Like any professional services firm, Emission Monitoring Service Inc. (EMSI) has to manage a pipeline of work and allocate hours and resources appropriately. Trouble starts when clients demand more than budgets will allow. One project in 2015 had run so far past projections that EMSI was facing a material write-off of hours billed, and a potential cash crunch.

Excel was all Chief Financial Officer Israel Askew had at the time for analysis, which made it tough to get the right data from the right people at the right time. “We didn’t have the ability to look at project performance relative to the plan because there wasn’t really a plan. We didn’t have the ability to catch problems with an agreement between us and a customer,” said Askew.

Limited visibility leads to lost revenue

Because EMSI was a relatively small firm, project managers did their own estimates and dealt with customers directly. Intuition and experience were the key drivers of planning at that stage. Eventually, though, the limitations of Excel and guesswork decisions meant that EMSI needed to make a change.

“We would eventually see the shortfalls, but it was often too late… we would be left begging maybe for more money after the fact,” said Askew. “We had quite a bit of problems with losses on projects.” And not just in terms of lost time. The sensitive nature of EMSI’s work — hunting power plants and other facilities for fugitive emissions to be addressed — involved both time and specialized equipment. The bigger the project, the bigger the potential losses.

In 2015, the deficits got big enough that management authorized Askew to make a change. “It was a turning point moment,” he says. “We knew we had to do something, because the way we’d been managing projects wasn’t working anymore.”

Cloud EPM improves budgeting and workflow

Askew didn’t need long to decide Host Analytics’ cloud budgeting  was the ideal solution, providing EMSI with a cloud-based EPM environment  that would track workflow and preserve cloud budgeting integrity. “Host Analytics was a partner in our process,” he says.

Now, every new project gets a record in Host Analytics for consulting teams to put in estimated hours and equipment. The template then creates the estimated cloud budgeting plan, which is reconciled with the final purchase order. If everything lines up as expected, tasks are created in EMSI’s enterprise resource planning system and consultants can begin billing time.

“The tasks are all created in alignment with what was budgeted,” said Askew. That way, if a client’s needs do change, it’ll be fully accounted for before new work begins. As a result, “scope creep” and lost revenue are largely a thing of the past.

“What’s so exciting about it is that we have really created driver-based budgets using Host Analytics,” Askew says. “When project managers look at them, they look at it from the standpoint of time and resources, but it spits out dollars — it’s both our workflow and our forecast, in one place.”

To learn more about how cloud-based EPM from Host Analytics can help your organization succeed, check out the customer video from EMSI.

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Andrew Sevillia is a seasoned high-tech customer marketing veteran with more than 10 years of experience. As the director of customer advocacy at Host Analytics, he is responsible for leading the customer reference and advocacy program to generate awareness by creating customer success evidence, building the sales pipeline, and growing revenue for the company.

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