Founded in 1979, CompuGroup Medical is headquartered in Koblenz, Germany and has more than 4,000 employees. The company provisions eHealth solutions worldwide and has as its goal to improve treatment for the good of the patient through intelligent IT in the healthcare sector. Tanja van Tuijn, Implementation and Professional Services Manager at CompuGroup Medical’s Netherlands division, aims to manage full delivery of Dutch CompuGroup services. Its 201 employees support both implementation and migration projects for internal and external clients.
- No real-time visibility into client projects and resource scheduling
- Administrative burden from manual timesheets was overtaxing staff
- Inability to account for project costs with accuracy or forecast needs for future projects
- No mobile access led to human error and inaccuracies in time tracking and reporting
- Replaced manual processes to enable greater efficiencies and cost savings
- Enabled uptake of 20 percent more projects
- Improved resource allocation thanks to accurate time tracking and project metrics
- Improved team productivity with better insight into where time is spent on various projects
- Enabled easy, remote time and attendance reporting for employees of all skill levels on mobile devices
"One of the key benefits of using Polaris is having increased visibility into client profitability. We can use this information to prioritize projects, and more effectively allocate consultants’ time. With this insight, we can have productive discussions with employees about how work is performed, which drives additional efficiencies."
Tanja van Tuijn
Implementation and Professional Services Manager, CompuGroup Medical Netherlands
Paper-based Time Tracking Made Efficient Project Management Impossible
To serve its many markets, the company was relying on numerous manual processes to track time and resources spent on various projects. Because of this, van Tuijn’s team had no real-time visibility into client projects and resource scheduling.
“We suffered from limited resource management capabilities and a lack of project insight,” she said. “The administrative burden of manual timesheets was putting a strain on our staff, as well, and impacting our ability to account for project costs with accuracy or to forecast needs for future projects.”
Another problem was a lack of mobile access to time tracking software. Employees had to enter time worked on projects in a spreadsheet, on a laptop or desktop, and this had to be done by close of business on Fridays. Then, the timesheets were processed manually by additional staff. “Because of the slow, manual process we had in place for time tracking, we couldn’t compare estimates to actual time worked, which made budgeting problematic,” said van Tuijn.
CompuGroup used several separate documents to manage the services department, including:
- A spreadsheet for tracking time spent on projects.
- A word document to track time off.
- A spreadsheet to track overtime.
- A spreadsheet with overview of current/closed projects.
- A spreadsheet with overview of resources/resource pool.
- Separate calendars for each resource.
As a result of trying to manage data in these various documents, problems arose. “New projects were not being communicated well to employees,” said van Tuijn. “The various spreadsheets were not interconnected, so information was scattered and it was extremely time-consuming to analyze the data or even get a high-level overview. We had no insight into the availability of resources, so project planning was challenging. And, since everyone was using different methods to track time and project data, there was no standard interface—sharing any data required manual re-keying.”
With close to 180 projects happening per year and a goal of increasing that number by 20 percent in 2015, van Tuijn’s team needed a tool that gave her more visibility into resource allocation and project spend. She had used Polaris at a prior organization and was already familiar with its powerful capabilities. She decided to implement Polaris Professional Services Management and Time Off.
“New projects were not being communicated well to employees. The various spreadsheets were not interconnected, so information was scattered and it was extremely time-consuming to analyze the data or even get a high-level overview. ”
Polaris Provides Insight into Where and How Time Is Spent on Projects
Van Tuijn rolled out Polaris within the Pharmacy and Integrated Care divisions. “The first step was to get all employees to start tracking their time using Polaris,” said van Tuijn. “Then we could start getting people used to the idea that they are working on a project and need to be aware of time spent on various project tasks.”
The type of project varies: the company manages a mix of fixed-price projects as well as projects billed for time and materials. Billing is role-based. They also have internal, non-billable projects. Polaris helps the team track time for employees against a broad set of activities, such as travel, support, meetings, training and new service development.
Department managers approve or reject time off requests, while project managers approve time written against customer projects. Employee availability is managed centrally, making it much easier to resource projects.
“We now have one calendar that allows us to see peoples’ availability, which is a huge improvement over the paper-based tracking we were doing before Polaris,” said van Tuijn.
Accurate Resource Tracking Enables Efficient Allocation for Productivity Gains
Since implementing Polaris, van Tuijn’s team has seen many benefits, including increased productivity, better visibility, increased efficiency and an improved understanding of project status. Standout features of the Polaris platform include enhanced resource planning, the ability to link time off to the resource calendar, and better visibility into where hours are spent.
“One of the key benefits of using Polaris is having increased visibility into client profitability,” said van Tuijn. “We can use this information to prioritize projects, and more effectively allocate consultants’ time. With this insight, we can have productive discussions with employees about how work is performed, which drives additional efficiencies.”
Van Tuijn also appreciates the user-friendly interface and convenient mobile access. The ability to track time with Polaris’ mobile app improves employee productivity as well as the accuracy of project data. Additionally, automating time and cost tracking tasks reduces errors and the high cost of paying employees to enter and re-enter timesheet data manually.
“Prior to Polaris, I was managing blind,” said van Tujin. “The only way to move forward is to understand how much time people are spending on projects, then we can figure out how many additional projects we can take on,” said van Tuijn. “Polaris is helping us get those metrics in place.”
“The only way to move forward is to understand how much time people are spending on projects, then we can figure out how many additional projects we can take on. Polaris is helping us get those metrics in place. ”