Accelo was initially developed as an internal system for a fast-growing professional service, which was struggling to manage sales, projects, service and billing. