Case Study

Martin Progressive nets a 2000% first year ROI with OpenAir


Martin Progressive, the international IT consulting firm headquartered in New York City, needed a better way to manage its consulting staff across seven offices. The group was using a manual, paper-based system to staff project teams, and track and bill time. Martin Progressive recognized that by improving the management of these processes significant improvements would occur in at least five areas:

  1. Resource Utilization — Key personnel often experienced costly periods of downtime between projects

  2. Project Staffing — The firm was having difficulty efficiently matching the most appropriate resources with upcoming projects

  3. The Capture of Billable Hours — Consultants were under-reporting billable hours, adversely affecting the firm’s revenues

  4. Efficiency of Billing Time and Expenses — Billable consultants were wasting too much time on administration, and they were not giving Finance the information required to invoice clients quickly

  5. Project Profitability Analysis — Financial analysis to assess the profitability of projects was cumbersome

In addition, Martin Progressive wanted to achieve these benefits without adding IT overhead and while increasing the safety of its business information by storing it in a professionally managed data center.

Enter OpenAir

Martin Progressive discovered OpenAir through the reseller of its accounting package, Platinum for Windows. Martin’s CFO, Paul Udowychenko quickly became convinced that the OpenAir system could both improve Martin Progressive’s internal operations and provide the financial insights he needed for tighter management. Based on the expected benefits, Martin Progressive laid out an “extremely aggressive timeline” for an implementation that required integration with the Windows NT operating system the Pervasive SQL database, and the Platinum for Windows financial package.

The one catch was that OpenAir lacked a few of the specific features Martin Progressive needed. OpenAir itself has an extremely aggressive schedule of product updates, however, so OpenAir was able to incorporate Martin’s requests into its solution very quickly. Martin Progressive began working closely with the OpenAir team to create a development plan to add the features Martin Progressive required.

The Result

OpenAir delivered. Within four weeks the OpenAir professional services team had completed the required integration and configured the OpenAir application to meet Martin Progressive’s specific needs. Martin Progressive was able to deploy the OpenAir system fully, and over time all of the promised functionality was added to OpenAir, giving Martin the exact solution it required. Udowychenko noted that the “the implementation was extraordinarily fast, and the company has proven to be very service minded.” He added, “Because we outsourced the entire solution to them, instead of creating IT issues, has alleviated them.”

As of February 2002, Martin Progressive had been using OpenAir for ten months and realized improvements in several key business metrics, leading to a rapid return on investment. After the first ten months Udowychenko estimated that:

  1. Employee utilization increased by 6.5 percentage points.

  2. Invoicing cycle times dropped by a week.

  3. ROI for the first 12 months would be over 2000%.

Gains have come from reducing employee “bench” time, cutting the time employees spend logging hours, reducing the time management spends creating reports, and capturing billable time more completely. Over time the firm expects to further boost profits by identifying and focusing on the most profitable projects, and staffing them with more efficient teams. Ultimately, they expect this to lead to improved customer satisfaction and/or the ability to charge higher hourly fees.