Managing your most Important Assets
What is the most expensive group of assets in any typical organisation? It is not, as perhaps traditionally viewed, the plant and equipment. Nor is it the computing network. It is, of course, the people.
In service organisations in particular, people provide the impetus, the intellectual property and the offerings delivery to clients. And how well are these important and valuable assets managed from a financial point of view? The answer is: not well.
Tradition Inhibitors to successful White Collar Activity Management
With an obvious acknowledgement that time based activities are important to many businesses, there exists a strong desire to utilise systems that record and manage employees in the work place. While many of the systems currently available perform admirably at the “back end”, the majority fall down in the most fundamental area – interaction with the employee. Traditional inhibitors can be categorised as follows:
- Timesheet aversion
- The Diary Factor (accuracy being reliant on memory in one point in time)
- Administrative bottlenecks
- Lack of flexibility
For whom is Activity Management most important?
In general terms it is fair to say that it is those organisations that utilise people to deliver their fundamental business offerings (i.e service organisations) that most require activity management solutions. The IT industry has a particular knack of labelling emerging areas with TLA’s (Three Letter Acronyms). There are two of these in particular that have emerged to partially define the needs for these types of clients. The first is PSA (Professional Services Automation) and the other is CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Activity Management is a subset of these.
The required business outcomes vary depending on the type of organisation and core operations. In broad terms the outcomes can be segmented as follows:
- Fee for Service – Companies who rely on their staff services to clients for income. Included in this group are professionals such as lawyers, accountants and engineers. The key business requirement is timely and accurate billing.
- Project accounting/billing – Organisations specialising in the areas of project or facilities management. Work done under contract needs to be recorded and either billed or cross charged back to the client. The business driver in these situations is comprehensive project accounting and control.
- Staff accountability – Government or “Not for profit” entities fall into this category. The requirement here is a statutory one, with the major requirement being painless recording of time by staff.
What’s required of a good Activity Management Framework?
- That it interacts with the employee
- Works the way you do
- Business flexibility
- Project Management & Accounting integration
- Effective charging (billing, cross-charging)
- Smooth administration
- Effective management of personal, project and performance information
Olympic’s GO! Activity Management Framework
GO! is an Activity Management Framework designed to manage time related activities from an activity and billing point of view, but differentiates itself in the marketplace by empowering the end user to take almost total control of this process, rather than being reliant on an administrator.
Olympic Software NZ Ltd (Olympic Software) has identified “white collar productivity” as the business area that requires an effective solution and is appropriate to apply contemporary technology. While blue collar productivity has been monitored for over a century with time/motion studies and factory floor automation, office and field staff productivity has never effectively been addressed, which has meant that client billing and activity based costing has been a tedious task and error prone.
Traditional time and costing systems suffer because they are rarely interfaced with the employee’s activity, relying on reactive administration, data capture and entry. Olympic Software has studied the problem and present systems available carefully, and taken a completely different approach with the development of a new concept, which the company has named “GO!”
GO! Activity Management Framework Overview
GO! is an intuitive activity management framework which utilises the power of the user’s desktop. It targets the needs of service providers managing employee time by providing the functions for recording, costing, billing, analysis and management.
GO! is a computer based Activity Manager designed to be part of the employees day-to-day administration environment, integrated with standard tools such as Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer. The application is based around the creation of timeslots (or “GO-Slots”) through the explorer-style GO interface, electronic calendar or web browser. A core strength of the product is its ease of use, almost appearing “invisible” to the user so it does not intrude on the employee’s workplace activities.
The product provides a complete suite of time management tools on the user’s desktop. The key feature is usability, overcoming the resistance and acceptance accorded to present products in the market, which have not effectively addressed the complex issue of user interface.
- Intuitive time recording using electronic calendars
- Drag and Drop time recording within electronic calendar
- Separation of time billed from time worked
- Support for multiple rates and units of time
- Customisable invoice generation
- Linkage to an underlying database of customers, employees, projects and schedules
- Two way integration to MS Project
- Integration with Microsoft BackOffice and MS SQL Server
- Scalable design based upon integration with MS Transaction Server
- Web front end integration
- Flexible multi-dimensional reporting