Helping an Australian IT company save 200k per year thanks to improved resource planning

HSD is an Australian software development company with branches across five locations and over 20 years of history. HSD is a certified Microsoft partner, running long-term projects with multi-million budgets. Specializing in the Microsoft Dynamics and .NET ecosystem, HSD has an excellent track of cooperation with small, mid-sized, and large private and public organizations in sectors such as education, healthcare, and regulation (RegTech).

Resource Planning
industry
Software Development Agency
Resource Planning
Location
Australia
Resource Planning
company size
51 - 200
Resource Planning
type of projects
20% Time & Material, 80% Fixed Price
Resource Planning
used software
Jira, Spreadsheets
Primetric is a game-changing solution for me and our company. It lets us reduce planning time from 15h per week to just few minutes. Now, everyone knows who, when, and for how long should work on a project. When people ask me for financial or work-related data, I tell them just to check out the Primetric report because it's all there. In addition, thanks to the quick comparison of implementation plans, I can easily control what is happening in the project portfolio and react before it’s too late. Primetric took a heavy burden off me.

Sarah Prouse

Service Delivery Director

Introduction

HSD is an Australian software development company with branches across five locations and over 20 years of history. HSD is a certified Microsoft partner, running long-term projects with multi-million budgets.

Specializing in the Microsoft Dynamics and .NET ecosystem, HSD has an excellent track of cooperation with small, mid-sized, and large private and public organizations in sectors such as education, healthcare, and regulation (RegTech).

HSD was using a set of mass Excel spreadsheets to track resource allocation and availability. However, this solution turned out to be time-consuming to use and maintain. Moreover, it prevented HSD from sharing data between different departments or forecasting project profitability.

This is why HSD turned to us. By implementing Primetric, HSD reduced the time spent working on Excel spreadsheets from 15 hours a week to 30 seconds, generating an increase in savings and earnings by over $200,000 per year.

HSD’s structure in a nutshell

At HSD, teams consist mainly of senior software developers and consultants dedicated to specific clients on a full-time basis. Thanks to this arrangement, the team can build tailormade solutions that match the client's needs perfectly.

Since many of HSD’s projects are long-term and multi-phase, they often transform from development (billed as Time & Material) to maintenance (billed as Support or Fixed Price). That’s why maintaining profitability throughout the entire project is so challenging. Also, consultants’ engagement is very expensive, so planning and proper allocation are essential to running a successful business.

The problem: Lack of visibility in resource availability and margin forecasting

At HSD, the Delivery Director was responsible for managing the project portfolio, allocating teams, and ensuring that projects are implemented on time and at the right margin. In addition to measuring billable projects, HSD also approaches the planning of real utilization meticulously by taking into account internal projects, such as Workshops, Meetings, Performance Review, or the development of its own solutions.

This allows gaining a better understanding of the actual availability of specialists and planning them in billable projects. However, this organization poses a severe challenge in the context of data control and its continuous supplementation.

Here’s what the processes looked like at HSD before implementing Primetric:

The company has been using mass Excel spreadsheets to allocate people, forecast its availability, and project margins.

Based on the spreadsheets, the Project Management Office and Support Management Office departments updated data related to individual projects’ cash flow and profitability during meetings. The files filled that way were then sent to Sarah, who prepared a report for the Director of Corporate Services, and sent it to the rest of the Executives.

Sarah created a mass of spreadsheets responsible for allocating people, testing their availability, and measuring project profitability. Although the solution worked well, it took Sarah between 10 and 15 hours a week to manage the data and retrieve the necessary information.

Moreover, the operation itself was difficult and didn’t allow a bird's eye view of what was happening between projects. There was no comprehensive source of knowledge where anyone could check the information they needed.

“No one had real information about the utilization level and project profitability. This resulted in many meetings between me, the Project Management Office, Support Management Office, and the Business & Consulting Office. I had to constantly juggle different spreadsheets to check the needed information, making double-checks, and in the end, I still wasn’t 100% sure that the data is correct. It caused chaos and confusion. "
Sarah Prouse, Service Delivery Director at HSD

What were the consequences of this process?

HSD’s process caused downtime, resulting in long meetings where different departments had to come together to exchange information and then try to reproduce it in spreadsheets. Decision paralysis was a common problem. Moreover, as projects were extended, the spreadsheets got bigger in terms of data volume and took a very long time to load, significantly reducing their usability.

