FactSet is a financial data and software company that specializes in creating flexible, open data and software solutions for investment professionals. Headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, the company has been in business for over 40 years.
Today, the company has over 10,000 employees in 37 offices in 20 countries and serves over 180,000 investment professionals by providing instant access to financial data and analytics they can use to make decisions.
In the investment world, insight and speed are crucial for success. As a provider of financial data analytics, FactSet’s leaders knew that to grow their business and continue delivering exceptional client service, the company needed to further their customer-oriented delivery mindset and develop software faster. This led to a gradual, organic shift to Agile.
But the company’s business agility leaders soon realized that they needed a better toolset to support a large-scale transition. “We didn’t have good visibility and transparency into all the work that was going on,” said Sanjeev Acharya, head of project and portfolio management technology at FactSet. “Everybody had their own spreadsheets, and we couldn’t tell who was working on what.”
According to Acharya, lack of visibility meant that people were not always on the same page in terms of priorities, projects were not always in line with strategic initiatives, and the organization was not consistently making the best use of its talent.
To address these challenges, FactSet’s Enterprise Collaboration Technology department leaders evaluated different project and portfolio management tools. After an evaluation period that included a proof of concept, they selected Apptio Targetprocess. Targetprocess enables organizations to connect teams, products, and portfolios to business objectives and scale Agile across the business.
Once Targetprocess was implemented, FactSet’s leaders defined the company’s strategic projects and entered them into the platform. This enabled the teams to see what everyone was working on and how those projects contributed to the company’s business objectives.
Before implementing Targetprocess, engineering teams used Jira to manage their work. According to Acharya, Jira works for managing team-level work items and tracking issues, but they needed a portfolio-level solution that could complement Jira. This made it important for Targetprocess and Jira to work together.
“We have real-time integration with Jira, and we’re passing a lot of information back and forth,” Acharya said. “It was big for us when we hooked up Targetprocess with Jira.”
By defining their high-level initiatives, aligning them with strategic priorities, and sharing information with Jira, FactSet has been able to keep its teams informed, focused, and connected with the company’s customer-oriented outcomes.
“Having all of that information in there, enabling everybody stay on the same page, making it transparent, making it visible, and then also tying it to our strategic themes and our corporate strategy has given people a sense of how their work is contributing to the success of the company,” Acharya said.
In addition to enabling FactSet’s DevOps teams to see how their work contributes to the company’s success, Targetprocess is helping them simplify reporting. Program managers, product development managers, and other management leaders now use Targetprocess to get the most current information they need to make decisions. This is helping to eliminate the need for spreadsheets and other sources of information that were previously used to satisfy reporting requests.
“We are working to make Targetprocess the source of truth for our information and reporting needs,” Acharya said.
According to Acharya, centralized information combined with Targetprocess’s dashboard features for reporting has been one of the biggest benefits of the product. “Visibility, transparency, and being able to track deliverables and key milestones have been major benefits,” he said. “We used to have this huge spreadsheet for tracking key milestones. But now, we do that in Targetprocess.”
Prior to Targetprocess, it was difficult for managers to see what teams were working on because the toolset they were using did not provide good visibility. As a result, collaboration was challenging, and teams sometimes inadvertently worked on similar projects without realizing it.
According to Acharya, Targetprocess has helped address this issue. Teams now can see what others are working on, and that has helped increase collaboration and productivity. “Better visibility has helped us reduce duplication of work,” he said.
FactSet is pursuing a variety of corporate strategies as it seeks to serve its customers and grow its business. There are ongoing digital transformation initiatives associated with opening customer access to information via APIs, developing better workflow solutions for clients to interact with FactSet software and data, and improving the content and data they provide.
Acharya expects Targetprocess to play a key role in helping the company accomplish those objectives. “It definitely helps with our execution excellence: improving how we execute our projects,” he said.
So far, FactSet has about 1,000 people using Targetprocess. As adoption grows, Acharya sees Targetprocess becoming an essential source of information for making strategic decisions, including where the company needs to invest funds.
“We are using Targetprocess today to report on our labor capitalization, and that’s been a big thing for us,” he said. “Eventually, Targetprocess should allow us to make better decisions about which projects we fund and which ones we do not. And that is going to help us across all our strategic areas.”