How Imarc Improved Revenue Forecasting and Utilization through Parallax
Headquarters: Amesbury, MA
Company type: Full service digital agency
Company size: 50 employees
Imarc is a full service digital agency with a team of experienced engineers, designers, writers, strategists, and business and marketing experts that needed greater resourcing and forecasting capabilities to make confident, proactive decisions for the business.
The Imarc team was in a constant reactionary state, with limited visibility into when new work was or wasn’t coming into the business, capacity for work, and overall utilization . This impacted revenue and caused frequent periods of overtime and burnout followed by downtime and low utilization.
“I’ve been here for 17 years in engineering, project management, and operations roles, and we never had a great approach for forecasting important data,” said Patrick McPhail, COO, Imarc. “We had spreadsheets we made ourselves, and we were struggling to understand capacity and revenue, both long and short term.”
While the Imarc team was initially looking for a task management software solution, they realized a solution that could provide granular details and strategic insights into metrics that hadn’t previously been measured was the best path forward. “Parallax’s focus on metrics and strategic insights seemed invaluable, and tactically it was going to directly solve our resource and forecasting problems,” said McPhail.
What drew Imarc to Parallax was that it’s far more than an allocation tool; it’s a resourcing and forecasting solution that helped them understand capacity and other important metrics. It also allowed the Imarc team to continue using the tools they already had and valued by integrating with existing systems.
Another major benefit of working with Parallax was access to its customer experience team and industry experts. “With Parallax, I’m getting some really established consultants in my field who have a broad amount of insight,” said McPhail. “They’ve coached me on tangential things outside the tool itself, like agency management best practices and how to interpret certain numbers.”
- Improved resource planning: Parallax enables long term capacity planning in Imarc’s quarterly planning through sales pipeline data to create a prospective view and ongoing active in-flight project resourcing. The longer term planning has improved leadership’s visibility into the high level resource capacity over time.
- Increased utilization: Every week, they go into Parallax to monitor utilization and see where the gaps are compared to what’s in the pipeline so they can right-size workloads as needed, which has improved Imarc’s utilization rates. Scenario planning is also easier with Parallax. “If a client needs 100 more hours, I can go in, look at the projects, and know pretty quickly if 100 hours is easy to accommodate or not based on the overall size of the project, cost rate of the individuals, and capacity,” said McPhail.
- Revenue forecasting, 3% planned to actual variance: Once their confidence in the tool grew, they started using Parallax to forecast revenue, looking months ahead of actuals compared to projections. “From the beginning of 2023 until now, we’ve been seeing a 3% variance from planned to actual revenue from Parallax’s forecasting insights, which is pretty amazing,” said McPhail.
- Confident decision-making: Parallax gives Imarc leaders more confidence in the data they’re seeing and the decisions they need to make. They know the metrics they’re seeing in the tool are telling a true story, accounting for both secured and in-pipeline work, allowing them to be more proactive versus reactive.
“The confidence we now have when we look at the pipeline and past business performance compared to work in hand, has allowed us to get ahead of things. We were previously extremely reactive in terms of capacity. Now, we see things coming, can make proactive decisions, and have been more profitable as a result.”
What’s next for Imarc?
Looking ahead, the Imarc team is focused on improving project health and addressing variance. They’re planning to leverage Parallax insights to see what’s happening on projects and easily answer the “why’s” if something is heading in an unexpected direction.