Kvantum improves Client Communication with Forecast's Retainer Management

how Kvantum solved hour conflicts on retainer projects
Marketing & Advertising
11 - 50 employees

Kvantum is an e-commerce marketing agency focusing on optimizing the e-commerce business through a strong and creative use of data and insights. The agency was founded in 2014 and, ever since, has been helping companies all over the world build a digital presence through website development, search engine optimization, lead generation, and online advertising.

Finding a unifying solution for project management

Having a variety of clients who preferred different types of contracts and pricing models, Kvantum needed a system that would provide the option of managing all kinds of projects at once: retainers, traditional fixed price, and time and material projects. Forecast turned out to be the only platform that would unify all ways to run and track projects.

Before using Forecast, recalls Rasmus Frølund Thomsen, COO of Kvantum, the agency initially relied on spreadsheets. But as its portfolio started to grow, more attention has been paid to how resources are allocated and where the agency can optimize work, not necessarily to make more money, but to squeeze more value in an hour spent per client. With it came the understanding that Kvantum was lacking critical tools that would allow them to recognize patterns in their work and improve from there. 

The constraint of spreadsheets to provide transparency and actionable insights led Kvantum to search for a solution that could create visibility across multiple projects and automate a great part of manual project management work.

Forecast is the only system that has the option of doing both retainers and traditional fixed price and time & material projects. And I’ve been looking for this combo for a long time.

Getting transparency into ongoing retainer projects

Typical for the industry, a turning point in Kvantum’s decision to use Forecast for managing their day-to-day operations was the new way of running recurring projects, so desired and long-awaited by agencies and consultancy businesses like Kvantum. Retainers.

The main benefit of using Retainers in Forecast is that we don't have to spend a lot of time on manual processes trying to get a project management tool to fit in the way that we do business.

“Learning how you are spending your time and improving on that knowledge is crucial in the consulting business,” remarks Rasmus. “What Retainers in Forecast have taught us is that there’s a better way of knowing how the hours your consultants dedicate to the client are spent.” 

The bar chart in the Retainers gives me the overview that I can point to and say - this is how many hours the client is actually paying for and I know that this is true, because the amount that we invoice matches the number of hours. We don't need to have a discussion about it every month.

“If you have the number of hours dedicated to a client, it’s a pretty strict line,” continues Rasmus. “You have to be aware if it’s crossed or not reached to know where to subtract. Forecast lets me be in the know. I can track retainer targets and capture conflicts that appear when my team overspends hours.” 

Managing retainers agreements that last for a year, Kvantum can do more one month and less the other month, and become aware how it’s affecting the number of hours that they have. All thanks to the view in Forecast, where they can register time, see how many hours consultants spend on different tasks, and even subtract and roll over hours to the next period.

“Learning how you are spending your time and improving on that knowledge is crucial in the consulting business,” remarks Rasmus. “What Retainers in Forecast have taught us is that there’s a better way of knowing how the hours your consultants dedicate to the client are spent.” 

improved communication over retainer projects (2)

Improving communication on all fronts

Now that Kvantum has a way to look at how many hours were booked and document this information, the talks with the clients have become easier and more focused on what really matters. The same applies to discussions around finances. Comparing the invoicing volume with the amount of hours spent on tasks gives Rasmus a clear understanding if the cooperation is profitable.

In addition to conversations held with the clients, speaking about how things are going with the employees every month has become more productive as well. Improved and reliable reporting also helps Rasmus succeed in the role of COO, as now he can communicate real numbers to his management fellows, from where strategic planning and decision making become more accurate.

Automating manual project management tasks

In Kvantum, one of the roles Forecast compensates for is the role of a project manager. Every consultant communicates with the client directly to get things done without going through the hassle of speaking to a project manager. Consultants in Kvantum are able to self-organize and plan work even without a project manager in place. 

Creating templates for client onboarding and different similar projects in Forecast, the team is able to duplicate them and apply these to new projects, which makes planning a lot easier. Template projects in the planning stage are cloned and then sent to running. As consultants become more experienced, they refine the templates.

Encouraging knowledge-sharing across the agency

Creating a knowledge-sharing culture, especially in a consulting business is critical for delivering value to the client. Consultants at Kvantum work with 5-7 clients each and Forecast makes sure their experience is aligned across all projects and tips to optimize processes are shared. Specifically, the team benefits from file-sharing, comments, notifications, etc.

Looking at retrospective to continuously improve

“In Forecast, you don’t necessarily look at the month you’re in, you have an opportunity to analyze the projects from the historical standpoint and make smarter decisions in the future,” says Rasmus. The more time Kvantum spends on the platform, the more patterns and trends they notice in their work. Tracking both at a macro and micro level how everyone is spending the time, the team learns how to improve on a continuous basis. Figuring out if the tasks can be finished 10% or 15% faster is one example. Seeing how you’re spending the hours on different types of clients and sectors is another. 

Kvantum’s success story proves that Forecast’s automation has a huge potential to improve the way people work. Even if you manage recurring and ongoing projects, the system equips you with proper management and tracking opportunities. The automation and interconnectivity in the platform allow Kvantum to get the needed financial insights into how each Retainer is performing, and simply monitor the flow of their retainers to work more wisely.

Rasmus Frølund Thomsen
COO & Founding Partner

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