Plugging Productivity Power Into Microsoft® Outlook® With PlanPlus™


Plugging Productivity Power Into Microsoft® Outlook® With PlanPlus™
Case Study
Plugging Productivity Power Into
Microsoft® Outlook® With PlanPlus™
Executive Summary
Implementing PlanPlus for Microsoft
Outlook software at Ameren has enabled
some employees to manage their time
more productively, focus on what’s
important to the company, and bring
more control and peace of mind to their
work environment and their personal
“With PlanPlus, we feel we’ve finally
found a product that will work in our
environment to help our employees
become more organized and effective.”
—Christa Grosser,Training Specialist,
Organization Effectiveness Department,
“Time management is an individual
thing, and PlanPlus really meets my
—Anne Offner, Org. Development Specialist,
Organizational and Leadership Development,
Using Technology to Focus
When Training Specialist Christa Grosser
of Ameren’s Organization Effectiveness
Department first heard about
FranklinCovey’s PlanPlus software, she
was excited. She learned that PlanPlus is
an exclusive add-on tool that seamlessly
integrates FranklinCovey’s proven
planning and time-management processes
within Outlook’s standard scheduling and
e-mail environment.
“Because Microsoft Outlook used so
widely at Ameren, I wanted to offer a
time-management extension to the
software to help employees sharpen their
focus on top priorities while creating
balance in their professional and personal
lives,” Grosser said.
Ameren is an energy-services company
that serves 1.7 million electric customers
and 500,000 natural-gas customers in a
49,000-square-mile area of Missouri and
Illinois.The company owns a diverse mix
of electric generating plants in its
Midwest market with a capacity of more
than 14,500 megawatts.
PlanPlus encourages employees to create
and practice the habit of proactive
planning. It increases employee
productivity and effectiveness by keeping
employees on track with their
organization’s “big picture” goals while
also helping them successfully manage all
of their daily tasks and commitments.
Training to Complement
In February 2003, Grosser met with
Ameren’s IT team to determine if
PlanPlus would be compatible with the
company’s technology architecture. Initial
testing proved that it was. In early 2003,
PlanPlus was installed on 35 PCs (with
installations continuing to grow), and
Grosser kicked off the FranklinCovey
training component.
Before training began, Grosser was
concerned about the many employees in
her company who use PDAs (Palm®
handhelds or Pocket PCs) in conjunction
with Outlook as their primary planningand-scheduling tool.When she learned
that key PlanPlus data syncs to most
PDAs, Grosser knew she had a digital
solution that would fit nicely.
“What we’re finding is that most of our
employees are using some type of PDA,
yet we couldn’t find an integrated
planning platform that met their needs.
With PlanPlus, we feel we’ve finally
found a product that will work in our
environment to help our employees
become more organized and effective.”
Grosser scheduled employees for onehour orientation sessions on PlanPlus
followed by the new one-day workshop
FOCUS: Achieving Your Highest Priorities™.
Concerning the one-hour PlanPlus
sessions, Grosser said, “They were
definitely helpful. At first, some of our IT
gurus were skeptical that PlanPlus added
any value to Outlook. But when they
] ©2003 FranklinCovey
learned about the time-management and
personal-organization benefits, they were
very impressed.”
Employees also experienced the one-day
Focus workshop, which teaches
participants how to:
• Lead a balanced and fulfilling life
through proven time-management and
planning methods.
• Reduce stress by recognizing and
eliminating low-priority activities and
• Gain control of the competing
demands on their time—e-mail, voice
mail, meetings, and interruptions.
• Use PlanPlus software to plan and
achieve professional and personal
goals—all from within Microsoft
drag and drop tasks into your task list and
track them.”
Allen added, “I also use PlanPlus to track
when monthly reports are due. I produce
a department report each month, and I
also have to file monthly reports with the
Illinois Commerce Commission. I track
when those reports are due and set them
up as recurring monthly activities with
Anne Offner, Organization Development
Specialist at Ameren who holds a
doctorate in organizational psychology,
works in organizational and leadership
development corporatewide. She’s
impressed with the versatility of PlanPlus
and how she can customize it to support
how she works day to day.
“Time management is an individual
thing, and PlanPlus really meets my
needs,” Offner said. “My task load and the
urgency of those tasks can vary from day
to day. It’s great to keep a running task
list visible because something that may be
low-priority this week might be higher
next month and I can devote some
proactive attention to it in advance.”
“The installation ran smoothly, including
support for handhelds such as Palm and
Pocket PC devices.”
“What I like about implementing
PlanPlus is that you don’t really have to
do anything but install it and start using it
immediately,” added Grosser. “For those
people who are keeping their calendar
and scheduling tasks and events
electronically, PlanPlus is the best I’ve
seen for the digital user.”
Grosser concluded, “If you want to have
tools and knowledge to be a more
effective employee and individual, to
create balance in your life, to have a way
to manage that life at work and outside
work, then the content and materials of
the Focus workshop will help you do that,
and PlanPlus is the application tool to
help you manage it all effectively.”
Up and Running in No Time
PlanPlus Home View
The PlanPlus Home view brings three most
frequently used Outlook tools into one
convenient view—calendar, e-mail, and task
Day-to-Day Benefits of
Sharon Allen is a 19-year veteran of
Ameren and one of five team members in
the company’s Alternate Retail Electric
Suppliers (ARES) business center. She
works with retail customers in Illinois
and has been using PlanPlus for several
Regarding PlanPlus, she said, “I like how
you can see everything in one view—
your tasks, schedule for the day, and emails all at one time. I think that’s very,
very helpful. Plus, it’s nice to be able to
For any company installing new software,
ease of installation and deployment to
employees ranks pretty high on the
technical-needs list. For Sharon Harness,
Information Technology Specialist at
Ameren, this was a high priority as well.
Since Ameren has a standard system for
deploying software to their personnel,
Harness wanted to follow existing
protocol. She was impressed at how easily
and quickly PlanPlus installation and
deployment fit within their current
system.The first step was a simple process
of creating the PlanPlus install “package.”
Next, this PlanPlus package was added to
their standard “software mall” and made
available to their employees. Finally, each
employee simply selected PlanPlus from
the “software mall,” and it automatically
installed on their local computer.
Goals Wizard
Interactive wizards engage and teach users
how to effectively use tools such as goal
setting, developing a mission statement, and
weekly planning within PlanPlus.
For more information on PlanPlus for
Microsoft Outlook, the Focus workshop,
or other elements of the FranklinCovey
Focus Solution, please call 1-888-868-1776,
or go online at
To learn more about Ameren and their
services, please visit
“Once we created the package, installing
PlanPlus was a simple task,” Harness said.
©2003 FranklinCovey Co. All rights reserved. 0304034 SKU 74314
Microsoft and Outlook are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owner.

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