Fujitsu gets real-time views of project time, for accurate estimates
Fujitsu is a leading provider of IT-based business solutions for the global marketplace. With approximately 186,000 employees supporting customers in more than 70 countries, Fujitsu combines a worldwide corps of systems and services experts with highly reliable computing and communications products and advanced microelectronics to deliver added value to customers.
Fujitsu had effort estimates that needed to be accurate when preparing estimates on a project for their client. They also needed a time tracking system that was easy to use by tech savvy and novice users alike.
Several years ago, in order to keep track of billable hours, expenses, and project timelines, Fujitsu developed an internal time and expense tracking system using a small application that took data from a database at the end of the month and generated an Excel file that was e-mailed to the users individually. The Excel file was the official form that needed to be completed by each employee and archived by the personnel department for the Italian national security. The form contained information such as the working days, holidays taken, sick time, and overtime for each day of the month and, in addition to completing this form, each user had to log the project activities during the month on a separate form.
As a result, users that weren’t familiar with Excel or administrators that didn’t have checks and balances in place for the form made errors or did not complete the form, which created inaccuracy when preparing effort estimates and comparing actual costs.
In addition, this internally created time tracking solution could not fulfill the company’s growing needs. The need to ensure estimates were filled in with accurate data caused backlog in client service tracking, as someone in the personnel department had to manually check the forms that were e-mailed back to them. This process was painful, time-consuming, and costly. When Fujitsu saw the enormous backlog of forms that came from each of their offices, the company realized it was time for a better solution.
As a leader in hardware and system services, Fujitsu could not afford inaccurate effort estimates. To deliver accurate effort estimates, Fujitsu needed a time and expense tracking solution that would provide complete visibility into projects. At any time during a project’s lifecycle, Fujitsu needed to provide clients with reports on estimated completion times, total project hours, and project costs. Fujitsu also needed a system that was easy to use for all their users, regardless of their skill level.
“Immediately after we rolled out Replicon our users verified the ease-of-use of the system, and it is easy for the management team to ask for accuracy in the data entered” said Zarrilli. “With this system you can really measure the efficiency of our people and we can also measure the accuracy we achieve in our effort estimates. By finely measuring the various activities for each project we can adjust our estimates model, finally making estimates that make sense.”
Fujitsu first decided what data they wanted to get and how they wanted to organize their projects. They tried a free trial of TimeBill and TimeAttend to see how they compared to their current system, and then selected them since they were easy-to-use, easy to administer, and fully supported. The fact that they were flexible was a bonus.
“The system is so flexible. Depending on how you set it up, you can achieve different levels of functionality and usability. For instance, if you realize at a later stage that you made mistakes, it is very easy to correct them without affecting too much (if not at all) the system and the history of data” said Zarrilli. “I think this is fundamental when deciding on a standard system (projects, tasks, users, etc.) if you want to get back a consistent set of information.”
"Since Replicon is very user-friendly and consolidates time entry towards projects as well as holidays, sick time, etc., our people are happier to enter time. We are now able to measure efficiency of our people and finally have accurate effort estimates that make sense."
"The data for effort estimates has not only been easier to collect, but accurate as well" said Zarrilli. "Many of our users have adopted the system with ease, and with e-mail notifications and approvals, time tracking has been accounted for."
Replicon's robust reporting means increased accountability and client satisfaction. With just a few mouse clicks, Fujitsu now provides clients with immediate, real-time updates on project timelines and project costs.
"With this system we have simplified our internal procedures and made our users happy as they have one less form to fill in" said Zarrilli. "At a glance managers can compare effort estimates to actual costs."
Over 90% decrease in client billing times
TimeBill's simple reporting tools have significantly reduced the time it takes for Fujitsu to prepare their monthly time billing.
"Our billing is now prepared in a matter minutes, while it used to take days with the previous system," said Zarrilli. "With TimeBill, billing is now completely automated, whereas in the past, we relied on spreadsheets and hard copies, which was a time consuming process, and not always accurate."