March 2, 2021
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Managing Beyond the Project with The BEN

  • By Bradley L. Jones
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The BEN provides a system for tracking nearly all information on all projects. More importantly, it provides the ability to create views into the planning and management of everything happening. Views can be created for everyone that is in need of access to the project information. This may be the executives, the project managers, the developers, or even partners outside the main organization. These views can contain planning, testing, budget and financial, or any other types of information. Additionally, these views can be tied into systems outside of the standard BEN.

In addition to the project management capabilities, the BEN also provides:

  • project portfolio management
  • Project financials including configurable budgeting rules
  • Budget support for initiatives, billable, and non-billable projects
  • Multi-budget approval abilities as well as features for project funding
  • Invoicing and billing options for working with third parties such as service providers.
  • Service relationship management
  • Customizable dashboard and CFO portal applications
  • Accessibility and collaboration
  • BI reporting an OLAP cubes
  • Audit logs and other security features
  • Ability to track and score performance
  • Integration with a number of ERP systems including Peoplesoft, SAP, and Oracle Financials.

Granted, with all these abilities and features, there is a cost. While users can access the system using Internet Explorer, it does not mean that the price is cheap. Pricing for the BEN starts at around $100,000 and can range as high as $2,000,000 or more. Most small companies will find that this is pricier than they can afford. Because of this, many of the current users of BEN are Global 2000 companies.

The BEN can be accessed using Internet Explorer. Additionally, the BEN was developed using a number of standards that allow it to be configurable as well as secure. It can support both Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle databases. Additionally, it uses SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) as well as XML for interfacing. By using these standards, it is much easier to build interacting systems with the BEN. The BEN is also .NET compliant

The Business Engine Network operates using the concepts of channels and homepages. Just like Internet terminology, a home page is generally the starting point for a person on the system. A home page can be customized for a group of people (roles) or for an individual. For example, a project team member will be interested in a completely different set of information than a CFO. As such, each can have custom home pages. Going beyond the Internet use of the term home page, the BEN provides a number of different home pages that can be used. This includes user home pages, initiative home pages, project home pages, organizational home pages, and financial management home pages. Each of these can be customized to individual users or roles with in the organization.

In addition to the home pages, there are channels within the BEN. These channels can be used. To organize information such as costs, issues, dates, links, and more. These channels are set up so that it is possible to dig into the information in order to obtain finer levels of detail. Each channel is general created with a specific functionality (such as tracking time) or to provide information to a specific role (such as systems project information for a project manager).

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This article was originally published on March 6, 2003

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