How tracking time on projects helped a company increase its profits by almost 50%

I know you guys enjoy reading about other people’s projects. I’ve been doing research for my new book Collaboration Tools for Project Managers. (Is that the first time I’ve mentioned the official title of the book? It might be, I think.
There are many success stories. When I spoke to companies about their use of collaboration tools for project managing, one thing I noticed was that it is not about instant messaging or sharing status with clients. These features are normal, but teams still need to have robust project management functionality and time tracking.
This is a case study I was unable to include in my book, but it shows how cloud-based project management tools can do more than task management. They facilitate team collaboration. An Australian company increased its profitability by almost 50% by integrating time tracking.
It wasn’t difficult at all.
Understanding the Profitability Problem
Big Blue Digital, an Australian cloud system consultant, appeared to be thriving at first glance. The team had built over 600 websites and created more than 100 custom web applications by 2013. The team, which had its origins in 2000 from a home office, was a strong player in web development, web applications and online communication.
But CEO Brendon O‚ÄôSullivan was looking through the financial statements and noticed that things weren’t adding together. While they were taking on more projects than ever before, profits at the quarter’s end weren’t as high as they should have been. Brendon says, “We were losing money due to untracked billing hours, and I didn’t have any way of seeing where the time was going.”
The business was also leaking project time from their professional team. They were also struggling with inefficiencies due to using clunky software.
Brendon states that, “Apart Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we were using Excel sheets, and the excessive administrative burden was just ridiculous – It just wasn’t working anymore for our business.”
Slow billing and ties to tools
Ineffective tools led to delayed billing of project work. This had an impact on cash flow. “Historically, we reached as low as 60 days per billing cycle, which is quite bad from a cash flow perspective. Our invoices would be sent late and paid too late. Everything we did was too late!
Big Blue Digital’s challenges were made more difficult by their long-term partnership. This gave them incentives and incentives to use Dynamics to manage their business. It was difficult to transition to a new platform because of the perks of being a partner and the time and effort they invested in making it work for them.
Brendon says, “The reason we made this necessary change was because it was the right time to improve the business efficiency”
A New Suite of Software
Big Blue Digital chose to replace Microsoft Dynamics CRM by Accelo. This software is specifically designed for professional service firms and combines project management functionality with client management and collaboration tools. They also switched to Google Apps over Exchange and used Xero instead of QuickBooks.
The Challenge of Time Tracking…and the Benefit
Brendon had to train his team to track their time. This was not unusual for the industry. It was hard to adjust to a change in behavior. It took time for everyone involved to get used time tracking.
Accelo, as Brendon discovered, “By automating time tracking and providing real-time visibility, Accelo makes it simple for me and my team.” It has.