Mobile Payment Pioneers Take the Guesswork Out of Project Costs
Have a cell phone? These days, that’s all you need to send someone money, thanks to Obopay – the creator of the first comprehensive mobile payment service in the United States. Customizing its technology for mobile providers and financial institutions, Obopay enables people to send money to friends, pay businesses, and receive payments from others directly via mobile phone. The company is a pioneer in what is expected to become a $300 billion market by 2013, working with partners like MasterCard, Nokia and Societe Generale.
Typical of an industry trailblazer, Obopay quickly grew in size after the company’s founding in 2005. Today, the company staffs over 260 full-time employees with offices in the U.S. and India, plus more than 100 additional contractors around the globe, but with its teams quickly growing in size, Obopay found it needed a better way to track the time that its staff was spending on projects.
Early on, Obopay had no system in place for tracking project time. “We were using one project manager’s guesstimates of what she thought people were spending their time on.” said Brett Dyer, Controller for Obopay. “Clearly it was not a very accurate or efficient model.”
As the company grew, it faced tighter accounting and auditing regulations. Obopay needed better data to support the project costs it reported to auditors and since some of its customers were billed on an hourly rate, the company needed a highly accurate system for tracking time.
Finding the Perfect Fit (While Still Growing)
Lacking an accurate time-tracking system for its software development projects, Obopay needed a solution that would fit the needs of its growing international operations.
Since its staff were based in the United States and India, it became clear that a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model was the best option. SaaS would allow employees to enter their time into a single web-based system, from anywhere in the world. It would also eliminate the need for Obopay to install or manage any hardware in-house.
Obopay chose Web TimeSheet in August 2008 for its ease of use, straightforward interface and its ability to be integrated with Obopay’s accounting software. Since Obopay was still only a few years old at the time, the scalability of Web TimeSheet was also a key factor – it would have to expand as the company grew.
“The SaaS model was going to give us the information we needed on a project-by-project basis and the timesheet entry seemed fairly straightforward and easy to teach to staff.” said Dyer. “It was also easily expandable. We certainly had to add users over time. We started with 40 licenses and we now have over 310.”
Quick Training, Long-Term Benefits
Web TimeSheet allowed Obopay to track exactly how much time was being spent on projects in each department. Reporting tools also enabled the company to perform more accurate cost analysis and client billing.
Training was minimal, requiring only a one-hour session for all employees who would be using the system. Today, departments throughout the organization use Web Timesheet on a daily basis, including its engineering, quality assurance, project management, operations and customer support departments, among others.
The software has given Obopay clear visibility into how its resources are being used, how long projects are taking and how much they are costing. In addition to analyzing individual projects side-by-side, Obopay can perform comparative cost analysis between its two engineering teams in the U.S. and India. Plus, with the ability to separate billable and nonbillable time, the company can use the software to determine which departments are making the most productive use of their time.
Across the board, Web TimeSheet has brought a new level of accuracy to the time and cost-tracking practices at Obopay. Complying with accounting requirements, which was the most important issue at Obopay, is no longer a concern. With staff throughout the company entering their time into Web TimeSheet, Obopay has accurate data to support its accounting figures. The company can also comply with its own budgeting and reporting requirements, identifying exactly where costs are coming from and how much time is involved with each project.
On the billing side, Obopay can also accurately invoice its clients for development work based on the exact amount of time that has been tracked in the system. This not only provides more peace of mind to clients, but also enables Obopay to comply with its own billing requirements.
Using Web TimeSheet’s cost-estimating tools, Obopay is better able to forecast the costs of future projects based on previous data entered into the system. Though Obopay has primarily used cost analysis reports for accounting compliance purposes, the company has recently begun a pre-planning budgeting process, using Web TimeSheet to estimate how much new projects will cost and how long they’ll take to complete.
“Before, estimating how long projects were going to take was a little bit like throwing darts at a dart board.” said Dyer. “With Web TimeSheet we can see what we have spent on projects so that we can budget and forecast more accurately going forward.”
- Improved ability to forecast costs of future projects based on previous data
- Scaled with company from 40 to over 310 licenses
- Reporting tools enabled company to perform more accurate cost analysis and client billing
"Before using [Replicon], estimating how long projects were going to take was a little bit like throwing darts at a dart board. With [Replicon] we can see what we have spent on projects so that we can budget and forecast more accurately going forward."