Kimble

MC+A: supplying business intelligence more intelligently

MC+A helps its clients build, find and share business intelligence securely. As a company that improves business intelligence for its customers, MC+A saw an opportunity to better its own business intelligence by automating its manual planning and reporting processes.

MC+A’s profit is dependent on the efficient management of consultants being contracted out on chargeable projects. Not only was that management managed manually across spreadsheets, its internal time and expense submissions and its forecasting were also performed manually across multiple spreadsheets.

It was also proving difficult to integrate that information with the Salesforce platform, the main system of record for its front office.

Their barriers to growth

These spreadsheets recorded all of the vital business information used to produce quarterly forecasts. MC+A Managing Director Michael Cizmar recognized these spreadsheets were not providing him and his team with the best possible quality of information.

Michael said: “I’ve worked in professional services for 20 years and I’ve used every Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution that can be seen on the first two pages of Google. We were manually producing quarterly ‘cliff’ reports as part of our forecasting, which by the time they were completed would be largely out-of-date. I knew this wasn’t good enough but also knew nothing on the market suited our exact needs.

“Our key challenges are managing our bench and pipeline and having the insight that allows us to ensure that our utilization is at its optimum level. The bottom line is the most important thing. Making revenue predictions and understanding where we’re going to be in the future is the most critical piece of information to us. It was wanting this information that led us to Kimble.”

One of the key requirements for MC+A was integration with Salesforce.com. As the main system of record for its front office, the back office has started drawing its data from the Salesforce platform. After looking at what was available on the market, the Kimble tool was the leading product which integrates with Salesforce.

“A real benefit of our adoption of Kimble is that it manages our information across the whole IT chain. Now when the team books something into Salesforce, that information flows throughout the front and back office. This makes it so much easier for us to manage our resources and monitor and forecast our cash flows.

“We do a lot of implementation work with product companies so we’re aware about how our money management is much more sensitive in the planning stage than our clients. Whereas a product company can book revenue based on the fulfilment of the order, we fulfil ours on a daily basis so it’s more gradual. We’re also very aware that we cannot make up lost days over the course of a financial year.

“As the Managing Director I’m always looking to predict where the business will be in three to six months. Kimble has massively freed up my time by automating the production of my reports. With more accurate information in my hands I am confident I am making better decisions that benefit myself, my team and ultimately our clients.”

What are the outcomes for the business? 

Since moving to Kimble, Michael has seen three key benefits to MC+A’s operations:

  • Business efficiency. MC+A is now closing its reporting in 24 to 48 hours from the end of the month. This process used to take weeks while the various spreadsheets were verified. Michael has noticed a significant improvement with staff engagement on time and expense entries. Using the Kimble mobile app, submissions are happening in a more timely fashion. Equally, managers are able to approve submissions much more quickly through their mobile devices.
  • Reduced overheads. Thanks to receiving better information from its own database, MC+A is able to produce more accurate forecasts and improve its resource allocation for client projects. This has led to an overall reduction in overheads as the business has optimized it’s performance and invests less time in operational activity.
  • Improvement in data quality. Thanks to the power of Kimble, MC+A is producing intra-month utilization and activity reports and slicing the data in more ways than it ever has before. The business has more faith in data as it flows throughout the whole system once it has been entered in Kimble. This has also had a knock-on effect in reducing the amount of time and resources allocated to data entry.

Michael concluded: “We’ve been able to recoup our outlay on Kimble in just six months through improved efficiency. We’re sending people out on more revenue generating work. It’s an investment that continues to deliver as the business grows. Data accuracy is everything to us and with Kimble we’ve eliminated the spreadsheets, we’ve eliminated the hours spent managing those reports. We know our data is accurate and up-to-date.

“The previous experience that Kimble has of engaging with professional services was a major factor in our selection of the product and we’ve started recommending Kimble to our clients. We consider it the best PSA tool out there.”