Moving from sticky notes to digital: Inside the day of a Resource Manager turned PSA Product Owner who helped design and roll out a true digital transformation.
Every night before bed, Rachel Manigault would prepare oats in a mason jar for work the next day. She started her mornings with what she called a “super smoothie” (Kefir is the magic ingredient) and then biked to her office building in Chicago – yes, even in the dead of winter. With her bike locked up and a LaraBar already unwrapped in one hand, Rachel would log onto her computer at work. At 8:30 AM on a Monday, Rachel already has the buzzing energy of a business professional on a Friday.
It’s a stark juxtaposition to the image that usually comes to mind when one thinks of a busy Resource Manager at a fast-growing company. But Rachel had a secret weapon. At Kin + Carta, Rachel oversaw the day-to-day company billable utilization goals on FinancialForce across the Americas team. From 9 AM – 5 PM, Monday to Friday, Rachel lived and breathed the enterprise resource planning tool, adding finesse to a position that can often pull you in multiple directions at once.
As a global consulting firm with a roster of Fortune 500 companies as clients, Kin + Carta has seen its staff more than double in the last two years and is on the fast track to growth. Headquartered out of Chicago and London with offices in New York, Denver, and Buenos Aires, Kin + Carta has been named a Leader in digital experiences by Forrester Research and previously recognized as one of the best places to work by Great Place to Work.
Just six months ago, Rachel transitioned out of Resource Management and became the global PSA Product Owner after the leadership team saw the positive impact professional services automation had on the team at Kin + Carta. With this first implementation guiding the way, four companies have since rolled out professional services automation under the Kin + Carta umbrella with more already scheduled on Rachel’s product roadmap.
“FinancialForce’s PSA software allows me to take a step back and see everything that’s running- assignments, projects- and look at the bigger picture,” says Rachel. “It allows me to look at what could happen. My COO and talent acquisition teams love that.”
With full visibility across the entire business, Rachel can make accurate reports and dashboards that simplify things for presenting critical information when the company has turnover or several new pipeline opportunities. “I love having access to so much data and that we’ve had such wide adoption. It’s so cool to get asked a question and be able to go back to the data, analyze it, and get the information I need to answer the question. Sometimes it’s about the future. Sometimes it’s about the past – but it’s all there.”
Go back two and a half years, however, and Rachel will paint you a much different picture. “Can you believe 280 people were once managed by sticky notes on a whiteboard?”
The whiteboard wall where available resources and demand were being tracked would get updated daily by multiple people without notice as new information came in. Rachel acknowledges that it left a lot of room for confusion. “The way we were doing things was not scalable.”
Enter Nick Anderson of VFP Consulting. Working closely with Nick and coworkers–Elena Buckley from Client Finance and Peggy Dowell Director of Delivery Operations–Rachel was part of the core team that helped craft a viable solution for the company to move to SaaS Professional Services Automation. Nick and the VFP team were able to sit down and hear how Rachel and the team currently worked, how they wanted to do things and shared the various ERP solutions available to them – sticky notes non grata.
“VFP Consulting came up with the process options and tools – and I came up with how that would work for [resourcing at] Kin + Carta. I ran it by Nick and if we both agreed, we would implement it.” The “it” being FinancialForce. The cloud-based resourcing system was a big transition for the company but Rachel took the wheel and spearheaded the transformation of the online platform from the shareable sticky note wall into the system it is today. Employees no longer have to pop by the Resource Manager’s desk for meetings or updates. Their new online platform has afforded the company the luxury of staying connected remotely. “There are lots of spokes in lots of directions but I think of [the Resource Manager] as the hub of the wheel,” says Rachel.
By having the implementation experts at VFP Consulting usher in FinancialForce company-wide, Rachel has seen the company transform into a data-driven business with insights they couldn’t have dreamt of having only a few years earlier. She’s witnessed the transition from making decisions based on a “gut feeling” to data-driven methodology and appreciates how it’s provided answers to questions that were once indecipherable.
“I got asked about a month ago, ‘What should our healthy benchmark be?’ I knew we needed to go back and look at the previous year’s clerical numbers. Based on all the targets, I was able to determine what a healthy number should actually be and share that with the team. It was really nice to have such a straightforward way to get to that answer whereas before, it would have been very difficult to do.”
Nick Anderson, Managing Consultant at VFP, and the team have been working with Rachel and the Kin + Carta team since the start of their switch from manual to automated two years ago and have seen the transformation firsthand. “Now Kin + Carta has separate businesses in their organization running on one platform and communicating with each other and sharing the same data, “ says Nick. “That’s what’s been the most rewarding for me, to see it all come together into a single platform.”
It’s also made everyone else better equipped to handle their responsibilities – and technology. “We still use our gut!” Rachel says. “But we use our gut to make decisions based on the data.”
VFP Consulting helps businesses streamline their Quote to Cash operations, processes, and systems on the Salesforce platform. As an industry-leading implementation partner, and Inc. 5000 company, VFP Consulting’s aim is to provide clients a 360 view of their business in a single cloud platform. They work closely with FinancialForce to deliver reliable PSA and full-stack cloud ERP solutions to businesses internationally.