Case Study

How DRA Went From Manual to Automated, Saving Hours Every Week, and Gaining Time Sheet Compliance

                    Industry: Engineering Consulting
                    Region: Australia & Worldwide
                    Website: www.draglobal.com

DRA Global needed more visibility and control over their global project costs. Upland PSA not only saved time and money, it increased team collaboration and enhanced decision-making.

The Challenge

DRA Global (“DRA”) is a diversified global engineering, project delivery and operations management group headquartered in Perth, Australia. With more than 4,500 staff, located in 17 offices across the globe and delivering in excess of 150 projects a year, managing associated financials had become inefficient and cumbersome. Calculating monthly remuneration for employees, reimbursing their expenses incurred, managing project costs, invoicing customers, planning and responding to bids for future projects, as well as budgeting and forecasting, were all reliant on various systems of recording and approving hours. Some of these systems were manual. Additionally, to bill clients, as well as obtain a measure of global visibility, information from the disparate systems had to be captured and consolidated manually.

Given the business-critical nature of these activities, DRA began to look for a single-platform timesheet management solution that could be used across all geographical locations. It therefore needed to cater for regionspecific public holidays, working hours, and taxes, as well as provide timely input to analytics and reporting, to aid decision-making. And it had to be configurable to DRA’s way of structuring projects as well as their approval process.

DRA’s vision was also longer term. They wanted to be able to scale and evolve the solution as the organization grew, and to play a role in any product enhancements made by the vendor. Sarel Dercksen was one of the key stakeholders involved in finding the solution: “Integration was key. We wanted to integrate with our HR application and ERP to automatically update users and projects, and with our reporting data warehouse to get a near real-time view of project costs, as well as feed that information directly into our payroll application.”

“As our strategic partner, Upland has been instrumental in bringing our services to a new level of organizational efficiency, supporting our continued, rapid growth. Our businesses are now unified in one global model: we no longer have 10 different spreadsheets but one single view, which saves hours every month.”
—Martin Coetsee, IS Executive at DRA Global

Upland PSA – A Perfect Fit

The Timesheets and Expenses functionality of Upland PSA was rolled out in 2017, chosen for its perfect fit with DRA’s requirements. It integrates fully with their payroll solutions, HR master data, project master data in their ERP, and with their reporting platform, providing efficient data transfer between the systems. It centralizes, automates and standardizes information catpure needed to manage their revenue. And it matches with DRA Global’s existing organizational structure and reporting process.

Starting with four timesheet templates, the company has since increased the number to 12, with rules that take into account differences in the regions in which they operate, as well as different approval routings. Expense claims are also now able to manage local fiscal frameworks. All these costs are booked against specific project tasks for profitability tracking and chargebacks.

Automatic reminders keep both employees and approvers in line with the accounting calendar. Out-ofoffice functionality ensures approvals are not delayed when a manager is unavailable. Flexible controls enable accounting officers to close timesheet periods once information has been extracted for payroll, but still make adjustments on prior periods.

Additionally, the information feeds ongoing reporting and analytics, and project costing for sales efforts.

One Gain Leads to Another

Upland PSA has not only made time and expense capture and approval quick and convenient for its users, it has enabled DRA to standardize processes and business practices company-wide. This, in turn, has led to increased productivity and accuracy, which results in cost savings. As Upland’s solution is cloud-based, DRA has also saved on hardware.

Most importantly, DRA has improved governance and control, as well as increased accountability. The integrated nature of the Upland PSA solution has also led to increased collaboration between departments and workforces.

With improved consistency and accuracy in information, DRA’s analytical and reporting capability has been enhanced, bringing it to near real-time availability. Potential project overruns and problems can be identified sooner, decisions can be taken faster, and risk is reduced. Upland Analytics has enabled them to obtain a lot more information to aid in decision-making.

“Upland PSA is innovating constantly, bringing new features and capabilities. As well as the addition of the analytics since we first rolled out, we’re now looking at bringing in resource management, which we’re currently managing on spreadsheet for our consultants.”
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