Helping utilities, businesses, and individuals use energy wisely is the focus for CLEAResult. Yet the professional services company, which designs and implements energy-efficiency and demand-response programs for its global clients, has a larger mission. “I like to say we’re in the business of trying to save the world—one kilowatt hour and one therm at a time,” says Leisa Tremblay, senior director of IT at CLEAResult.
But while CLEAResult helps its clients become more energy efficient, a few years ago it struggled with some inefficiencies of its own.
“We were supporting our core business operations on 17 separate systems, living a different life than the one we were providing for our clients. That was a big catalyst for us. We realized that we needed to make a change,” says Tremblay.
To address these challenges and increase efficiencies for its more than 2,500 employees across the United States and Canada, Tremblay led the sourcing and selection of Workday as CLEAResult’s single system for finance, HR, planning, and professional services automation (PSA).
We had a chance to talk with Tremblay about the benefits of having all of these capabilities in one system. Below are a few highlights from our conversation.
Why did you decide to reevaluate your back-end systems at CLEAResult?
We’ve acquired 12 to 13 companies since we were founded, and we also acquired their systems, processes, and home-grown software.
When I came on board, one of my strategic focuses was to begin integrating these prior acquisitions into our financial systems. We discovered that with our biggest acquisition in 2015, the product they were using didn’t integrate with ours. At that point, we began running on two financial systems, with two full accounting teams. Our model was no longer sustainable.
How has professional services changed in the last several years?
One of the trends in professional services is that the days of having an administrative worker for every 25 or so consultants are long gone. So there’s a real need for our consultants to not only be in front of the clients, but also to perform their own administrative tasks. That’s a challenge if you don’t have the right tools to support them. That was becoming a real issue for us.
Our clients now are more interested in getting innovative solutions from us; having us develop the products, programs, and solutions. They want us to be more prescriptive with them—more proactive versus reactive.
Why did you include the Workday PSA application as part of your deployment?
Believe it or not, we were a professional services organization without project management software. We had no way to effectively manage our projects from a financial standpoint. So the PSA capabilities of Workday were important and exciting to us. Also, because we invested in the full suite, all of our timekeeping, payroll, absences, and talent and performance—it’s all in one system.
PSA helps us look at our resources across the organization. How do you choose which resources to put on which projects? How do you keep a project staffed when somebody’s on vacation, or out on leave? How do you know that the time that’s being charged to your project is correct?
Some professional services organizations have probably taken these capabilities for granted for years, but we were experiencing them for the first time and really loving them.
What benefits have you seen with Workday PSA?
Workday PSA has helped us improve the profitability of our projects, first by giving us visibility. Resource allocation to projects used to be very ad hoc for us. Utilizing the data in Workday, we now have the ability to match the right levels of resources—with the appropriate bill rates—to the right programs.
Secondly, PSA, in conjunction with the rest of the Workday system, has helped us engage our employees. Today’s job climate is very hot, so in professional services—as well as any other industry—it’s tough to keep employees engaged. And when we experience a high level of change, as we are right now, that can either bring energy and excitement, or people can experience change fatigue and jump ship.
I believe providing the right tools to help people work through times of change is critical. And that’s something that Workday has brought to us. Our employees are out fulfilling our mission, serving our clients. Workday has made it easy, cutting our administrative time substantially, helping us keep our heads in the game and our focus on our clients, instead of behind a desk navigating our way through hours of administrative tasks.
Check out this blog post from the SMB Group detailing how CLEAResult achieved success with Workday.