Case Study

Edelman Uses OpenAir to Streamline Operations Across Four Continents


Edelman Public Relations Worldwide is a top-five public relations firm with over 2000 employees in 42 offices around the world. Although Edelman was using Proamics system to track time, it was looking for a solution that could handle its advanced feature requirements and deploy to offices around the globe, including its headquarters in New York and offices in London, Sydney, and Singapore.

Edelman specifically required a single time-tracking and billing system that it could deploy across multiple offices, and which could accommodate multiple currencies. The system also needed to meet the specific demands of its monthly retainer clients. Many of these customers expected precise documentation about how Edelman spent its time servicing their accounts, right down to the activity level. Edelman further wanted to provide their clients with real-time views of and accurate reports detailing this vital information. Proamics was unable to provide this kind of activity detail or to supply Edleman's clients with the access they demanded.

Enter OpenAir

Edelman evaluated a number of options and then chose the OpenAir solution for five primary reasons:

  1. They specifically wanted the flexibility of a web-native solution. Edelman's professionals and clients are located in a variety of locations worldwide. Consequently, they wanted a solution that offered their clients and employees ubiquitous access, even when traveling. OpenAir can be used through any Web-enabled computer, a Palm® Pilot, or a WAP-enabled phone, so it offers the greatest flexibility for collaboration and data entry.

  2. They wanted a solution that could be adopted broadly and quickly throughout the entire organization without extensive training requirements. They found OpenAir to be intuitive and easy to use.

  3. They required a system that could also be implemented quickly. Because OpenAir is delivered through a pure ASP model, the implementation times are minimal, usually measured in days or weeks, not months or quarters.

  4. Cost was also an important factor. They did not want to pay more than was necessary and were very pleased with the value that OpenAir offered.

  5. They needed their clients to gain access to the appropriate information within the OpenAir system. OpenAir fulfilled this requirement by offering highly customizable access privileges for employees and clients.

Once they had decided on OpenAir, the implementation was extremely easy and rapid by industry standards. In fact, Edelman was able to open an account through the Web and provision the application throughout the company using only in-house resources. They were even able to handle training internally by assigning a few key employees to train their colleagues. Edelman was able to start using the system without any specific customization requirements: OpenAir supplied all of the critical core functionality. Edelman did, however, desire some features that OpenAir didn't offer. Rather than delay implementation, Edelman took advantage of OpenAir's ability to respond exceptionally fast to customer feature requests. For example, they wanted employees to be able to enter information into OpenAir through a PDA, and OpenAir quickly introduced the functionality in one of its 30-day system updates. At no additional cost, Edelman's employees can now enter data through any device that is compatible with the Palm® OS.

The Results

Edelman realized the following quantifiable benefits almost immediately:

  1. More accurate billing: Because it was easier to complete and submit timesheets, Edelman professionals entered billable hours more accurately, reducing by approximately 5% the amount of lost billable time.

  2. Reduced administrative time: The firm's professionals now save an average of ½ hour per week on such administrative tasks as logging time and expenses.

  3. Faster invoicing: Employees entered billable data into the system sooner, so Edelman could invoice clients earlier, accelerating receivables by an average of one week.

  4. Better project profitability analysis: Edelman implemented the OpenAir reporting tools to immediately analyze the resources devoted to different projects, providing a much clearer picture of project profitability. This further enabled them to bid more accurately on future business.

  5. Increased employee satisfaction: Employees were happy to expedite time-consuming administrative tasks.