Nov 4, 2015
To Gain Greater Control
In August 2015 the ECConnect team identified an opportunity to increase efficiencies in their business reporting. This opportunity would give the management team greater visibility and transparency into their projected and actual revenues, as well calculate the gross margin on individual clients, projects, work types and team members.
ECConnect use Xero's online accounting software (for invoicing and all internal accounting including payroll), and several Atlassian products such as JIRA (for development and support ticket management) and Tempo (for team member time tracking). The ECConnect team determined they could improve reporting by integrating the disparate systems.
The newly created platform would allow the team to compare data and provide them with the ability to identify trends and prioritise resources. They would also be able to monitor how they are tracking against targets and budgets on a daily basis, instead of at the end of a period as they do now, to maximise profitability.
After identifying this opportunity the ECConnect team started a period of research. Following a trial of a number of plug-ins for Atlassian's JIRA and Tempo platforms, as well as investigating providers who had already carried out similar integration, these options did not met their needs. Therefore ECConnect decided they would develop their own platform to integrate the Xero and JIRA datasets. Building their own platform was ideal, as it allowed for complete customisation and an opportunity to continuously build and improve the capabilities of the platform.
While developing the platform was relatively pain-free, the team faced one challenge. This was that the data in Xero (i.e. client charges) and JIRA/Tempo (i.e. team hours) are not always a one to one match. This was a minor setback which was overcome by creating a customisable mapping matrix to allow Xero's item codes and Tempo's job type to be joined. ECConnect took this one step further by adding another abstraction layer for the client, project and team member so as to enable further categorisation of the reporting outputs.
The team at ECConnect are pleased with the efficiencies provided by this solution. This 'real-time' tracking allows the management team to compare projected income versus actual revenue/sales, while also providing the ability to identify job types and projects that are more or less profitable, along with other trends. This reporting allows the team to make adjustments in real-time, such as shifting internal resources to meet an unexpected demand and to limit missed targets.
This solution has given ECConnect more control. It now allows them to make high-level decisions with more certainty, such as prioritising jobs and hiring additional staff, basing these decisions off definitive data rather than making an educated guess. For the team this is an ongoing project with unlimited potential. ECConnect are looking forward to discovering what additional functions they can build into the platform and what other insights it will provide.