Case Study

diCarta's professional services team streamlines operations using OpenAir

Situation

The professional services arm of diCarta®, the market leader in enterprise contract management solutions that automate and manage the entire contract lifecycle, was looking for a more efficient way to track and bill time, improve collaboration on projects, and analyze project costs. Prior to using OpenAir all of these functions were performed by a manual, paper-based system diCarta described as "slow and painful."

diCarta recognized that by automating and improving the management of these processes, significant improvements would occur in at least four areas:

  1. The capture of billable hours: Consultants were under-reporting billable hours, adversely affecting the department's profit goals.

  2. Project efficiency: Project teams were not collaborating and communicating as effectively as they could.

  3. Project profitability analysis: It was very laborious for management to determine how profitable a given project was.

  4. Revenue acceleration: Difficulty in capturing billable time and a complex process for creating invoices was delaying invoice delivery.

Enter OpenAir

Mike Cram, Director of Professional Services, was assigned the task of automating core processes. After researching several professional services automation solutions, he selected OpenAir based on "the richness of the functionality, the maturity of the product, and the overall value proposition relative to its cost."

Using the online database reference documentation provided with OpenAir and the data import tools, Mike was able to convert all existing project time and billing data into the OpenAir system in less than a day. diCarta then launched a pilot team with the intention of introducing it gradually throughout the group over several weeks. After just two days, the user feedback had been so overwhelmingly positive and the benefits so clear that diCarta cut the pilot short and rolled out the system immediately.

The implementation went very smoothly, and training was accomplished largely through OpenAirís extensive documentation. Cram described the experience of working with OpenAir as "phenomenal" and the support as "exceptional," adding that OpenAir was "the first company and software product I have ever used that inspired me to become an evangelist for it."

Results

diCarta has very quickly begun to reap considerable benefits. The gains from just time and expense tracking and billing are easily quantified by diCarta:

  • The billable time captured by diCarta has increased by a full 10%

  • Invoicing has accelerated by a week

On a more qualitative level, employee reaction to OpenAir has been "extremely positive" across multiple functional areas:

  • Professional service teams are working together more effectively and are better able to answer clients' questions by having instant access to a very flexible reporting system.

  • Financial managers have streamlined the process and dramatically reduced the time to close the books at the end of a month or quarter.

  • Senior executives have gained visibility into project status and have better tools for assessing project costs and analyzing how employees spend their time. Going forward, they see OpenAir as a key component of their overall effort to improve profitability of the professional services organization.

Cram concluded, "As a company whose own software value proposition is the efficiency gained by automating the contract life cycle process, we can easily see the bottom-line benefit OpenAir has provided by automating the key functions of our professional services team."