Digital Media Firm Designs a Simpler Approach to Project Management with QuickBase.

QuickBase has enhanced the way we manage projects. As a result, we're able to maintain profitability better than ever before.

Jason Horany, Chief Operating Officer
algo+rhythm

{algo+rhythm} is a brand experience agency for the digital world. The agency specializes in the creation of branded marketing experiences across digital and emerging platforms. Its dedication and approach to UX (user experience) distinguishes it from other such agencies in the marketplace. {algo+rhythm} has offices in both Dallas and Fort Worth, and more than 50 employees. Its client base includes middle market and Fortune 1000 clients such as Pier One Imports, American Airlines and Reliant Energy.

Challenge

Solution

Results

  • Project profitability was difficult to measure
  • Workflow needed to be streamlined
  • Microsoft Project was too time-consuming for {algo+rhythm}'s task management and resource allocation
  • Single view of projects and resources keeps {algo+rhythm} on track with client deliverables and billing
  • Online application library provides a framework for rapid application development
  • Automated e-mail alerts help prevent missed deadlines
  • Increased job profitability by 20 percent
  • Saved project managers four hours each month on reporting
  • Reduced new business acquisition costs by 20 percent

It may have started out as a small web design company seven years ago, but today {algo+rhythm} is a major player in the digital media world, delivering niche video production services and the ability to leverage open-source web content to its customers' advantage. The agency has completed more than 400 projects since its launch and now manages up to 30 jobs daily. Tasks are complex and deadline-driven, and involve multiple team members in the U.S. and offshore.

But rapid growth created project management challenges for the company. Keeping track of project deliverables and staff resources was getting increasingly complex, and management needed better insight into job profitability. They hoped Microsoft® Project - along with third-party time-tracking software - would be the solution, but it turned out to be too complex and time-consuming.

""Many features in Microsoft Project simply don't apply to projects like ours. Customizing the program to make it work for our specific needs was time-consuming and practically impossible, which is not good for a time-based business like ours,"" said Jason Horany, Chief Operating Officer at {algo+rhythm}.

Another problem: Getting useful data out of the previous tools was laborious and prone to errors - and Horany said he couldn't generate the reports that his management team needed.

Out Goes Complexity, in Comes Functionality.

Horany liked the IT simplicity and low up-front investment associated with web-based, software-as-a-service applications, but also knew he needed project management software that would be easy for some of his non-technical staff to customize. He looked at Salesforce, @task, eProject, ProWorkflow and QuickArrow before ultimately choosing QuickBase as his solution.

""I was looking for an application that was intuitive, yet flexible enough to allow me to create applications to support my workflow, and QuickBase seemed to do this better than any of the others,"" said Horany.

Horany was thrilled by the ease with which users were able to get QuickBase to work for their business. {algo+rhythm} built the project management application out of a template found in the online application library, and customized the application by removing fields that weren't needed. The process took just a few weeks. Over time, when a new metric or report was needed, Horany simply configured the application to capture the new data. The end result: Horany had a fully functioning project management system that gave his entire staff 24/7 access to project status, tasks and deliverables.

""The application library is tremendous. It provides so many examples of how other companies are using QuickBase to solve business problems - including some problems I didn't even know I had,"" remarked Horany.

After the project management application, Horany built other applications to track employee time off, manage new business opportunities and to-do lists, and even do online recruiting. Now all internal employees use QuickBase daily for tasks in sales, production, accounting, customer service and management.

""The e-mail notifications and the subscription functionality are outstanding. If there is a project that starts slipping, I've got triggers that deliver notifications before problems can escalate and impact deadlines or billings,"" said Horany.

The project management application makes it easy for managers to forecast revenue and compare profits with job costs. And the time-off system helps manage employee sick and vacation time, critical information needed to keep tabs on out-of-office time that could potentially impact job deadlines.

Horany also found QuickBase to be the most reasonably priced application when he compared the price per user, since the cost of using QuickBase went down as he added more users. He started out with a 10-user license and has since increased it to 20 users. ""The acquisition of new user accounts is available on demand. I like the fact that we can add users as we need them. We buy licenses in packs of five, so we always have some left over, which is convenient,"" said Horany.

""QuickBase was a perfect fit. The 'software-as-a-service' model meant we didnt have to incur a capital cost for software and hardware, but it's also so functional that I am able to solve many business problems I have.""

Greater Profitability is Now Within Sight.

Since implementing QuickBase, Horany has the technology advantage he was seeking for {algo+rhythm}. The project management application they created has improved job profitability by 20%, now that project tasks are streamlined and unproductive staff time has been reduced. The report generation that was cumbersome with Microsoft Project is now streamlined, saving {algo+rhythm} 40 employee-hours per month. The cost of pursuing new business is reduced by 20% now that {algo+rhythm} account service employees have at their fingertips the metrics needed to accurately estimate the cost of proposed work. New business has improved by 20%, now that account service staff can more accurately manage new opportunities and target resources appropriately.

""QuickBase has enhanced the way we manage projects. By comparing budgets to estimates over the lifecycle of the project, we're able to see how and where resources are being used. As a result, we're able to maintain profitability better than ever before.""

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