Founded in 2015 to empower the testing community, Zensoft is an independent software testing company that aims to challenge the status quo and consistently deliver ahead of deadlines. Their focus is squarely on ROI through Test Automation, but more importantly, on ROI, which is sustainable.
1. Optimizing Resource Utilization: As a Test Automation services provider, Zensoft's most valuable assets were its testing professionals. While Zensoft was doing well as an organization and gearing up to multifold its growth. The top management wanted to have in place systems and processes that would enable scale without losing efficiency and profitability. They realized that optimizing resource utilization was critical to increasing the profitability and competitive advantage. Maximizing billable hours, managing bench resources, minimizing revenue leakages and losses and preventing attrition were some of the top priorities.
2. Lack of a Single Source of Truth: In the early days of its inception, Zensoft managed all its data on a set of Excel sheets. These sheets carried all project-related details such as resource allocation, budgets, costs, and net profit margins. But as the company scaled and its customers grew, it became difficult to manage everything with just a set of documents.
3. Data Silos Leading to Incoherencies: Various functions such as Delivery, Projects, Talent Acquisition, Finance, and HR managed their own data in their own set of spreadsheets. These were manually updated, usually only when necessary, and email copies were used to relay updates. This resulted in a lot of versions floating around, causing delays and errors in communication. Manual updates also introduced human errors and subjectivity to these sheets, leading to conflicting interpretations of the data, and lack of a clear definition of success. Some functions started using some specialized tools to solve their own problems. But the absence of a central repository of data and a single integrated source of truth led to organizational silos and prevented the teams from working effectively together. All this factors pulled down the company's bottom line.
4. Loss of Visibility on the Net Margins:
"While there were multiple processes & tools to collate various data, they only made it more difficult to solve a problem holistically. We had to make sense of the project's net margins in parts. For example, if one wanted to maximize profitability by utilizing bench resources, they would not know where to procure the leave data to act on revenue leakage." - Ameya Naik, Delivery Lead.
For Ameya, managing optimal project profitability was a significant challenge. The absence of a collective databased overview prevented him from keeping track of several lead indicators that affected net margins. These indicators were the bench size, team structure, leave data, expected net project margins, and timesheet updates.
5. Hiring Delays: Poor visibility into the sales pipelines and existing resource utilization increased the burden on the talent acquisition team. Attrition added to the severity of the problem. Hiring delays sometimes affected the project delivery and pushed the projects off the timelines. Client satisfaction was always a top priority for Zensoft and a quick cognizance of the issue was taken by the leaders.
6. Frequent Firefighting Distracted the Top Management: Company's leadership got dragged into issues arising out of challenges mentioned above. The leadership team firmly believed that they need to focus on the growth of the organizations and strategic decision making rather than getting involved in firefighting. They started searching for a holistic solution which could single handedly address these issues.
The Solution Instazen: A Single Source of Truth
Zensoft tried using multiple tools and solutions to get rid of the issues mentioned above. Soon, they realized that what they needed was a holistic solution and not just standalone tools. Standalone tools added to the silos as against eliminating them. Further, these tools were hard to use and user adoption was low.
The story changed for Zensoft when they decided to implement Instazen business operating platform. Zensoft decided to give Instazen a try because they loved its simplicity and the connectedness of all modules which made it truly a ‘single source of truth’. Instazen also offered a proven knowledge framework, a set of advanced tools and various lead indicators to safeguard profit margins. Zensoft also felt that Instazen could enable its various functions - Sales, Finance, Delivery, Talent Acquisition, HR, and Operations to work closely together.
1. Increased Operational Efficiency:
Instazen made Zensoft’s operations efficient by making data required by every decision maker available to them on a click. Instazen was able to cut down delays significantly – by up to 30% - which gave an instant boost to the operational efficiency.
"Meeting our objectives was the greatest challenge. Our efficiencies were affected because we often looked for information in the wrong places. There were no streamlined data, and we had to extract them from multiple sources at the cost of accuracy. With Instazen, things are only a click away, and processes are automated. I no longer worry about getting the data wrong." - Abhijet Avate, Chief Operating Officer.
2. Optimized Resource Utilization:
The powerful resource management features gave clear visibility into current and future utilization. This helped manage the bench effectively – clearly exposing the costliest bench and giving visibility into the bench candidates' utilization pattern and skills. Visibility into last working days and long leaves helped pre-plan resource transitions. Having future visibility also helped minimize hiring delays and revenue losses.
With Instazen, Zensoft minimized their revenue leakages due to leaves, and eliminated leakages due to open timesheets, delayed invoicing, or billing errors. Company leadership observed a clear and immediate improvement in the resource utilization.
"I used to spend 8-10 hours a week updating timesheets for invoicing. With Instazen, it has come down to less than an hour. It provides a clear view of incoming leaves so I can allocate buffer resources in advance. I can also plan the resource transition for an improved team structure and forecast the future state of project net margins. I can check team compositions and track resources." – Ameya Naik, Delivery Lead
3. Fortifying Net Project Margins:
On account of better resource utilization and improved operational efficiency, Zensoft witnessed its project net margins moving upward. Instazen’s accurate reporting system and lead indicators helped proactive cost decisions with a clear picture of their impact on net margins.
4. Better Tracking and Forecasting of Profitability:
For the Finance team at Zensoft, Instazen proved to be an advancement from monthly gross margin reports.
"The main touch-points for finance are resource allocations, billability, leave data, compensations, etc. We primarily rely on the Delivery, RMG, and HR teams for these data. But with Instazen, I can check this information whenever I want without waiting for monthly reports and act instantly." – Shrirang Joshi, CFO.
Shrirang feels that Instazen has equipped the team with a forward-looking perspective, making it much easier to create revenue forecasts. The qualitative benefits are immense. Earlier, it took months to detect a lost opportunity, and monthly meetings were mostly about data accuracy. Instazen has equipped the team with lead indicators so that the focus has shifted to more strategic discussions.
5. Closing the Demand-Supply Gap:
Zensoft implemented Instazen’s talent acquisition system which enabled the talent acquisition team to see through resource management and automate the hiring process and align it with business priorities. Through better coordination with the RMG and HR teams, Zensoft's Talent Acquisition team could bridge the gap between Demand and Supply.
The team successfully reduced 'time to hire' by staying on-board with the project team. They also enhanced the candidate experience by streamlining each step throughout recruitment and on-boarding.
"Before Instazen, we were doing almost everything manually, from hiring to on-boarding, which led to significant delays. The lack of data interpretation further made tracking our Hiring Rate, Time to Hire, and Joining Ratios difficult. There was too much physical data, and we did not know where the blockades were. But now, it has become easier for us to view the hiring pipeline and expedite each step." – Shruti Deodhar, Associate Director, TA
Instazen : Single Source of Truth for Everyone!
A scorecard has no value after the game is lost. It is valuable to players on the ground when they are playing. Similarly, Instazen helped various teams at Zensoft to foresee the consequences of every move they plan to make, increasing their chances of winning. It is a business operating platform that tells stakeholders how their actions will affect the project margins. What you can’t see, you can’t move. Instazen makes ‘profitability’ visible so every stakeholder can act coherently to move it upward!