Another problem experienced at HSD was that project managers and developers often asked Sarah what they would work on next and when because they didn’t have access to these spreadsheets. Since Sarah wasn’t always available, this caused a communication problem that frustrated everyone.

The process also created an additional risk: incorrect settlements with clients that could cause losses and weaken the client’s relationship with the company.

Main organizational problems:

  • Lack of visibility for accurate resource planning and allocation
  • Time-consuming meetings for exchanging information
  • Mass of spreadsheets requiring updates and maintenance
  • Inability to forecast availability
  • Incorrect settlements with clients
  • Decision paralysis resulting from a lack of data

Solution: Implementation of Primetric

During a reorganization of departments, the company decided to start looking for comprehensive software that would replace the Excel spreadsheets used so far. HSD considered the following key criteria:

  • possibility to map the existing company processes (adaptation to IT service businesses)
  • ability to plan and track people's working time
  • possibility to estimate uncertain projects
  • advanced utilization configuration (total,% capacity, a fixed number of hours per day)
  • custom public holidays (since employees are also from outside Australia)
  • possibility of running projects in different currencies
  • integration with Jira for borrowing work logs
  • excellent security
  • fast and efficient support
“I was looking for something that would allow me to have a bird's eye view of human availability, project implementation status, and forecasting uncertain projects. Due to the fact that we have employees from different parts of the world, the key for me was the ability to configure custom public holidays and time off. It turned out that Primetric has all the necessary functionalities."
Sarah Prouse, Service Delivery Director at HSD

When looking for solutions available on the market, Sarah came across Primetric in the Atlassian Marketplace. It quickly turned out that the system fully reflects her Excel data. After talking with our consultant, it turned out that the only functionality missing was AUD (Australian Dollars) support.

“The guys from Primetric are amazing! They added a missing feature in just 5 hours. Their responsiveness and ability to arrange a video meeting whenever needed is simply amazing."
Sarah Prouse, Service Delivery Director at HSD

Adding custom functionalities open the doors to our cooperation with HSD. We began with the implementation of Primetric. Since our solution is strictly adapted to the processes in software development and IT service companies, the full implementation took 4 weeks.

Thanks to this, Sarah replaced multiple mass spreadsheets with one system for managing the allocation, capacity, and availability of people. Moreover, she can now quickly forecast the future, budget projects, and generate reports. Primetric organized not only data but also processes in HSD, helping to deliver projects faster and easier.

How HSD is using Primetric

  • HSD now has a bird’s eye view of their resource allocation choices from the level of the calendar. A calendar with assignments allows them to quickly see who is working on what, for how long, and what their capacity is. People no longer ask Sarah for this information because they have full access to this data.
  • Primetric offers greater data transparency and a single source of truth for different departments and executives.
  • Since HSD has employees located in different parts of the world, the key feature of Primetric is the ability to configure custom public holidays and time off.
  • Advanced simulations and forecasts for tentative projects translate into improved people planning and, as a result, an increase in the company's profitability. Thanks to project progress reports, HSD can quickly forecast whether the margin on projects will fall below the expected level (20%) and react on an ongoing basis.
  • Financial reports on projects enable HSD to quickly see what the margin will look like, taking into account tentative and confirmed projects, as well as checking what runway they have.
  • Easy settlement of projects thanks to setting a rate per consultant and at the end of the month, approval or correction for checking plans vs. reality.
  • Ultra simple and at the same time functional feature for assigning people, where the company can declare how many hours or what % of capacity someone should work in the project.

Results

  • Savings and earnings increased by over $200,000 per year
  • Reduction of the time spent working on Excel spreadsheets and associated with the allocation and generation of data from 15 hours a week to 30 seconds
  • Greater data transparency and a single source of truth for different departments and executives
  • Advanced simulations and forecasts for uncertain projects, which translates into improved people planning and an increase in the company's profitability
  • Thanks to project progress reports, HSD can quickly forecast whether the margin on projects will fall below the expected level (20%) and react on an ongoing basis

Next steps

HSD is planning to implement a new Primetric module and expand its use of the tool, so expect another case study soon.

“Primetric is a game-changing solution for me and our company. It lets us reduce planning time from 15h per week to just few minutes. Now, everyone knows who, when, and for how long should work on a project. When people ask me for financial or work-related data, I tell them just to check out the Primetric report because it's all there. In addition, thanks to the quick comparison of implementation plans, I can easily control what is happening in the project portfolio and react before it’s too late. Primetric took a heavy burden off me."
Sarah Prouse, Service Delivery Director at HSD
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