SUCCESS STORY

On Time and On Budget — POP Maintains a 97% Project Success Rate With Kantata

Industry
Digital Marketing
Company
POP
Headquarters
Seattle, WA
What Kantata Replaced
A homegrown internal solution and multiple third-party tools

The Challenge

Prior to adopting the Kantata Professional Services Cloud, POP managed client service delivery through a homegrown time tracking and resource planning solution as well as a variety of third-party tools like Basecamp, Microsoft Project, and Smartsheets. Recognizing that their homegrown time tracking and resource planning solution could no longer scale with the growing needs of their business, POP began the search for a purpose-built SaaS solution that would improve efficiency and data visibility, enabling the agency to better service its Fortune 500 customer base.

POP wanted to elevate its project reporting, remove the information silos between disconnected toolsets, address a lack of granularity in its resource planning efforts, and ensure that its leadership and project management teams had detailed planning and operational data available from a single source of truth.

“We needed a professional tool to fill the gaps. Our PMs wanted more visibility — a tighter view of their projects and project financials — and we couldn’t give it to them,” explains Sara Giuffrida, POP’s Senior Vice President of Delivery. “We were using a broad suite of disconnected tools and we wanted to become more consistent — more centralized — by bringing our resourcing, project management, and project accounting together in one place.”

The POP evaluation team encountered multiple dead ends in their search for a flexible solution that ticked their boxes without the need to make compromises or alter their processes.

“Throughout our search, there were too many moments when we thought, ‘That doesn’t apply to us. That isn’t the way we handle contracts or schedule contingencies,’” says Giuffrida. “It was frustrating. Everything we saw was too general, and most of the vendors we approached couldn’t provide a level of detail that inspired our confidence.”

POP is a digital agency that brings a unique combination of business smarts, forward-thinking technology, and design to enrich connections between people and brands. POP’s team of creators and technologists transform complex problems into new possibilities for ambitious brands including Target, PepsiCo, Xbox, F5, and Gap, Inc. Together we build meaningful customer relationships to create lasting business value.

Benefits

  • Improved success rates for closing projects on time and on budget from around 80% to 97%
  • Improved project and overall agency profitability
  • Reduced scheduling conflicts through greater visibility into project timing and resource availability
  • Better insights equip project managers to proactively remedy project overages and slippages
97%

of projects delivered on time and on budget

12

week resource planning horizon

“Scheduling in the Kantata Cloud was a game changer for us in so many ways. It gave us more confidence in our project schedules, provided clarity that reduced conflict, boosted team morale, and allowed us to meet our client needs with greater precision.”

Sara Giuffrida

Senior Vice President of Delivery, POP

The Solution

Then POP contacted Kantata. The Kantata Professional Services Cloud provided the agency with the features, flexibility, and integrations they needed to close the gaps and manage their clients’ requirements in real-time.

“Kantata was so heavily invested in providing us with the answers we needed, we thought, ‘This feels good,’” says Giuffrida. “We knew we could make Kantata work for us, and we enjoyed having the freedom to personalize our deployment by making it as simple or as robust as we needed it to be.”

Working with the Kantata team to configure a consolidated Professional Services Cloud that fit its vision, POP eliminated its use of redundant toolsets. Leveraging Kantata’s extensive knowledge base, training portal, and support communities, POP was also able to prepare its stakeholders and encourage buy-in as it rolled out the new solution.

“We took the training Kantata provided and created materials that matched the tone of our internal documentation before we rolled the solution out,” says Giuffrida, “Everyone knew exactly what to expect. It was an excellent starting point that made adoption easy.”

As an established agency with time-tested ways of working, POP was determined to avoid compromising to accommodate a generic solution. With Kantata, POP configured a solution that met its specific needs. POP leveraged Kantata’s flexibility to bring the must-have metrics that help drive its business success from its homegrown tool into the Kantata Cloud.

“To stay on top of our projects we manage costs and profitability based on gross margin (GM). It’s not just about burn, it’s about burn vs projected burn — other metrics are inaccurate in terms of how we manage our work. Although Kantata did not support that straight out of the box, it had powerful customization options we used to develop a custom GM dashboard that keeps everyone on top of project financials.”

“We knew we could make Kantata work for us, and we enjoyed having the freedom to personalize our deployment by making it as simple or as robust as we needed it to be.”

Sara Giuffrida

Senior Vice President of Delivery, POP

The Results

On Time and On Budget

With all of its data available in a single solution, the agency gained crucial insights into its client services delivery, significantly increasing its project completion accuracy.

