BurnsGroup burst onto the New York advertising agency scene in 2006 with a mission to “transform brands into a category of one.” The company has seen a surge in demand for its marketing services since then, building new brands from scratch and pointing established ones such as YellowTail Wines, Columbia Business School, and Pfizer in a new direction. Like any marketing services agency, BurnsGroup is crammed with experienced, highly strategic, creative thinkers. These are the kind of people who have relentless pride in their craft and want to deliver the best possible creative output — even if it means working longer than anticipated to complete it. But in the midst of this craziness, they enjoy filling in their timesheets about as much as riding the New York subway at rush hour
- Manual time tracking processes that were not scalable or transparent
- Complex, time-consuming process for staff to record their project time per task, as well as track attendance information such as time off
- No unified means of analyzing the number of hours staff worked on projects, the work they did, or the clients they served
- Difficult to manage different rates staff were charged out at, depending on role and task type
- Real-time project/client profitability analysis
- Improved time management
- Reduced revenue leakage
- Look, no IT
- Increased staff productivity and satisfaction
"Polaris redefines and revolutionizes the way BurnsGroup tracks project time, which is increasing our profitability. Managing resources so we can scale profitability is paramount and Polaris helps us closely manage project time, account servicing, and agency profitability. We couldn't be happier with the product. It has changed everything for us."
Monitoring time and resources became a growing challenge for the company’s HR managers, executive team, and project managers, who needed their on-the-go employees to maintain a complete, accurate, and timely record of how many hours they work, plus the increased number of projects and clients they work on.
“We can’t waste valuable hours or overcharge our clients relative to the project,” explains Ann Morton, Executive Account Director, BurnsGroup. “Prior to introducing Polaris, time tracking used to be a shot in the dark. Our CFO had to chase people down and make a leap of faith that what she was getting was accurate. The agency’s reliance on manual time tracking processes made it very difficult for management to keep a pulse on the run rate of a given project at all times.”
Another time tracking challenge is that each member of the team records their project time differently, depending on their role or the task at hand. An art director, for example, has one charge-out rate for conceptualizing a new campaign, while a freelance resource — often brought in to supplement BurnsGroup’s own staff — is carried at a different net rate. To help cope with their exponential growth, the agency needed a simple and straightforward mechanism to record, allocate, and bill their time.
“Prior to introducing Polaris, time tracking used to be a shot in the dark. The agency’s reliance on manual time tracking processes made it very difficult for management to keep a pulse on the run rate of a given project at all times.”
BurnsGroup needed a scalable solution to efficiently track project time anytime, anywhere: one that was as easy-to-use as it was to deploy. The solution also had to manage the different billable staff rates, depending on the role and the type of work. Morton implemented a Polaris solution at her past two employers with great success, which made her a staunch advocate of the technology. “I ran a consultancy that helped smaller shops implement operational best practices, with resource optimization front and center of my offering,” she says. “Polaris was part of my recommended ‘tool kit,’ and every client I introduced to the platform was amazed at the value for money and ease of use.”
BurnsGroup now uses Polaris to gain rich, real-time insight into the time staff spends on projects and other tasks, and to automate time off tracking and enforcement so that it’s simple for staff to appropriately comply with internal policies. The best-in-class solution for project time capture provides employees with easy-to-use timesheets so they can detail how many hours they work, which clients they serve, and the type of work they are doing based on pre-configured increments of time. That busy art director, for example, now simply logs onto Polaris — through a browser or on his or her mobile device — and records the number of hours devoted to approving client artwork or briefing a studio photographer, while Polaris does the rest.
“I ran a consultancy that helped smaller shops implement operational best practices, with resource optimization front and center of my offering. Polaris was part of my recommended ‘tool kit,’ and every client I introduced to the platform was amazed at the value for money and ease of use.”