Real-time reporting and resource visibility enables this tech company to increase consultants’ billable hours, prioritize project profitability and win more deals.
The SMT story
SMT supplies software, operational intelligence services and consultation to organizations undergoing digital transformation. One of the largest Splunk partners in the Netherlands and Belgium, SMT turns data into usable insights in dashboards to help its customers make data-driven decisions.
Founded in 2001, the Netherlands-based tech company serves billion-dollar revenue corporations and government agencies. Among its customer base are ASML, NXP Semiconductors N.V., the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Defence.
The challenge: Making IT services profitable
Alongside their advisory services, SMT was increasingly relying on revenue from managed services, managing and upgrading software for clients. In order to effectively operate this blend of services models, the tech company made planning projects and resources efficiently and profitably a primary goal.
But SMT faced major hurdles.
Insufficient project monitoring
Larger and more complex projects demanded tighter financial monitoring to ward against overspending on hours and ensure sufficient profits. However, the planning tool SMT used to manage projects, did not provide adequate information.
Kees Luijkx, Financial Controller at SMT, explained: “We would have to hunt around in the software for what we needed. You couldn’t go back to a project and see—how many hours did we plan? How many did we already perform? How well are projects doing financially?”
Low billability rates
Moreover, monthly reports revealed underperformance of billable hours compared to the billability goals. But SMT’s past-facing reports were of little tangible use.
Troublingly, SMT had no way to monitor consultants’ billability in real time or looking forward, which barred improvement.
Difficult project planning and resourcing
Many of SMT’s client projects involve open-ended start dates, some with purchase orders for on-demand services. Having resources available immediately is crucial when these projects on SMT’s “waiting list” are ready to be pushed live.
But resource managers lacked insight into resource availability and struggled to keep projects and planning organized without a cohesive overview. This made it difficult to see the projects that needed attention and plan resources effectively.
Why VOGSY? Actionable data, actual results
At first, VOGSY’s Google Workspace integrated solution piqued Luijkx’s interest. SMT had long been building invoices with Google Docs and reports with Google Sheets, both of which VOGSY creates automatically as part of the quote-to-cash cycle.
A deeper dive into VOGSY revealed the solution SMT needed to fix its key billability, project tracking and resource visibility issues, and then some.
Increasing billable utilization
SMT can compare consultants’ planned and actual billability to targets in VOGSY’s real-time billability charts, making it possible to raise billable hours.
“Since we plan the billability of resources at the start of the month in VOGSY, we can see if we have availability that month. We can then start matching resources who need more billable hours to projects that are waiting to be resourced,” Luijkx said.
Making projects profitable
Projects in VOGSY are represented by visual project cards that show real-time budget burn and margin percentages, which can be drilled down for details.
In one click, Luijkx, project managers and key project team members can see calculated vs. actual hours, project costs and sales rates. This gives them a detailed understanding of how planning and execution affect profit margins and the control they need to prevent projects from going over budgeted hours.
Project planning and resource visibility
VOGSY provides three key features SMT needs to fit its unique project planning requirements:
- VOGSY’s resource heat map supplying continuous resource availability information, including all planned and non-billable time
- A project planning view showing SMT’s timeline of all projects, deliverables and resource allocations
- Softbookings of placeholder resources whose skills and availability SMT can define according to staffing needs
Seeing who is available, what they’re working on and which skills are missing, SMT can easily forecast resource needs and increase availability.
Ease of use
All data, from resource availability to project financials, are readily available in VOGSY with no digging.
“A big gain with VOGSY is the ease of use to create actions. We can see what needs to be done, for instance, by checking the project planning chart and seeing which projects are on the waiting list. Everything is linked so that we can jump between a project, contacts and resource planning. You have all information from all angles,” Luijkx said.
The results: Proactive sales and profit-minded project teams improve SMT’s bottom line
SMT teams took to VOGSY instantly.
According to Luijkx, “there was no fear of using the new software. Team members easily found the information they were looking for without needing additional help.”
Right away, consultants were adding their hours to VOGSY’s integrated timesheets pre-populated with project deliverable information. All documents, communications, tasks, emails and project progress information—schedule, budget, margin and completion—are neatly displayed on project cards, creating the intuitive work environment that had previously been missing.
Moving projects forward
Working with VOGSY’s project planning overview and resource heat maps, SMT is moving projects from the “waiting list” to live projects sooner. Understanding which consultants are available to allocate to unresourced projects, account managers can contact their clients and offer resources for immediate use.
“We can tell our customers that we can help them achieve their deadlines. It’s a win-win because they don’t need to find the resources internally, and we decrease bench time, increase billability and turn inactive projects into revenue,” Luijkx explained.
Proactively bringing in projects
VOGSY’s project planning chart provides ample insight into what’s coming for project work, and what isn’t. Seeing the planning gaps in the months ahead tells SMT when sales should be bringing in business.
This is helping the tech company become more proactive than reactive to the market and get more projects in the pipeline.
Closing opportunities earlier
Placeholder resources are giving SMT’s sales professionals leverage in discussions with prospects. Combining VOGSY’s placeholders with resource heat maps, SMT can offer attractive skills and availability and differentiate from the competition.
Salespeople use softbookings and pencil in placeholders to pinpoint skill gaps. Knowing how to fill these gaps in order to provide services prospects want is enabling salespeople to close deals faster.
Bringing project profitability into focus
VOGSY allows SMT to control the transparency of project financials, which SMT is using to supply internal consultants with real-time project budgets and margins. As a result, consultants are taking greater ownership of project success, and profitability is now a coordinated team effort.
“When people feel more involved, they act that way. If you give them more than just tasks to do and instead show them the whole project, what needs to be done and where it needs to be financially, they come up with suggestions and innovative ways to get there,” Luijkx said.
“My advice for anyone considering VOGSY is to try it out,” Luijkx added. “VOGSY is easy to get started with and delivers huge gains without hidden costs or stifling contracts. All you need is some time to start a project. That’s a very small investment for the value VOGSY provides to companies in increased billability and profitability.”