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Esri Adopts Kimble to Streamline Resourcing, Boost Revenues, and Scale with Ease

Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, and mapping, turned to a Professional Services Automation system (PSA) when it became clear overly-manual resourcing processes would not be able to keep up with plans to aggressively grow headcount and revenue. Today, Esri uses Kimble PSA as their one source of truth for engagement and resourcing data. With Kimble, the team is enabled to make more strategic and impactful decisions, which have resulted in:

  • Increase in billable utilization, resulting in higher services revenue
  • Supporting significant expansion of services division staffing since rolling out Kimble in 2018
  • Increased confidence in the accuracy of financial projections (EAC, revenue forecast)

Challenge: Growth Plans Outpace Manual Resource Management Methods

Established in 1969, Esri is a global, privately owned software company specializing in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, spatial analytics and mapping. Esri’s software enables its customers to unlock the full value from their data. The services arm of Esri represents $250 in revenue annually, and it continues to grow at a double-digit pace.

According to Kevin Ochs, Director of Business Management at Esri, “What’s unique about Esri is that we actually don’t run our [services] business on just the bottom line. Of course, the bottom line is important, but customer success is our main priority.”

Since the software Esri offers is robust, with a wide variety of use cases across numerous industries, it was critical that the business would have the right resources ready to take on upcoming customer demand for professional services. Without these appropriately skilled resources, services teams would struggle to unlock the true value of Esri’s products for customers, hampering the division’s ability to drive customer satisfaction.

Recognizing the important role strategic resourcing would play in customer success as the business grew, Esri sought out a tool that would enable them to move beyond siloed, ad-hoc resourcing processes. This solution would need to offer Esri a single, accurate, and up-to-date source of truth for resourcing data, and it would need to provide real-time visibility into the greater financial implications of resourcing decisions on planned performance – against utilization, revenue projections, and more.

What started as a search for a tool to help with resourcing soon proved to be much greater. Esri quickly recognized the true potential of PSA — to empower leaders to make strategic and proactive decisions that have the potential to significantly move the needle and impact business performance and customer success.

Brad Johnson
“We couldn't have done business the way we do it today without Kimble. Communication used to be really good locally (within your hallway or office) but Kimble has driven communication globally. This became increasingly important during the pandemic as we weren’t in the office and we needed a tool we could use to collaborate. From a resourcing perspective, having Kimble was huge.”
- Brad Johnson, Business Execution Department Manager, Esri

Solution: Kimble PSA for Confident and Collaborative Business Planning, From Resourcing to Revenue

Adopting Kimble PSA enabled Esri to shift away from delivery-led allocation of resources and grow its centralized resourcing team, which has had a significant — and positive — downstream impact. The Esri team has added several hundred staff in the last three years, and Kimble has ensured the organization was able to scale with ease all while satisfying customers.

Today, Esri looks forward with confidence knowing the data fueling financial projections, estimates, and forecasts is up-to-date, accurate, comprehensive, and reliable. Kimble PSA has enabled Esri to grow internally, deliver quality products and services and streamline the entire resource management process — all while improving billable utilization and services revenue.

A Forward-Looking View of Financial Performance That Decision-Makers Can Trust

With Kimble, Esri can be confident that they have a complete, accurate, and up-to-date view of financials.

Kimble provides Esri with live, real-time updating dashboards and reports that accurately reflect the state of the business not only today but in the upcoming weeks, months, and quarters.

The team can be confident that forward looking projections and forecasts are accurate and reliable and can use this data to make key business decisions that have the potential to drastically move the needle.

“The real game changer of Kimble is the windshield view of our plans. Any accounting system will tell you where you've been, but Kimble gives us an accurate, up-to-date, living, and breathing plan. Kimble shows us our future demand — if we expect to be short or over-staffed we can turn some dials to hire and proactively make decisions that will influence the future.”
Kevin Ochs, Professional Services Business Management Director, Esri

One Source of Truth for All Resource Data

Today, Esri uses Kimble as their one source of truth for resourcing data. The team was previously keeping track of information such as skills or availability manually, and assigning, tracking, and managing resources without visibility into engagement status, costs, or business impact.

With Kimble, Esri has not only reduced the chaos around resourcing, but has optimized the entire process.

The team can be confident they are making data-informed decisions based on accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive resource and engagement information.

“Prior to Kimble, we requested resources through calls, emails, chat, or whoever was in your network. Kimble has provided us with that centralized communication channel where we can openly discuss and document resourcing data such as skills, availability, and vacation. Before Kimble, we were trying to track and manage those details on a whiteboard — it was really chaotic.”
Lana Tylka, Program Manager, Esri

Visibility into Career Goals Drives Skills Development

Today, the Esri team not only uses Kimble to see which resources have what skills, but also which resources are raising their hand to hone new skills or develop in certain areas of their career.

Resources are empowered to show interest in expanding their skills or raising their hand for certain types of engagements and Kimble makes it easy for them to keep this information updated.

This increased visibility gives both resources and managers the peace of mind that no critical career conversations are being left by the water-cooler.

“Kimble is actually allowing people to guide their own career path and skills development. They can say, ‘hey I want to work on this or learn about this kind of stuff.’ We never had that before Kimble. It was all about who you knew or who you were connected with.”
Brad Johnson, Business Execution Department Manager, Esri

Single Tool for Communication and Collaboration

Esri adopted Kimble PSA with hopes it would enhance collaboration and communication around resourcing — only to find an even greater need for a single, unified platform once Covid-19 sent all employees to their home offices.

Resourcing conversations that may have otherwise been handled on a whiteboard or in a hallway setting could now only take place virtually.

Today, the Esri team — regardless of location — can access, manage, and analyze all resourcing data in the Kimble platform.

“Collaboration in the office was such a big part of resourcing in the past, and under Covid we couldn't do that. The fact that we adopted Kimble prior to Covid was key. Even without the office, Kimble gave us a single platform for communication so we could continue our resourcing processes unbroken. Having a well-established process with Kimble in place really helped us stay effective during this time."
Laurie Matthews, Business Analytics Department Manager, Esri

Improvement in Billable Utilization and Margin

In the past three years, Esri has grown tremendously, with several hundred new employees joining the team. Kimble has enabled Esri to not only keep up with this growth, but efficiently meet Client demands and support Staff career and skill planning.

“To bring on that many new hires and still improve utilization each year has been phenomenal.”
Kevin Ochs, Director of Business Management, Esri

Results

  • Significant expansion of services division with many new staff successfully onboarded since 2018
  • Improved billable utilization resulting in more efficiently meeting Client demands and overall performance
  • Increased confidence in the accuracy of financial projections such as estimate at complete (EAC) and revenue forecast
  • Improved communication and collaboration despite remote work during Covid-19
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