Aon PLC (NYSE:AON) is one of the world’s most recognized providers of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. The company has more than 66,000 employees worldwide, serving customers in over 120 countries.
Aon’s data and analytics advisory division, Aon Inpoint, is dedicated to delivering value through data, analytics, engagement and consultancy service to insurers and/or reinsurers, across the full spectrum of insurance, reinsurance and capital markets.
- Manual processes to capture time and project data
- Inability for Excel spreadsheets to scale across Aon’s divisions
- Projects could not be scoped accurately or matched against actual costs
- Slow turnaround times to submit and approve timesheets
- Higher chance of revenue leakage as previous system could not enter time after month had closed
- Inability to match projects to team skills and expertise across different divisions
- Forward planning against projects limited to no more than one to two months
- Modern and intuitive interface to easily capture, manage and optimize time
- Faster manager approvals of hour worked by consultants
- Ability to instantly create new projects and centrally manage in one system
- More proactive and immediate actions from reviewing project progress, costs and resources in real-time
- More accurate project estimates based on historical data
- Centralized solution to consolidate and scale project planning across different divisions
- Increased average consultant utilization rate by five to ten percentage points
- Ability for HR to drive greater learning and development for consultants
"Polaris stands out in its ability to provide the real-time information and insights that are the backbone of how we work."
Associate Operations Manager
Initially, Aon Inpoint needed a system that could effectively understand how the hundreds of client projects it managed were matching up to budget and the scope of work provided. Aon Inpoint’s team was rapidly expanding, with hundreds of employees working around the globe. Better insight into the exact number of hours worked was critical to scope projects precisely, propose accurate fee estimates, bill correctly, stem project scope creep, and properly manage costs for all internal and client projects.
According to Julien Bosc, Principal for Aon Inpoint, the firm had researched and tested various time-tracking systems, including Excel spreadsheets. The company decided Polaris would be the best fit.
“We liked the modern look and feel of the latest version, and the web-based user interface makes for a better user experience. Polaris’ Professional Services team helped us to get everyone on board and up to speed,” said Bosc.
Polaris client billing, resource management and time and attendance solutions were chosen by Aon Inpoint to deliver a central system to capture and manage hours worked, provide a holistic view of resources for smoother operations, and enable client teams to immediately create a new project and centrally match timesheets against projects by the end of the week. Previously, timesheets were completed at the end of the month, but if someone missed the deadline they would not be able to fill in the timesheet. The workaround was to enter the missing time the following month, which led to high inaccuracies in data.
Now, time is captured on a weekly basis. The following Monday, automated reminders are used to chase those who have not submitted a timesheet. On Tuesdays, it takes just five to ten minutes to export the data and create metrics. Dashboards are then printed for review during the weekly management meetings.
“We liked the modern look and feel of the latest version, and the web-based user interface makes for a better user experience. Polaris’ Professional Services team helped us to get everyone on board and up to speed.”
Besides its consulting arm, Aon Inpoint has two other pillars focusing on engagement and analytics. Following Polaris’ successful initial implementation with consulting, the solutions were rolled out into all of Aon Inpoint. According to Neerav Patel, associate operations manager at Aon Inpoint, this was the first part of the journey to adopting a more comprehensive time and project management solution.
“Our other teams used PeopleSoft as a time tracking tool, however we soon switched to Polaris as feedback from our consulting team was very positive. We conducted a wide assessment of tools, and Polaris was the clear forerunner in driving better resource efficiencies across the organization,” Patel said.
Previously, Aon Inpoint project managers entered projects, estimated hours and staff time into a spreadsheet, which would then be replicated and reconciled into Aon Inpoint’s separate resource system and time tracking system. Polaris’ solutions eliminate these redundancies, with the person in charge of this task now able to move to other business priorities. Polaris’ time and attendance solution was added to help the company better capture employee time and absences accurately, anytime and on any device.
“Our business is growing at breakneck speed, and consequently we’ve evolved how we service our clients to be more structured around projects and initiatives within our three teams. Polaris allows us to focus on our talent base and forward plan better based on projects, and match projects to specific employee skills and expertise in an instant. Rather than planning ahead one or two months, now we can forecast up to a year ahead, as we have a more extensible solution to capture this data,” said Patel.
By providing real-time visibility into client projects, including budgets and billing, Polaris has changed how Aon manages and delivers projects, resulting in new and more streamlined ways of working, and more realistic resourcing estimates.
“Using Polaris has transformed the way we interact and engage with clients. We can send alerts to our project managers to let them know when they’re hitting project milestones or ask them to review project scope – and we can monitor our utilization rate and aim to improve it.
“Another advantage is that we can drive higher adoption rates of learning and development than ever before. Previously, because we lacked deep insights into hours worked and utilization rates, it was difficult for human resources to encourage this program for our employees. Now, our HR director can more effectively track hours spent on learning and development, and ensure that we continuously invest in our people,” Patel said.
For Aon Inpoint’s employees, managers and C-level executives, what was originally a requirement to wean off manual time tracking for one team has become a more comprehensive solution providing holistic insights aligned to Aon Inpoint’s goals and vision.
“What started as a push by our global chief operating officer to analyze time and project data is now an intrinsic part of our business operations. Polaris stands out in its ability to provide the real-time information and insights that are the backbone of how we work,” Patel said.
“Using Polaris has transformed the way we interact and engage with clients. We can send alerts to our project managers to let them know when they’re hitting project milestones or ask them to review project scope – and we can monitor our utilization rate and aim to improve it.”