Commonwealth Financial Network understands the promise of technology to enable its 1,500 financial advisors to deliver the best, most efficient service to its clients. The Business Systems division at Commonwealth is responsible for delivering a web-based software platform through which advisors can manage all aspects of their business from portfolio management to social media. The integrated platform is a key competitive advantage for Commonwealth helping its advisors scale their businesses while reducing costs.
Delivering this competitive edge isnt easy. The Business System team is constantly enhancing, improving, and building out the platform, often running hundreds of projects simultaneously. In 2011, Managing Partner Darren Tedesco saw the need to improve the way his team tracks and manages its project portfolio. After evaluating several options, Tedescos team selected Intuit QuickBase as a platform for developing a project portfolio management app. The result is greater efficiency, transparency, and insight than ever before.
"QuickBase allowed Commonwealth Financial Network to move our project process from spreadsheets and emails to a streamlined, integrated system that saves us time and money," says Tedesco.
Breaking free from spreadsheets
Like many organizations, Commonwealth had tracked its projects using a combination of spreadsheets and email. Before long, the volume of projects was too great to manage effectively in this way.
"As we were growing, I didnt have transparency into everything we were working on for our internal and external clients. We had to find things in multiple spreadsheets, folders, and emails. We just needed a better way to manage our projects," says Tedesco. "We looked a lot of traditional project management software applications, but invariably wed find a core requirement they couldnt do, or some usability issue with their software."
Eventually Tedesco discovered QuickBase, which offered the right flexibility and customizability at a reasonable price. After piloting the solution in a few areas of the project portfolio, QuickBase was rapidly adopted as the go-to solution for project management. There are now 170 project managers, business analysts, testers and other key stakeholders using QuickBase to track projects across the company.
Tedesco says QuickBase was the right choice for Commonwealth because it offers:
- Flexibility. Like most companies, Commonwealth has a vernacular and processes that are unique to its business. QuickBase gave Commonwealth the ability to customize records, fields, labels and workflows to fit its processes, rather than forcing it to conform to the software.
- Transparency. Now that all projects are managed from a central place, Tedesco and other team members can quickly view project status reports and other key data -- and know theyre looking at the most updated information. "Im one click away, in a browser, from having transparency into everything," says Tedesco.
- Insight. Because QuickBase allows unlimited reports and views, its easy to customize dashboards and reports for everyone in the organization, based on their role or need.
- Communication. Weekly status reports that were once manually drafted in emails can now be automated with notifications built into QuickBase.
- Access. Because QuickBase is web-based, Tedescos team doesnt need to worry about supporting multiple devices or platforms. "We have Mac users and PC users, on Chrome, Firefox, Safari having something that works with all of those makes our lives that much easier."
Building a PMO
Since adopting QuickBase to manage its project portfolio, Tedesco says the results are a more transparent, more efficient project management process. The QuickBase app is now the central management tool for Commonwealths project management office (PMO), which now oversees all the organizations projects.
In February 2014 the PMO at Commonwealth was tracking 661 total projects at various stages across all areas of the company.
"QuickBase helped us organize our projects and PMO in in a way that made logical sense, and that helped us move our project management process forward," says Tedesco. "Its been incredible for insight, transparency, and communication."