Accelo is a powerful tool for time entry. As consultants, GRAYBOX requires an agile bit of software that evolves as we do. Accelo helps us by offering partners transparency into every minute of time that we record. This transparency helps us keep our partner retention rates super high.
A track record of excellent work and some help from Accelo have aided in GRAYBOX achieving a partner (client) retention rate of 95%. Our project managers - we call them producers since they do so much more than a typical PM - are essential to our high partner retention rate as they are the partner-facing side of each team. They achieve a consistent balancing act between keeping each team on time and on budget and communicating with each partner. Our management software, Accelo, has been essential to helping our producers with this balance.
GRAYBOX was featured in a case study that Accelo prepared, and while it was a great overview of how we use the program, we thought a deep dive was necessary. GRAYBOX is also one of companies that Accelo selected to be at the forefront of its tests and implementations in an effort to help Accelo constantly improve its software.
The Devil's in the Details
Our producers are involved from the beginning of every partner relationship. There are a ton of details that must be monitored‚ whether we are adopting a site or building something from scratch. "From development to marketing, part of the key benefit of Accelo is its flexibility to accommodate different containers for work," says Digital Producer, Jeremy Towsey-French.
GRAYBOX is growing rapidly. Each new hire means inevitable challenges in onboarding. Each new partner means inevitable adjustments to communication. Our producers are the communication point between us and our partners. Keeping track of all of that communication as well as all of the billable hours takes not only an agile mind, but agile software.
We use Accelo to keep track of "everything because Accelo offers a clean, auditable record of every activity initiated on behalf of a partner," explains Towsey-French.
But how does recording time help with partner retention? Towsey-French answers, "If we aren't doing something of value, then there shouldn't be a billable record for a partner. The transparency level of Accelo is a positive reflection on the organizations that use it as it models key ideology that underscores a good consultancy."
"Part of the value of keeping and logging time in each part of each day on behalf of your partners," says Towsey-French, "is the transparency that affords."
Accelo allows us to be completely transparent with every action that we log. "Accelo encourages a record of behavior, which helps realize the actual level of effort," continues Towsey-French. GRAYBOX has high standards for being on time and on budget. Accelo helps each employee keep track of our own goals.
"Accelo actually encourages time-keeping best practices." Towsey-French reveals that, "the faster you track your time, the better you track it, the more you bill. It's just good at what it does."
Long Term Relationships
GRAYBOX has shrugged the project mindset where clients are short term. Instead, we've instilled a culture of holistic-thinking, consulting-minded individuals with long term mindsets. When we think of partners in terms of a relationship we make decisions that benefit each partner in the long and short term.
Recently, we asked ourselves how we can improve our timelogging. Incorporating JIRA with our Accelo tasks was the answer. The producers, explains Towsey-French, "are excited by the fact that Accelo has invested in JIRA integration." Completing a task in JIRA will automatically let Accelo how much time was used.
This integration streamlines timelogging. That way, we can focus more of our energy on each partner. While our developers are familiar with JIRA, our strategy team is experimenting with JIRA in our workflow. This would make our actions repeatable, which is especially beneficial for retainer-based work. With improved timelogging integration we hope to continuously improve our partner retention.