Quality assurance across the company
A bespoke system came under pressure from organisational growth and an ISO-certifi cation.
Netplan is an IT consultancy firm that specialises in telephony and communication. They make their living by giving advice to both public and private organisations on decision making in technology and knowledge intensive areas, e.g. when an organisation chooses to purchase or replace existing advanced IT and phone systems. Their customers are sure to receive insightful and objective advice as Netplan is an independent company, making their living solely based on their consultancy competencies.
The problem - Fast growth and an ISO-certification
By mid 2006 Netplan had been approved for the ISO9001 quality norm. This meant a standardisation of tracking and execution of all company processes, to facilitate the approval in annual auditing for the ISO-certifi cation. To achieve this, Netplan explored the available options in the market, and searched for a tool to secure that the company could continuously meet the requirements for the ISO-certification.
At the time Netplan was using their own system for time tracking and project management, but the strong growth that had resulted in a doubling of staff in just one year meant that the system was severely challenged. Maintenance became time consuming, and the system required esoteric insights creating problems for new employees. Other options were therefore evaluated.
“Our own system was suddenly too customised to our needs, and we needed a more standardised system”, says Torben Rune, CEO of Netplan. Moreover, “We looked at three to four systems. All had strengths and weaknesses but what made us choose TimeLog Project was the functionality of the system. It closely resembled a previous system and our way of doing business.”
ROI - a strengthened economy and natural customer relations
“The main attraction for us was TimeLog Project. It has all the features we need to track time and keep the quality assurance up to ISO standard. Besides project processes, TimeLog Project contains other standardised processes that ensure that our work and administration adhere to the templates required to maintain the ISO-certification.”
“The certifi cation means, that at any given time we can document everything, e.g. what we do, how we solve problems and our incurred expenses on projects in relation to our own ideals and the ISO-certifi cation. It is necessary that we track all parts of our projects, and TimeLog Project helps us do exactly this”, explains Torben Rune.
It was Det Norske Veritas (DNV) who sanctioned Netplan’s quality assurance system by approving the ISO-certifi cation. In connection with this Netplan received the following comment “Netplan’s quality assurance system is untraditional in its composition and function, but in ways that involve the employees in the use, evaluation and updating of the system. It is the most engaging system DNV’s auditors have seen to date.”
“Using TimeLog Project we now have the possibility of following up on our budgets, and also have a much larger degree of control over the entire process from meeting the customer to the wrap-up of the project and even afterwards. This enables us to engage more actively in natural customer relations. TimeLog Project has thus given us the quality assurance needed to increase our turnover – we are very pleased with our choice”, says Torben Rune.
One solution - Quality and time came under control
Besides using TimeLog Project to track time and manage projects, Torben Rune also chose to use the extension TimeLog CRM to strengthen customer relations.
“Of course, we had a customer data base that we updated. But with TimeLog CRM the updates have become much more systemised. Especially the pipeline tool for management and budgeting of sales is a new feature we have acquired with TimeLog CRM.
“Previously, we categorised everything as projects – even when it wasn’t – but TimeLog CRM has enabled us to conduct quality assurance”, says Torben Rune and continues:
“Everything we do – giving quotes, calling the customer, follow up, loggings and so on – we do through TimeLog CRM. This is an extremely good way of creating consistency in our consultancy. We have a complete overview of our activities and the possibility of drawing reports, this all makes it possible for us to adhere to the quality assurance an ISO-certifi cation requires. The ISO-certifi cation among other things entails an annual inspection, ensuring that we are adhering to the method. In this regard TimeLog CRM is just great, and also the system is very similar to our previous system.”
The interplay between TimeLog Project and TimeLog CRM further helps to maintain an overview in Netplan, where the two systems together give a fast and clear overview of all company activity.
“We are currently considering the extension TimeLog Skills to manage employees’ CV’s and for internal resource allocation, because we experience a large degree of effi ciency and speed in project management where this information is used,” says Torben Rune.
Easy and painless implementation
“Now, TimeLog Project is the back bone of our business. If the system isn’t working it’s a matter of life and death for our company. We were therefore very careful when changing systems and during the adaptation process. But it was very easy for us,” says Torben Rune.
Netplan chose to set aside two whole days to train their staff in the use of the new system. Furthermore, they chose to run both systems during the fi rst month to ease the transition process.
“The implementation was painless and beyond all expectations. Running the two systems parallel worked really well and meant that we really got to know the system. By entering all the information in both systems, the employees taught themselves and each other to use the system. It was fairly easy as the two systems are quite comparable, says Torben Rune and concludes:
“I am very impressed with the complex structure of information, which gathers thousands of bits of data and compounds them to deliver the results we see in reports and overviews – and the system works impeccably. All projects are precisely registered.”