For San Francisco-based consulting services firm Atlas Cloud Solutions the time from signing the Kimble contract to going live was just three weeks. After adoption, they experienced an eight percent increase in profitability.
For Delivery Director Carlos Castro one of the major benefits of Kimble has been adopting the best practice processes which come along with it. Moving to a more forward-looking culture with accurate sales forecasts and proactive resourcing has allowed Atlas Cloud Solutions to make better decisions, he said. “The main benefit is the framework, you don’t have to spend time figuring out ‘what business practices do I need to put in place to use the tool?’ because it comes with best practice.
“You can allow people to see everything front to back or you can keep them focused. We only let contractors enter time and that’s it, but employees have full visibility.”
Castro explained how business performance has improved both proactively in terms of resourcing earlier, and retroactively, managing accounts before they go red. They are more able to steer towards the most appropriate and most profitable projects. “Before we were just looking at raw amounts, the dollar signs not rates versus resource costs or resource utilization based on role.” Having better forecasts prompted a decision to bring certain roles in-house due to ongoing demand.
This has also positively impacted customer satisfaction. “It means we no longer have to have those difficult conversations because we gave them a contract saying one thing and reality turned out to be different.” The number of projects going over budget has fallen from ten percent to between 2 and 5%.
Initially, Atlas Cloud Solutions decided to bring in PSA in order to improve visibility: “Things were very compartmentalized, project managers looked at resource management, accounting looked at invoices.
“We wanted something built on the Salesforce platform, aligned to project management. Kimble fits those criteria, and the visibility that it offered across the board was the main driver. That translated into efficiencies. It made it easier to run our business.”
He said having an easily accessible baseline cost that shows what the customer initially signed up to is beneficial. The fact that changes made to this are trackable helps to maintain accountability. A robust time management system and an invoice system which shows what has gone out and what is pending are other important features.
“We used to spend a lot of time reviewing time, now we ask each project team member to go in and update their metrics. We used to run two weeks behind with invoices, it took two weeks to chase people get them to enter time, generate invoices. With Kimble, we issue our invoices within three days.”
Using Kimble also enables Atlas Cloud Solutions to track the resources utilized in pre-sales effort to win deals. “We have visibility into how much resourcing we were putting into closing deals. Previously we didn’t track the time spent on winning deals, now we are tracking this, seeing trends.”
Sharing live, real-time data across the business improves communication. “We have better collaboration between the sales team and the management team, creating engagements with correct roles.” And looking down the pipeline ahead drives recruitment. “If a role is in high demand then the resources team decide to go and hire for that role”
For Atlas Cloud Solutions, the roll out of Kimble was smooth, with the support team being “engaged and responsive.” The Atlas team used a proof of concept to familiarize themselves with the product beforehand so they were ready to hit the ground running after signing the contract. Adapting business process and bringing in the discipline and empowerment which are required to make the best use of the increased visibility Kimble creates took longer. “That took us several months. There was strong support by management, we were driving team members to use the tools in the way they were meant to, The sales folks were saying, ‘Why do I have to enter the engagement now?’ and consultants were saying, ‘Why do I have to enter my time on a regular basis?’ That took us a while.
Castro said he would recommend Kimble: “to any company looking for a framework that is based on best practice and keeps an open mind to using that framework.”