Esri Adopts Kantata to Streamline Resourcing, Boost Revenues and Scale with Ease
Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence and mapping, turned to a purpose-built professional services solution when it became clear overly-manual resourcing processes would not be able to keep up with plans to aggressively grow headcount and revenue. Today, Esri uses Kantata as their one source of truth for engagement and resourcing data. With Kantata, the team is enabled to make more strategic and impactful decisions, which have resulted in:
- Increase in billable utilization, resulting in higher services revenue
- Supporting significant expansion of services division staffing since rolling out Kantata in 2018
- Increased confidence in the accuracy of financial projections (EAC, revenue forecast)
Esri supports customers using geographic information system (GIS) technology, location intelligence and mapping. Esri takes a geographic approach to problem-solving and are committed to using science and technology to build a sustainable world.
Challenge: Growth Plans Outpace Manual Resource Management Methods
Established in 1969, Esri is a global, privately owned software company specializing in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, spatial analytics and mapping. Esri’s software enables its customers to unlock the full value from their data. The services arm of Esri represents $250 in revenue annually and it continues to grow at a double-digit pace.
According to Kevin Ochs, Director of Business Management at Esri, “What’s unique about Esri is that we actually don’t run our [services] business on just the bottom line. Of course, the bottom line is important, but customer success is our main priority.”
Since the software Esri offers is robust, with a wide variety of use cases across numerous industries, it was critical that the business would have the right resources ready to take on upcoming customer demand for professional services. Without these appropriately skilled resources, services teams would struggle to unlock the true value of Esri’s products for customers, hampering the division’s ability to drive customer satisfaction.
Recognizing the important role strategic resourcing would play in customer success as the business grew, Esri sought out a tool that would enable them to move beyond siloed, ad-hoc resourcing processes. This solution would need to offer Esri a single, accurate and up-to-date source of truth for resourcing data and it would need to provide real-time visibility into the greater financial implications of resourcing decisions on planned performance – against utilization, revenue projections and more.
What started as a search for a tool to help with resourcing soon proved to be much greater. Esri quickly recognized the true potential of a purpose-built professional services solution — to empower leaders to make strategic and proactive decisions that have the potential to significantly move the needle and impact business performance and customer success.
“We couldn’t have done business the way we do it today without Kantata. Communication used to be really good locally (within your hallway or office) but Kantata has driven communication globally. This became increasingly important during the pandemic as we weren’t in the office and we needed a tool we could use to collaborate. From a resourcing perspective, having Kantata was huge.”
Business Execution Department Manager, Esri
Solution: Kantata for Confident and Collaborative Business Planning, From Resourcing to Revenue
Adopting Kantata enabled Esri to shift away from delivery-led allocation of resources and grow its centralized resourcing team, which has had a significant — and positive — downstream impact. The Esri team has added several hundred staff in the last three years and Kantata has ensured the organization was able to scale with ease all while satisfying customers.
Today, Esri looks forward with confidence knowing the data fueling financial projections, estimates and forecasts is up-to-date, accurate, comprehensive and reliable. Kantata has enabled Esri to grow internally, deliver quality products and services and streamline the entire resource management process — all while improving billable utilization and services revenue.
A Forward-Looking View of Financial Performance That Decision-Makers Can Trust
With Kantata, Esri can be confident that they have a complete, accurate and up-to-date view of financials.
Kantata provides Esri with live, real-time updating dashboards and reports that accurately reflect the state of the business not only today but in the upcoming weeks, months and quarters. The team can be confident that forward looking projections and forecasts are accurate and reliable and can use this data to make key business decisions that have the potential to drastically move the needle.
“The real game changer of Kantata is the windshield view of our plans. Any accounting system will tell you where you’ve been, but Kantata gives us an accurate, up-to-date, living and breathing plan. Kantata shows us our future demand — if we expect to be short or over-staffed we can turn some dials to hire and proactively make decisions that will influence the future.”
One Source of Truth for All Resource Data
Today, Esri uses Kantata as their one source of truth for resourcing data. The team was previously keeping track of information such as skills or availability manually and assigning, tracking and managing resources without visibility into engagement status, costs, or business impact. With Kantata, Esri has not only reduced the chaos around resourcing, but has optimized the entire process. The team can be confident they are making data-informed decisions based on accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive resource and engagement information.
“Prior to Kantata, we requested resources through calls, emails, chat, or whoever was in your network. Kantata has provided us with that centralized communication channel where we can openly discuss and document resourcing data such as skills, availability and vacation. Before Kantata, we were trying to track and manage those details on a whiteboard — it was really chaotic.”
Visibility into Career Goals Drives Skills Development
Today, the Esri team not only uses Kantata to see which resources have what skills, but also which resources are raising their hand to hone new skills or develop in certain areas of their career. Resources are empowered to show interest in expanding their skills or raising their hand for certain types of engagements and Kantata makes it easy for them to keep this information updated. This increased visibility gives both resources and managers the peace of mind that no critical career conversations are being left by the water-cooler.
“Kantata is actually allowing people to guide their own career path and skills development. They can say, ‘hey I want to work on this or learn about this kind of stuff.’ We never had that before Kantata. It was all about who you knew or who you were connected with.”
Single Tool for Communication and Collaboration
Esri adopted Kantata with hopes it would enhance collaboration and communication around resourcing — only to find an even greater need for a single, unified platform once Covid-19 sent all employees to their home offices. Resourcing conversations that may have otherwise been handled on a whiteboard or in a hallway setting could now only take place virtually. Today, the Esri team — regardless of location — can access, manage and analyze all resourcing data in the Kantata platform.
“Collaboration in the office was such a big part of resourcing in the past and under Covid we couldn’t do that. The fact that we adopted Kantata prior to Covid was key. Even without the office, Kantata gave us a single platform for communication so we could continue our resourcing processes unbroken. Having a well-established process with Kantata in place really helped us stay effective during this time.”
Improvement in Billable Utilization and Margin
In the past three years, Esri has grown tremendously, with several hundred new employees joining the team. Kantata has enabled Esri to not only keep up with this growth, but efficiently meet client demands and support staff career and skill planning.
“To bring on that many new hires and still improve utilization each year has been phenomenal.”
- Significant expansion of services division with many new staff successfully onboarded since 2018
- Improved billable utilization resulting in more efficiently meeting client demands and overall performance
- Increased confidence in the accuracy of financial projections such as estimate at complete (EAC) and revenue forecast
- Improved communication and collaboration despite remote work during Covid-19