Tracking Data on the Move
ProcessFlows’ Client Services is using Intuitive Business Intelligence Dashboards to provide an at-a-glance, real-time view of their services/consultancy activity and Support Contract renewal process. Being able to ‘see’ who is doing what and when, which projects are overrunning and newly logged requests, is giving management the ability to make informed decisions which positively influence productivity and ultimately, profitability.
ProcessFlows Services works across every area of the business – supporting sales with the technical elements of every business proposal, through the software integration project, to ongoing post installation 24/7 helpdesk.
Balancing staff and resources
At any time, Graham Reddie, Services Director at ProcessFlows, can be managing up to 30 Service staff based at customer sites or at home, plus a team of 15 office based help desk staff in Winchester and Sofia; all working on a diverse range of projects and tasks.
A need to access data in real time
Graham said; “We needed access to live information and the ability to query the data to help us make well informed decisions.”
Dashboards Business Intelligence Software was able to help
Dashboards is a real-time user interface which, once integrated with back office systems, graphically presents data on the current status of the business – its systems, historical trends and key performance indicators (KPIs), providing a much better insight into what is going on.
Similar to the instruments on a car, Dashboards gathers and displays data. It confirms when there is nothing to worry about and if it picks up and identifies anomalies and hidden patterns in your data, it will reveal that information in a simple dashboard … so you have time to take evasive action and limit the damage.
The Challenges Managing the 3 key service areas of Consultancy, Contracts and Technical Support and how Dashboards helped ProcessFlows increase efficiency and profitability
If projects supporting pre and post sales activities and customer installations overrun, additional on-site days are required. More often than not, these are not chargeable to the customer. To protect revenues, it is essential that these unpaid days are kept to a minimum.
ProcessFlows manually collated monthly reports on consultancy activity and productivity, recording the amount of revenue delivered by each analyst during that month and year-to-date in an Excel spreadsheet, which was then distributed a week after month-end.
The report was time consuming to produce and it proved virtually impossible to take any remedial action on lower performing months, as by the time the report was received, the data was out-of-date and it was too late to be actionable.
As well as having to wait for information, the relatively inflexible format of a spreadsheet made it difficult to spot any emerging trends from the data and it was not feasible to manipulate and query the data in a different way for any ‘what-if’ scenario planning.
Dashboards solves this problem by providing real-time information and reporting flexibility … as well as providing a forensic insight into what really is going on
Intuitive Dashboards was integrated with MC Excel, giving Dashboards direct access to consultancy data. Utilising Dashboards, ProcessFlows now has the additional ability to categorise and view the consultancy report data in a variety of customised and more meaningful ways.
Timesheets are used to drive the Dashboards, enabling ProcessFlows to see real-time views of time-splits at any period in the month. This ensures that months showing signs of poor performance are instantly identified and faster decisions are taken to rectify potential shortfalls.
When analysing unpaid work, the management team now clearly sees where consultancy time is being spent, what projects are at risk of overrunning and if site visits are required to help meet installation deadlines.
Previously unidentified operational issues came to light
Dashboards revealed that high levels of expensive pre-sales and help desk resource was being taken up solving simple queries and issues.
ProcessFlows transferred this task to its offshore base in Sofia and immediately reclaimed over 30 days a month of consultancy and help desk time.
This decision has reduced operational running costs by approximately £25,000 annually. Reclaimed consultancy time can be deployed to generate further revenues.
ProcessFlows’ Contracts Team had been unable to create informative reports efficiently or create alerts for customer contract renewal dates. The result was that in spite of best-efforts, ProcessFlows’ suppliers, who back-to-back ProcessFlows’ customer support contracts, started to penalise them for each contract not renewed with them before the annual expiry date. This was costing the company up to £30,000 a year.
A typical monthly, spreadsheet report would take in excess of three hours to collate. And again, it was a static report that was out of date almost immediately.
Also, there was no way of creating an automatic prompt to alert the Contracts Team of any contracts approaching renewal date, something which would really help to circumvent the penalties.
The lack of flexibility for data analysis or the ability to drill any further into the data for discovery purposes or performance comparisons against previous months/years, exacerbated the problems.
Dashboards tracks each contract
Dashboards was integrated with OnBase document management, which holds all contract customer and supplier information, to enable quick and easy retrieval of contract details from the Dashboard interface.
