Project Management for Interactive Agencies

Agencies of Change

"Project Insight has helped us manage all of the projects related to the system upgrade program… One of the main reasons we selected Project Insight is because we felt that their customer support is superior to all the other companies that we were evaluating."
- Director, Program Management Office (PMO)

Main Challenges

Due to unprecedented growth in the company, Agencies of Change had outgrown its previous project management tools, including MS Project desktop and Excel. These desktop applications are not inherently collaborative. They attempted to deploy a high end solution in 2001. This effort ultimately failed because the high end solution was too cumbersome for the basic team members to adopt.

  • Rapidly growing business
  • Using Microsoft Project and Excel for project management
  • Failed high end project management implementation
  • Needed a solution that would be adopted by all team members
  • Required integration with MS Dynamics accounting and a home grown expense entry system

Because their previous project management solutions were either not collaborative or too cumbersome, they knew they needed a solution that was easy to use, yet able to satisfy the more experienced project managers. The project management solution also needed to be web based, so that any employee could access it anywhere, at any time, and the data could be updated in real time. Agencies of Change also had an existing home grown expense entry system and an accounting system that they wanted to integrate with their project management solution. This required working with a solution provider that could assist with this undertaking, and a software package that was designed for easy integration.

Why Project Insight

Agencies of Change team needed to find a solution that would give them:

  • Customizable team member home page
  • MS Project import and export
  • Cross project resource allocation and utilization
  • Document repository
  • Collaboration zone with discussion threads
  • Easy to use time entry
  • MS Outlook synchronization
  • Executive dashboards
  • Project summary
  • Revenue forecast with proposed and billable charges
  • Integration with MS Dynamics and home grown expense system
  • Branding

The majority of Agencies of Change's revenue is based on billable client projects and professional services. They rely on managing projects so they can deliver projects on time and on budget. They have to manage their resources effectively and efficiently to obtain this goal. Their team members must track their time down to the minute so the company does not lose revenue. For example, if each employee does not account for only fifteen minutes a day, the company could lose over $2 million in revenue per year. This meant Agencies of Change needed a system that was powerful enough to give the project managers the tools they needed to do their job, but simple enough so that everyone involved with a project would adopt it. The time entry had to be easy enough for team members to be able to enter time in just a few minutes. The system also needed to be accessible to team members from client sites and from remote to show real-time data updates. In addition, the finance team needed an extensible, flexible system that could work with the accounting system so customers could be given prompt and accurate invoices without any need of manual intervention. In January of 2007, Agencies of Change went live with Project Insight for select team members and by the end of February 2007 they had rolled out Project Insight across the entire company to all 400 plus employees.

The Results

What they liked about Project Insight:

  • Easy to use, intuitive
  • Robust resource allocation and utilization reports
  • Visibility of all projects in one place
  • Ability to report and forecast with ease
  • Straight forward time entry for team members
  • Integration with MS Dynamics and home grown expense system
  • Responsive customer support

Today Agencies of Change uses Project Insight to manage all of its projects, tasks, and resources. They use the software to manage all projects and tasks, and to schedule resources. They use Project Insight to determine if their client projects are on time and on budget. Metafuse, working with Agencies of Change's Great Plains (MS Dynamics) partner, integrated Project Insight's project budgeting and costing data with this popular accounting software system. Because expenses were tracked in the home grown expense tracker, Metafuse integrated Project Insight with this solution as well.

Using Project Insight's Web Services APIs, the integration went smoothly. In fact, the Director of Information Technology (IT) remarked, "This was the easiest integration I've ever experienced." These integrations ensure that Agencies of Change's customers are invoiced accurately. Using Project Insight revolutionized how Agencies of Change handles resource staffing as well. This interactive agency is an extremely fast paced environment with resource changes on a daily, even hourly basis. A huge change took place in their business as they can now staff in real time. The can look at Project Insight's resource allocation report at any moment in time to see what resources are available and by which skill set. Then resource managers schedule team members accordingly. Now Agencies of Change's employees are getting their assignments real time and being more productive. "Initially we thought it would just be billable people like project managers, designers, writers, and engineers using Project Insight. Now everyone from the CEO down to the facilities people that keep our workspaces clean logs time in Project Insight. The whole company is using Project Insight," states the director.