Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) is the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good. Serving the entire social good community—nonprofits, foundations, corporations, education institutions, and individual change agents—Blackbaud connects and empowers organizations to increase their impact through software, services, expertise, and data intelligence. The Blackbaud portfolio is tailored to the unique needs of vertical markets, with solutions for fundraising and relationship management, digital marketing, advocacy, accounting, payments, analytics, school management, grant management, corporate social responsibility, and volunteerism. Serving the industry for more than three decades, Blackbaud is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina and has operations in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit www.blackbaud.com.
- Inefficient legacy system used to track time against projects
- System isolated to RDO division
- Difficult for employees to categorize tasks against hours worked
- Limited insights to hone forecasts and future product investments
- Cloud-based solution that has scaled across multiple departments and offices globally
- Robust reports to view and improve resource utilization
- Clarity on hours worked to ensure accurate audits for RDO tax credits
- Ability to significantly and effectively reinvest in specific product developments
"We’ve started to look at our business differently across the board, and time is just one measure to help us better succeed. Whether it’s evaluating team efficiencies, resource utilization against projects, or product development and investment, Polaris has been the tool that we trust to help us improve effectiveness."
Chief of Staff (RDO Division)
Raising greater awareness of time tracking benefits
Blackbaud began using time tracking systems many years ago, beginning with an on-premises system for its Research, Delivery and Operations (RDO) division to track its hours against product developments. However, as Blackbaud acquired new businesses, expanded into new markets, and continued to scale its global workforce, the legacy system no longer met its needs. Today, the company employs full-time staff, hourly workers, outside contractors, and interns around the world who need to track how their time is spent, accurately and efficiently.
According to RDO division Chief of Staff John Young, the company had always recognized the importance of time tracking to measure and improve its team’s productivity levels, but there had been no impetus to overhaul its legacy software. As the business expanded and hired more staff, Blackbaud knew they needed greater visibility in to what employees were working on to improve their operational effectiveness and redirect as necessary.
A major challenge with the prior system was that it was very cumbersome for employees to enter and categorize the tasks. This wasted time, decreased the accuracy of the data captured and limited its effectiveness in decision making processes.
“We knew that there was significant room for improving how we reported and tracked time. By empowering our employees with a more automated and less labor-intensive process, we save them time and improve the accuracy of our utilization data. We also have more confidence in our ability to make key business investment decisions as well as more informed decisions around time management. Simply put, our legacy system was no longer capable of managing the historical and current information we require” Young says.
“We knew that there was significant room for improving how we reported and tracked time. By empowering our employees with a more automated and less labor-intensive process, we save them time and improve the accuracy of our utilization data.”
Benefiting from deep insights into time and resources
In recent years the company has become more data-driven, and this focus has permeated every aspect of Blackbaud’s business – including time tracking. After evaluating its previous system, the company decided to migrate to a cloud solution to capture hours and attribute these to various R&D projects in the most accurate and effective manner.
“Our goal was to find a tool that helped us better analyze and act on internal time management. We wanted a more accurate way to assess where time was spent and assign internal priorities and job responsibilities,” says Young. “For example, we want to focus our effort more on new feature development and not maintenance. We wanted to put our manpower behind creating new growth and potential for the company and our customers. So that meant not wasting time tracking tasks, but using Polaris to help us make better decisions on capacity and budget. By understanding what people are working on, we can minimize the amount of administrative tasks on people’s plates, as well as improve how we plan and forecast resources for new projects. Because Polaris has a simpler and more sophisticated way in how it categorizes activities, we’ve been able to glean deeper insights on our workforce,” Young adds.
Investing in new products and departments
Using Polaris’ client billing and time and attendance systems, Blackbaud has benefited from a very simple and centralized solution, which provides meaningful data to support important financial decisions from the ground up. “Each year, we significantly invest in all of our product solutions. The biggest improvement that we’ve seen is how our finance team is affected by this data, and how it enables more accurate investment decisions. We’ve been able to significantly reinvest in critical areas of the business, and shift to new projects more effectively,” Young says.
As a company that prides itself on being data-driven and innovative, Blackbaud considers Polaris an important asset. Today, Polaris is no longer used exclusively by the RDO division, but across multiple departments and regions. Polaris has helped Blackbaud move to a more strategic approach in how it plans its time and resources.
“We’ve started to look at our business differently across the board, and time is just one measure to help us better succeed. Whether it’s evaluating team efficiencies, resource utilization against projects, or product development and investments, Polaris has become the tool that we trust to help us improve effectiveness,” Young concludes.
“The biggest improvement that we’ve seen is how our finance team is affected by this data, and how it enables more accurate investment decisions. We’ve been able to significantly reinvest in critical areas of the business, and shift to new projects more effectively.”