Dashboards now tracks and displays key data throughout the contract management process; providing comprehensive drill-down access to the data for analysis and explanation at every stage and providing clear notification of all renewal dates in advance.
Higher levels of renewals
There has been a 1% uplift in annual renewals as a result of using Dashboards, which equates to increased revenues of almost £30,000 a year. Savings from no longer having to fund supplier late-renewal penalties boost the savings to just under £60,000.
ProcessFlows’ busy technical support desk handles incident calls from customers on a wide variety subjects, about lots of different software solutions.
Working with a disparate team increased the need for senior managers to have instant, real-time visualisation of the incidents currently being handled, along with an accurate perspective of daily incidents resolved by individual members of the support team.
Services Director, Graham Reddie also wanted to embed a sense of transparency amongst staff and encourage own performance KPI management, which would, in turn, help to increase productivity across the department.
It is now easy to track how many incidents the helpdesk team are currently working on and what they did earlier in the day
Dashboards is integrated with ProcessFlows’ CRM system, SalesLogix, so it can seamlessly extract relevant data.
Dashboards display real-time current daily activity. Information is broken down by product/solution. Which team member is working on what incident is displayed, along with the status of each incident.
Delivering this level of transparency has improved performance
“It’s encouraging to see that a number of the helpdesk team are actively using this Dashboard on their work stations to track how they and their colleagues are performing.” said Graham.
Intuitive Dashboards has transformed the way we ‘view’ our business and helped us identify areas where substantial savings could be made. It is therefore key to the future, efficient running of ProcessFlows; ensuring that we don’t miss any further cost and time saving opportunities.
Chris Thompson, Managing Director, ProcessFlows.
Intuitive Dashboards has provided an invaluable, fresh insight into several areas of the business. This has allowed us to identify and achie ve additional, unforeseen cost and time savings. It has also encouraged an open working environment which complements our organisational culture of light management and self-responsibility.
Graham Reddie, Services Director, ProcessFlows
How ProcessFlows made Dashboards work for them – examples, practical hints and tips
Below are examples of the Dashboards created by Graham to help ProcessFlows better manage Incidents, Consultancy and Contracts.
Dashboard 1 – Activity Today
Activity Today was the first report Graham created and one that provided the quickest and some of the best results. It was easy to connect Intuitive into the SQL database of our CRM system, SalesLogix and extract the relevant data. The report is very simple, it’s updated every 15 minutes and it simply shows Activity Today.
Dashboard 2 – Incident Days to Go
This dashboard is a prototype/demo for a ProcessFlows outsourcing customer who supplies hosted data-centre centre solutions (ProcessFlows provide service desk facilities for them from their outsourcing facility in Sofia).
It is not easy for staff to associate callers logging similar or related issues (which come in on several lines to different team members) and pick up any emerging trends or underlying issues, which ideally, need to be flagged up to the client as soon as possible. These only emerged in the month-end report.
The customer wanted to be able to work more dynamically with live data so that any issues can quickly be identified and solved; thus improving customer service for their clients.
Our Outsourcing customer will be able to access this live dashboard on the ProcessFlows web hosted helpdesk platform, giving them access to their information for trend-spotting and the ability to edit an associated incident should the need arise.
Dashboard 1 – Consultancy Unpaid
The exact same data is recorded as on the month-end spreadsheet (but this uses live information). It’s very intuitive and work can be broken down into different categories and viewed in many different ways.
This information can be used to make on the spot decisions which will improve services for customers and reduce the number of unpaid consultancy days.
- Specifically looking at unpaid work, we can see where the analyst’s time is going.
- Bottom left is a list of the activities for the area you have drilled-down to. It’s showing that a lot of resource is spent covering helpdesk and providing pre-sales activity.
- Looking further into the data, you can see exactly who has been doing what.
Dashboard 2 – Consultancy Unpaid Overruns
This dashboard report allows us to look specifically at the consultancy work that is unpaid, typically from projects overrunning the extra site visits needed to complete product installations.
Graham wrote this report to quickly help identify contracts which were approaching their SED (Supplier End Date). The report proved amazingly useful and keeps ProcessFlows ahead of the game.
If you would like more information about Dashboards, please call us on +44 (0) 1962 835053, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.