Web Design client describes Sage Coretime as essential decision making tool which has helped guide their strategic planning.

The Client

NetConstruct are an established web design business with a very clear picture of their projects and business direction. NetConstruct’s digital services are used by top names such as Cadbury, Green & Blacks, Thomson Reuters, Balfour Beatty, the NHS and the National Trust. A move to new premises and a desire to streamline business processes prompted NetConstruct to invest in Sage Coretime.

Coming from a background within the construction industry, MD, David Bentley was keen to get better control of their projects and apply a similar process to costing and project evaluation within his web design business to that which had long ago been standard process in the construction industry. He explains, “The parallels between the construction industry and web design industry are not difficult to spot if you consider that within the construction industry you need to cost, quote, design and then build for the physical environment, while in the web design business you are designing and then building in the virtual world of the internet.”

The problem
 

As David, explains, “We were looking for an all encompassing silver bullet that covered quite a number of aspects of managing our business. We needed a software tool which would allow us to analyse project data from every conceivable angle and we wanted to get to the point where we would know exactly how much a job had cost us to deliver.”

“We didn’t just want the ability to record time, we wanted a tool to help us learn from past projects and continually improve our business. It was this aspect of the system, which was a determining factor for choosing Onesys. We looked at several systems, but none of them had been thought through well enough or had the level of flexibility and sophistication that Sage Coretime offered.”

The solution

 

“We installed Sage Coretime and now have an invaluable tool to help us effectively manage our projects. We have found that our usage of the system has evolved as our understanding of our own business has changed.”

Timesheet software and job costing tool
 

“Originally we felt we needed timesheet software to help track time and get better control of costs. With Sage Coretime we started to record time at a detailed level, we could add supporting notes and analyse development time.”
“Once we had started recording time, we could use past project data to build up the components of project cost and cost our jobs much more accurately based on past experience. We could also adapt our costings when needed. For example, over time, different elements to website build have become more popular, such as videos and ecommerce sites. We can now add these new types of activities in Sage Coretime and ensure they are reflected in project costings. We then use our costings as a base and refine our final price to the client so that we offer best value at a price that will deliver profit.”
 

Negotiation tool

 
When prospective clients come to us, they often expect to be able to make price comparisons. In reality, the costs of a project are largely dependent on the varying components of time spent in delivering a solution, and that tends not to be very comparable across suppliers. On a daily basis we are trying to help clients make decisions about their website, and that requires careful management to keep costs under control. With over 2000 projects behind us, we have the data to share with clients and show them the costs on their projects. We work in partnership with clients to help them understand exactly how costs are being incurred during the website development process.

 

Quick return on investment on Coretime

When asked whether NetConstruct felt they had got a quick return on their investment the answer is a definitive ‘Yes’, and David goes on to say, “To quote one notable example, we had a client making many additional changes to their website design and we were able to use the Coretime data to quantify and demonstrate additional project costs at a client meeting and discuss alternative options. We were able to recover around 20% more on that project because the client did agree to do some of the changes, but in the process we protected the client from costs which could well have been double that. So we actually made a considerable saving for the client and delivered the website at the prescribed go live date which had previously been at risk. In a nutshell, the client increased their budget, they got their project completed on time, we raised our credibility and we gained extra business.”

As the Chairman of the Scandinavian Airlines once famously quoted: "An individual without information can't take responsibility. An individual with information can't help but take responsibility." David continues, “In this austere business climate, accountability is crucial. With Sage Coretime we are equipped to deal with it effectively”.

Operations tool to increase efficiency

NetConstruct are very clear on how the system drives efficiencies within their business. David explains, “Our operations team use Coretime to manage projects. And Coretime has helped change the culture and create a mindset that was very helpful in our business. It is fairly commonplace within creative industries for individuals to take the view that a job is not complete until it meets that persons view of the ideal finished version. Discipline has been a big benefit in helping staff understand that you do have to meet deadlines and keep things to a budget. Sage Coretime has given us the ability to see exactly how long things have taken and what the costs are.”

Outcome

David sums up, “We are delighted with Coretime. It’s not just a time management tool, it has allowed us to do much more than improve our job costing. Ultimately, it has allowed us to identify which direction we needed to go in as part of our business plan. We can now identify projects on-budget, project status, recovery rates, projects overrunning and we can drill down to the detail. We don’t over-analyse our business, but we absolutely know which projects are good for us, and where we are with our projects at any point in time and that’s crucial to us. The base of it all is Coretime.”
 
As a final seal of approval, David adds, “We could not conceive running our business without it now. We would be running it completely blind. Now we have total visibility on our projects and we are able to make decisions based on facts to help us drive our business forward.”
 
Onesys are the number one supplier of Sage Coretime in the UK with over 400 client installations. Contact Onesys for more information on how Sage Coretime can help your business. We offer a full consultation and free trial of the software so that you understand exactly how Sage Coretime can make your business better.