The challenge

A global professional services firm needed to streamline critical marketing & sales processes while increasing visibility into capacity and demand forecasting across several groups of geographically diverse resource pools.

The goal of this effort was to bring three distinct shared services within the marketing & sales organization under one technological umbrella allowing them to streamline processes, improve hand-offs and efficiencies, and effectively balance workload across teams. To do this, the client required an advisor that could evaluate their end-to-end processes, understand the various business drivers and requirements, and support the identification and implementation of a tool that could bring to bare the necessary resource planning and workflow capabilities needed by the organization.

 

Each of the three groups also came with their own legacy systems that their processes and workflows had been adapted to, rather than the other way around. To make the vision a reality, they would need to identify what parts of their respective workflows were truly part of the value chain. All of this would be a precursor to determining what features and capabilities of legacy systems needed to be migrated; what would need to be adapted to reflect the ideal state; and what could be deprecated as the teams moved forward with new, enabling technology.

I live and die by this system now.

The approach

LeapPoint modernized and standardized business processes across multiple departments and teams by: analyzing their respective workflows to identify key processes; transitioning existing processes from Excel and Google to Workfront; and providing real-time management reports and dashboards to support decision making.

To make the initiative more manageable, LeapPoint conducted a collaborative discovery session for all three groups within the organization, but staggered the design and implementation period. This approach was built around the premise of a phased roll-out, each with hard deadlines. While efficient, it required exceptional project management and risk mitigation to ensure everything stayed on track. To help ensure things stayed on schedule, LeapPoint built a comprehensive project plan for the entire initiative helping to create accountability across teams as the project progressed through the phased design and implementations.

 

The design and implementation relied heavily on the solid foundation built during discovery. Each group’s system implementation was intelligently designed to partition much of their respective workflows and core capabilities from one another. This allowed for greater flexibility in customizing features and function to stakeholder needs without adversely impacting one of the other two groups. For those system objects that impacted other groups—”global settings”—LeapPoint identified the variations in requirements and developed mitigating actions to satisfy any potential gaps in requirements.

Group 1
Group 1
The first group in the phased implementation was a global sales support function providing remote support to territories across the world and drawing on resource pools in six different time zones.
Group 2
Group 2
The second group provided strategic marketing & sales support to large accounts. Using teams in both the US and India they provided support for both business development and account management.
Group 3
Group 3
The third and final group in the implementation was responsible for customer relationship management and used offshore resources to support account maintenance, system administration, and reporting.
The importance of change control

 

One of the most critical components of any system implementation, post go-live, is a mechanism for ensuring global settings are agreed upon and maintained or updated in fair and equitable manner. One of LeapPoint’s final deliverables for this client was a change control assessment that outlined a recommendation change control process, control board, and pertinent Workfront objects that should fall under the purview of the change request process.

 

The recommendations were implemented as soon as the third group launched. Since that time, the change control board has helped ensure consistency and continuity of both the Workfront experience and all applicable data elements and reports for each of the three groups. The client has made the change control process a routine part of administering the application which has helped to ensure the success of the initiative for several years after roll out and will continue to do so for several years to come.

Establish a governing body

Deciding who needs to be involved and who doesn’t is critical. In most cases, the fewer the better—you want to avoid keeping too many cooks in the kitchen. In the case of this client, two administrators from each of the three groups were used to establish the change control board, ensuring both representation from all stakeholder groups and adequate coverage in case one participant isn’t in attendance.

Define a process

Oftentimes the attention paid to process is focused around what triggers and review. While integral, the overarching process should define the steps for submitting a change for approval, how changes get tested and vetted, and ultimately how they’re approved and implemented.

Set up a meeting routine

The whole thing only works if you come together and meet. You don’t necessarily have to meet on a set frequency—ad hoc works. So long as all board members are aware of what triggers a review meetings can be called on an as-needed basis. In the case of this client meetings were held monthly during the launch period and as the board members got their feet wet meetings were scaled back to as-needed.

The outcome

The organization has been operating with Workfront since 2015 and each function has fully migrated they’e end-to-end process management to the system, from project intake to management and execution.

Resource management

Since launch, the organization has moved to an environment where they manage resources based on capacity rather than how many “projects” a person has. It’s led to efficiency gains of nearly 30% in some departments. Additionally, each of the teams were able to greatly streamline their processes, eliminating or automating handoffs that would otherwise create unnecessary work. The improved insight into capacity and demand forecasting has also allowed teams to balance workload across like resources and improve utilization by an average of nearly 20%.

 

Project performance

Capturing more detailed data about project performance has enabled the teams to appropriately benchmark their work, develop targets, and drive staff toward applicable performance goals. Within the first six months of launching Workfront, average project time fell by nearly 45% as workers could more easily see where they were spending time and manage to leadership expectations.

 

Financial

Workfront also provided leadership the ability assess project cost at a more granular level, creating the opportunity to shift work from high cost resources to lower cost ones. Over time, as responsibilities and functions were reallocated, the client saw a 15% decrease in average project cost due purely from labor arbitrage opportunities.

Improved utilization0%
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  • People
    • Improved utilization
    • Balanced workload
    • Demand and capacity forecasting

  • Process
    • Streamlined processes across the organization
    • Enabled digital collaboration
    • Provided work transparency

  • Technology
    • Configured Workfront for three separate teams
    • Eliminated five separate legacy systems
    • Deployed a centralized system to intake projects