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Improvements in cost recovery give swift return on Sage Coretime investment.

The Client

InterComm are a medical communications company who work with large pharmaceutical companies. They put together literature around corporate communications and manage training, congresses and conferences on behalf of their blue chip clients, many of whom are well known giants in the pharmaceutical world.
Having carved out an enviable niche in the medical communications world, they pride themselves in being able to offer the personal touch and a service free from some of the usual problems when dealing with larger communications companies and their extended client servicing teams. With efficient delivery on projects and quality customer relationships at the top of their agenda, internally they felt the need for a more process driven approach to their projects. They wanted to ensure that both their valuable existing client base, as well as their newer clients, were effectively managed.

The Problem

Having joined InterComm as General Manager relatively recently, Ben Greeves explains, “We wanted to cut out various duplications in internal processes and make sure we had systems in place to record what was going on at any point in time. We had an Excel-based time-sheet system which was not popular with our employees and was only filled in on an ad hoc basis. As a result, the incomplete, inaccurate data was of little value and was therefore not used as it should have been.”  
“When I joined, I suspected there were a lot of projects which were overrunning, but because of the ad hoc way in which we were recording time, it was impossible to get an overview of the scale of the problem. We needed much greater control and visibility across our projects, and we needed to be able to understand project costs and profitability.”

The Solution

“Having used Sage Coretime at a previous company I was already impressed with the online timesheets and project management capabilities. Nevertheless, on joining InterComm, I profiled a number of competitors as a point of comparison and Coretime was still the clear choice for me. One of the most important aspects for me was the reporting capabilities and the ability to use the underlying data to customise internal reports.”

The Outcome

Since implementing Coretime, InterComm readily agree they have certainly made gains in terms of business efficiency and overall visibility of projects. But Ben is quick to point out that the major gain has come from improvements in cost recovery, which have helped the company improve profitability. He explains, “In fact, the system paid for itself very quickly. As an example - one of many -  we had a client who had requested additional work on their project which had not been agreed in the initial costings. Using Coretime, I was able to place a project report in front of the client detailing work that had already been completed, work in progress and additional work. We were then able to agree additional funds with them, which they readily accepted, as they could clearly see the agreed schedule of work, the additional work requested and the associated costs in black and white.” In effect InterComm were able to secure additional funds which ensured a profitable outcome  but also ensured they were able to retain and build a mutually beneficial customer relationship with this client.
On the subject of profitability, Ben continues, “While all our projects are different, we can categorise most projects, and by using Coretime, we can identify aspects which make the different types of projects more or less profitable. The way that pricing has worked in the past has been much less precise and as a result, we weren’t in a position to recover costs as well as we should have been. We can now identify costs much more accurately and pinpoint which projects are profitable for us and whether it’s worth continuing with those projects where we are under pricing. The key thing at the moment is to use the system to improve profitability and ensure we fully understand all the costs on our projects.”
In terms of usage, Ben explains, “We now have 18 timesheet users with myself as a ‘power user’, although the plan is to involve the admin team increasingly in setting up projects and using the system more intensively. We’ve had no problem bringing new people up to speed with the system as it’s so easy to use and when we’ve needed to answer any additional questions, we’ve had a pretty immediate response from Onesys, so we’re really happy with our support.”
There have also been benefits in terms of increased efficiency. “For me it’s a core part of the change in the business I was seeking to make when I joined. We are now using a more process-driven model rather than relying on the skills of individuals. This is gradually improving communication and will continue to do so as we maximise usage of the system. The project management team will be increasingly monitoring projects and analysing progress against budgets.”
When asked about how the system was initially viewed internally, the response is equally positive: “The system was received very positively from all our users. And, from a management perspective any doubts about what benefits it would bring were immediately laid to rest as soon as we were able to show the hugely valuable reporting on our projects.”
To sum up Ben says, “We are very satisfied with Sage Coretime, it was a sizeable investment, but I was able to put together an ROI analysis to show that it would pay for itself very quickly and indeed it has done within the first 5 - 6 months. I would say in terms of getting a quick return on our investment, the improvement in cost recovery has been the major factor. However if we were to factor in improvements in business efficiency and productivities as a result of increased project visibility, I would have to say it’s been even quicker.”

Onesys are the number one supplier of Sage Coretime in the UK with over 400 client installations. Contact Onesys for more information on how Sage Coretime can help your business. We offer a full consultation and free trial of the software so that you understand exactly how Sage Coretime will help your business.