Clarity Consulting: stepping up to the challenges of an expanding business

How do you manage a step change in the business? This was the problem that Clarity Consulting faced when it decided to introduce software product and delivery into its portfolio of services for designing, developing and customizing software applications.

For 18 years the business was run on spreadsheets. Clarity recognized it needed a major overhaul of its management and information systems if it was going to control its growth and sustain its profits.

Overcoming its business hurdles

Clarity was very clear about what it needed to change. As the company’s CTO Jon Rauschenberger commented: “Our service business lives and dies by utilization, it is our number one business metric. As the company grew, we recognized that access to utilization information for management was a big driver in our evolution.”

Kimble was selected to address the  resource allocation and utilization challenge as well as help to address other key issues such as balancing the sales pipeline against staff assignments and ensuring that its customers were receiving timely and accurate invoices.

“The integration with Salesforce was key towards us deciding to choose Kimble,” said Jon. “We had decided that Salesforce would be our CRM and sales organization platform, so having a single tool that seamlessly integrated and provides visibility across the customer journey from initial contact to providing software services is extremely valuable.”

Jon continued: “The CRM and sales integration has also led to a significant improvement in forecasting and reporting. With Kimble our forecasting is based on data from across the business, while reporting can be broken down into multiple subsections to provide detail that previously we were unable to see.”

Thanks to this view of organization-wide data, Clarity Consulting’s consultants are now improving their own project management. Able to run their own assignments within projects, staff can see what resources are available and plan projects accordingly. All reporting is then fed back into the Kimble platform.

Kimble’s single platform for observing data from across the business has also allowed Clarity Consulting to make its invoicing process more accurate and efficient. “We needed something that would scale better and allow us to collect the revenue we were generating,” commented Jon.

“Our back office processing has been roundly impacted by Kimble in a really positive fashion. Closing financial reporting is now taking two to three weeks, compared to the six to eight weeks it used to take before we had Kimble.”

The outcomes for Clarity Consulting

Jon has identified three major operational benefits to adopting Kimble:

  • Efficiencies in project management which is boosting revenue. Clarity has a much tighter grip on allocating resources to projects and ensuring that staff with the right skills are working on the projects best suited to their talent. Coupled with the integration between its CRM and sales platforms, consultants are opening up new revenue streams by identifying upselling opportunities.
  • Dramatic improvements of data quality, benefitting the back office and customers. The back office now manages time entry, expenses, invoices and payments all in a single system and is investing less time in checking the data. Its focus is now directed towards the processes that keep the business functioning. Data quality is also helping the management team who can drill down into all areas of the business to review what is working well and where they can make improvements.
  • Stronger customer relationships. With time entry data reflecting how it appears on invoices, customers are receiving accurate and timely invoices and overall Kimble has witnessed a reduction in customer relationship issues.

The improvements in operational performance continue to extend throughout the business. Jon continues: “Kimble was an attractive proposition to us because not only did it meet our needs as a consultancy business, but as a hosted system it has dramatically relieved the burden of internal infrastructure management.

“Kimble offers growth scalability options that we would not have been able to achieve if we still had to allocate time and resources into our internal infrastructure management. Kimble helped us to iron out challenges we had moving from a pure services to a services-and-product company.

“It’s clear Kimble was built by people who understand how services businesses really work. Not only does it overcome key challenges facing consultancy businesses, the support Kimble has provided before, during and after implementation has been exemplary. Our decision to migrate to Kimble has been vindicated with a product that performs to our very needs.”