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How we learned to use our delivery teams more effectively

If you have been following our previous blogs you’ll now be well aware of the power and capability of NetSuite SRP as a project management offering and how this can be enhanced. However, one of the areas that we and our other clients really struggled with in standard NetSuite SRP is in fact the biggest benefit you are likely to get out of any PSA solution……Utilisation

Problem #3: We couldn’t answer the three key questions for our management team

As with all services companies Cooper Software lives and dies by effective use of our delivery team.

The three key questions we were getting consistently challenged on by our management team was

  • How much work is in the pipeline?
  • How many people are on the bench?
  • How many people do I need in 30, 60 & 90 days’ time?

We could always get this information but it relied on running several individual reports (Actual Utilisation, Allocated Utilisation, Sales by Service, Pipeline etc….), exporting to Excel and then further enriching of data to add in what we saw as being gaps in NetSuite functionality such as:

  • Ability to set individual utilisation targets
  • Ability to report pulling Planned/Allocated and Actuals together seamlessly
  • Ability to easily forecast utilisation in the same way
  • Project Charges being able to be used in forecast
  • Establish forecast/quotas based on custom segments
  • Ability to track all the above against budget and target

All of this was hampering our ability to deliver this key information to our executives to make critical business and recruitment decisions, made even more frustrating by the fact that we knew all the data ‘lived’ in NetSuite!

How we solved it

We decided to again add to our Pro-Scope for NetSuite SRP solution and create dashboard applications that would allow us to close these gaps

The starting point was to allow some of this data to be captured that could then be enriched with transactional data from NetSuite. Our consultants added configuration objects to allow us to capture the team structures we wished to use; that maintained customers current setup.

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We then set about setting individual utilisation targets on the employee.

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To finish the utilisation reporting we needed a way to capture what projects we wanted to omit for calculations. Again, NetSuite custom records to the rescue giving us the ability to classify which projects we would use for Holiday and Absence

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With all this configuration we are then able to generate our dashboard utilisation allowing us at a glance to see

  • The number of days available based on working calendar
  • The number of holidays/absence/to be excluded projects
  • The number of billable days available broken down by
    • Billable days logged
    • Non billable days logged
  • Timesheet completed (RED missing)
  • Billable utilisation
  • Target
  • Variance

This view then allows us to select dates in the future to view allocated/planned time to see what work has been planned in based on allocations/time entries.

Actual and Planned utilisation on our dashboard in one view for any time period we wanted! All exportable to Excel to share if needed

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The final step in this process was then easily viewing our Billings, Backlog and Forecast by budget vs target. Again, we needed a way to track all our transactions, projects etc… in a way that didn’t affect our department/class set up so we hit upon using “Target Categories”

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We then tagged all transactions/projects/opportunities that flowed through the system

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This then gives a live, joined up, drill downable view of

  • Sales Forecasted to land in the period
  • Current Billable work (Planned and actual)
  • Current Invoicing
  • Budget
  • Target
  • Variances (Gap and Outlook Gap)

These two pieces of information presented live on the dashboard are currently transforming our business and are game changers for us internally, replacing a BI solution we used to try and draw this information together and answering the key Professional Service business questions.

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