industry and other sophisticated users is readily achievable and has been done. This means that IMP is capable of providing a level of capability and productivity to every level of an organisation, in most industries, that has not previously been available.
1. Product Status
IMP has been tested to beta level with a number of Australian-based multi-national defence contractors. It has been a success on each occasion it has been used. Some imitation has been attempted, but these attempts have foundered as each company struggles to address the scope already covered by IMP, while the teams attempting the informal development of an unsupported project are held to account for the cost of development, training and maintenance that re-directs staff from their allotted tasks.
Almost all the features and functionality described in the IMP functionality list are available. Some developmental work is required to complete some of the more sophisticated (and therefore less-used) features. Some particular features, such as access control, types of reporting, and integration into existing systems, require negotiation with each customer prior to development.
2. Product Support
In its early implementation by a user, we recommend a period of on-site support by the IMP Support Team to train users and, on larger systems, the system administrators. We have found that the scope of the tool crosses functional boundaries within companies and hence the experience level of first-time users. Best results are achieved by having the IMP Support Team assist with the first live use on a real project.
After a period of on-site support, we supply on-line support through our help-desk that can connect to a customer’s site using the internet. Using the tools we have integrated into IMP we can assist a user with voice and text anywhere in the world as if we were sitting next to the user.
As well as the product itself, product support has been designed and tested to permit the product to be supported from Australia (or anywhere else) using the internet.
IMP has been used in projects varying in size from $200,000 to $500 million.
Projects in which IMP has been used are as diverse as:
Military combat system;
Corporate relocations; and
Companies in which VESP has used IMP include many of the major Australian first-line Defence contractors. Everywhere IMP has been used it has been hailed as a great product that project managers and line managers wish to see implemented in their companies. Even with this endorsement there has been difficulty in achieving sales, a factor that we attribute to the need to have endorsement from company finance executives to introduce the product, but who are reluctant to commit because of our company’s small size.
Our strategy has been to introduce IMP to potential users through integrating our bid and project management skills in a package with the IMP software. While the software can stand alone, this integrated approach has proven successful for us as a small company. This approach also facilitates training and introduction of the software.
The product has a potential market across the world; and it can be supported from anywhere in the world, including Australia, using internet support tools.
We have been conducting negotiations with international companies that offer complementary products. One of these includes the prospect to integrate IMP with their existing products in order that they can offer a more comprehensive suite of software. We are also conducting discussions with venture capitalists in order to invite suggestions on the best way to package the product and offer it to the market.
The architecture of the software and our ability to support it anywhere in the world from Australia means that the market is, potentially, worldwide. A key to success involves developing sufficient market credibility. This may be achieved through links with established complementary product vendors, or by developing, with sufficient capital, a credible corporate support structure in Australia.
Other information the judges should know
We presently have a distribution agreement with a representative in the USA (a major target market). Based on our experience and knowledge, we believe that IMP has enormous potential in foreign markets, especially developed economies like the USA and Europe. Candidate users are major Defence and aerospace contractors.
Integrated Master Planner is owned by VESP International Pty Limited.
VESP International Pty Limited is owned by the four Australian nationals who developed the product and who possess experience in defence contracting, project and contract management, law, database development and management, developing user interfaces, and in business. This combination of skills and dedication has allowed VESP International to develop IMP to its advanced stage of development and readiness.
Our marketing strategy to date has usually involved the supply of IMP in conjunction with expertise in bidding and tendering; contract development; project management; and, where it has proven necessary, project recovery. For this reason we maintain a reservoir of individuals with particular skills who are capable of using IMP as part of the project with a view to encouraging its continuing use by clients. CVs of some of three staff are attached below.
We have also examined other sales channels through existing suppliers of complementary software – such as suppliers of scheduling software. Negotiations in this regard are continuing.
Our company has very solid IP ownership plus a flexible and robust licensing agreement through one of our directors being a lawyer.
The following descriptions are provided on the following pages:
a. IMP Functionality Summary
b. Advantages of using IMP
c. Resumes of key people
d. PowerPoint presentation describing the product
A demonstration CD is available for viewing.
VESP International Pty Limted
PO Box 1099
Copyright©VESP International Pty Limted
Format Copyright©Consensus Pty Ltd
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• IMP gives visibility to project planning and operations on a scale never before possible
• IMP is a quantum improvement in the way projects are bid and managed
• IMP allows a company to manage costs, resources and schedules so as to maximize profit and reduce costs
• IMP improves data capture by up to 40% over conventional methods
• IMP permits at-will rework of bids and projects, including tracking changes, revisions to rationales, time-phased estimates and integrated schedule
• IMP provides management with insights that they have always wanted
• IMP provides near real time information on the performance of every project by extracting information from software tools used within the company and adds a layer of processing and presentation targeted at executive review on-line
• IMP does NOT require any changes to existing tools used by a company because it can import and export to almost all existing project tools used. Specialists can continue to use their favourite tools
• IMP integrates the common data pool, thus eliminating problems arising from non-linked tools and the need for committees to review and agree the implications of changes
• IMP permits a smooth transition from marketing to bid team through negotiation team to implementation team by maintaining the same base data set which allows full accountability for decisions
• IMP, permits the company to learn lessons from earlier projects by capturing actual performance and comparing this with earlier projections
• IMP is for leaders in their field, or companies that aspire to be leaders
• IMP is simple to use
• IMP involves a shift in a company’s paradigm of operation – it is not merely another tool, it is a major improvement in the way projects are bid and managed.