In addition to improving POP’s client outcomes, centralizing access to project information positively affected POP’s bottom line.

“By bringing everything together, Kantata took our insights to a new level. We have a very high success rate – 97% of our projects are delivered on time and on budget. Before it was closer to 80%. Because of this, our overall project profitability, has increased”

Sara Giuffrida
Senior Vice President of Delivery, POP

Enhanced Resource Planning

Using Kantata’s resource planning tools, POP can now more effectively forecast demand and efficiently allocate resources across its projects.

Improved visibility into project timing and resource availability eliminates bottlenecks and reduces scheduling conflicts within the agency.

“We are a lot more thoughtful and strategic when we look at our projects and our pipeline in Kantata. Having that visibility allows us to get proactive and work through potential resourcing risks and conflicts before they become issues.”

Sara Giuffrida
Senior Vice President of Delivery, POP

Optimized Resource Utilization

In a dynamic agency environment, plans change rapidly as contingencies arise. Drawing on insights consolidated in Kantata, POP can easily assess availability, adjust schedules, and balance workloads.

With enhanced oversight into each resource’s commitments by project, task, and day, POP can keep its employees and contractors productive while reducing burnout and attrition and eliminating disruptions on the client side.

“We are more efficient utilizing our team members. Kantata helps us assign our resources in a way that plays to their strengths and improves morale. Ultimately, that leads to better client outcomes — with the visibility we have from Kantata, there are no reasons to make schedule changes on projects unless the client requests them.”

Sara Giuffrida
Senior Vice President of Delivery, POP

Day of Week Scheduling

Switching to Kantata also addressed one of POP’s largest pain points — the lack of fine detail in its internal resource scheduling solution. Prior to Kantata, the agency’s program and project managers could only assign or view resource availability and bandwidth at the weekly level. The limited granularity caused misunderstandings and internal tensions that hindered productivity. Kantata’s detailed resource views and day-of-week resource scheduling simplified workload balancing for all project stakeholders.

“Scheduling in the Kantata Cloud was a game changer for us in so many ways. It gave us more confidence in our project schedules, provided clarity that reduced conflict, boosted team morale, and allowed us to meet our client needs with greater precision and accuracy.”

Sara Giuffrida
Senior Vice President of Delivery, POP

Reduced Time to Project Kick-Off

With a strong client base and a dynamic marketing pipeline to foster new relationships, POP needs to be able to quickly kick off new projects.

By streamlining the way the agency assesses skill gaps and places resources in Kantata, POP can plan, staff, and initiate projects with a condensed planning horizon that mirrors the agency’s agile, “work quickly with the right information,” ethos.

“Kantata allows us to be smarter, more efficient, and put guardrails in place that keep us on track and focused on our signed contracts. Now we have the ability to properly assess and staff a new project within a 1-week timeframe as well as quickly determine any long-term implications or impacts to other active work. Kantata has improved confidence in our time to staff, and minimizes last-minute changes so we don’t end up ‘yo-yo’-ing our team members, including contractors, around.”

Sara Giuffrida
Senior Vice President of Delivery, POP

Increased Accountability and Project Oversight

Since consolidating all of its project data in the Kantata Cloud, POP also has greater visibility into every aspect of each project’s progress.

As a result, the program management teams can rapidly pinpoint issues as they develop and take steps to remedy project overages and slippages before they affect the client or the bottom line.

“Kantata lets us get really tight on estimated versus actual hours, down to the individual task level. The data doesn’t lie, and that is an accountability measure that allows us to identify whether we have an internal issue or a problem is customer-related. Using Kantata, we can see exactly what is happening and have the right conversations to fix it.”

Sara Giuffrida
Senior Vice President of Delivery, POP

Value & Success Engineering Support

With Kantata supporting the agency’s needs, POP no longer bears the burden of continuing to develop and maintain its own in-house resource management software or maintain license agreements for overlapping tools.

Likewise, as issues arise, Kantata’s customer success teams are always on hand to back the agency up. Through its partnership with Kantata, the agency is able to consistently expand its adoption of features as the business evolves.

“The responsiveness of Kantata’s customer support teams is impressive. It keeps us connected to the tool — if I have questions I know who to talk to. I feel like they are always there. Kantata’s pipeline of features and functionality is always growing. It’s always moving, giving us confidence that Kantata will continue to evolve with us.”

Sara Giuffrida
Senior Vice President of Delivery, POP

“Kantata’s pipeline of features and functionality is always growing. It’s always moving, giving us confidence that Kantata will continue to evolve with us.”

Sara Giuffrida

Senior Vice President of Delivery, POP

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