MSO Project Manager

Use Case: Project management in research funding at an automobile manufacturer

2. September 2020
5 min

A future-oriented, international research, development and innovation policy is essential for achieving climate neutrality. For this reason, the EU Commission supports science and research in Europe with the world’s largest transnational funding program for research projects. A prime example is the development of innovative and sustainable technologies for long-life lithium-ion batteries. The goal: to catch up with the EU’s global lag in the production of batteries for electric cars. Read in our Use Case how a German car manufacturer succeeds with the MSO Project Manager in centrally managing research proposals and projects and optimizing them in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.

 

Conclusion

To be able to centrally control a large number of research proposals and projects and to present information transparently and in a management-friendly manner at the push of a button according to various questions: this was the goal of a German automobile manufacturer when introducing a management tool in the area of research funding.

With the implementation of the MSO Project Manager, the company was able to increase the visibility of its entire funding landscape and to track the achievement of its goals transparently and efficiently. The result: lean and managed project processes, reduced administrative effort and high transparency. Furthermore, future trend developments and strategic orientations can now be derived from the results.

Background

Climate change, globalization, digitalization and dependence on fossil fuels have led to a global rethink of future mobility in recent years. The path to climate neutrality, for which clean, low-emission means of transport are indispensable, offers considerable opportunities for economic growth, employment and technological progress. The expansion and further development of electromobility is therefore regarded as an important building block of the energy turnaround and a promising economic field for the (German) automotive industry. Accordingly, the demand for long-life, powerful and at the same time safe and environmentally friendly batteries will continue to grow rapidly in the coming years.

The European Commission can identify specific projects that are of common European interest (IPCEI) and last year it approved a joint project submitted by seven Member States (Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden) to promote research and innovation in batteries. The aim is to support the development of innovative and sustainable technologies for long-life lithium-ion batteries, which are both faster to recharge than existing batteries and safer and more environmentally friendly – with the aim of closing the EU’s global gap in battery production for electric cars. The innovations here cover the entire battery value chain – from raw materials, chemical materials, the design of battery cells and modules in intelligent systems to the recycling and conversion of used batteries. To this end, the Member States can now allocate EUR 3.2 billion in funding over the next few years to the companies involved, which in turn want to invest EUR 5 billion themselves. High-ranking German companies (BASF, BMW, Varta, ACC and Umicore) are involved in all areas of the strategic value chain. In particular, the innovations are intended to improve environmental compatibility, the CO2 footprint and recycling in all segments of the battery ecosystem.

As one of the ten most important automobile manufacturers in the world and one of the largest commercial enterprises in Germany, the OEM plays a key role in maintaining the innovative power of Germany as a technology location.

For this reason, the company works closely with the public sector in various research projects, including publicly funded ones. In order to manage these multi-stakeholder projects, some of which span the whole of Europe, the automobile manufacturer was looking for a professional, tool-based solution that would allow all projects to be tracked transparently in terms of status and costs.

The EU Commission is promoting the development of innovative and sustainable technologies for long-life lithium-ion batteries, such as those needed for the production of electric cars.
The EU Commission is promoting the development of innovative and sustainable technologies for long-life lithium-ion batteries, such as those needed for the production of electric cars.

Solution

The aim was to better manage and integrate internal stakeholders throughout the reporting period, to increase the clarity of processes and to generate meaningful funding project analyzes at the push of a button. Particular attention was paid to the creation of reports that enable transparent management of the projects and communicate the current project status quickly and easily to all those involved. It was also important to allow access to the data at any time from anywhere. For this reason, a concept competition was held to find a business partner who could offer a complete, compliant solution package for the above requirements.

 

The MSO Project Manager enables central coordination, control and tracking across the entire project landscape – and thus supports holistic multi-project and portfolio management in companies. In addition to targeted, web-based support for all stakeholders, the MSO Project Manager combines standardization and individuality. Since the powerful basic software is individually developed with each customer, it could be optimally adapted to the internal needs of the automobile manufacturer.

MSO was also chosen because the software proved to be flexible, fast and easy to use in the very first presentation. For the strategic project manager, the proximity to the customer and MSO’s advice tailored to individual needs were the main reasons for choosing MSO:

“MSO convinced us with their personal and approachable manner. Already in the first meetings our questions were answered competently and tailored to our daily business. In addition, it was quickly apparent that we could start implementing the tool immediately, because it does not require any complex integration processes”.

In the meantime, the company has successfully managed more than 100 funding projects with the MSO Project Manager and has been able to significantly simplify and streamline project management, achieve more transparency and evaluate projects in a more targeted manner through stringent use of the tool.

Benefits

With the help of the MSO Project Manager, the automobile manufacturer was able to greatly improve the clarity of project control and reporting and increase efficiency.

The ability to call up the current status of the projects at any time from anywhere means that the next work steps can now be derived more quickly in a collaborative manner and upcoming milestones can be kept even more clearly in view. Simple document management, with which project-specific files can be immediately uploaded and assigned, means that current developments can be documented and retrieved at any time. The processes have been accelerated and simplified overall.

 

The solution effectively saves the company time and resources for tracking issues. The e-mail traffic required for coordination has decreased noticeably since the tool was introduced. In the course of development, complex calculation structures were also integrated into the tool to enable daily financial overviews and forecasts. In addition, various status reports allow topics to be consolidated at the push of a button and prepared for the upper management level up to the board of directors.

The MSO Project Manager enables central coordination, control and tracking across the entire project landscape.
The MSO Project Manager enables central coordination, control and tracking across the entire project landscape.

Prospect

A steady expansion of the analysis and reporting functions is planned for the coming years in order to obtain even more comprehensive and meaningful information on the funded projects in the future and to continuously increase their visibility within the organization. The existing roll-up and drill-down functionalities are to be further expanded. The aim is to enable multidimensional evaluations in the sense of a data cube that can be called up at any time.

AI functions are to support automated and intelligent data analysis, with the help of which direct attention is drawn to any opportunities and risks that may arise in individual projects as well as in the overall project portfolio.

 

Furthermore, a deeper integration of the tool into the existing system landscape is planned, for example via automated interface for data import, in order to facilitate the cost-side project management of the IPCEI projects. The usability of the tool will be further improved by a new user interface of the MSO Project Manager and the ongoing development of the mobile application.

 

In addition to the research funding topics, the automobile manufacturer also plans to intensify its cooperation with MSO: There are currently discussions about whether the MSO tools can also be applied and implemented for strategy management. A possible integration of the MSO Project Manager into the company’s intranet is also being examined at the moment.

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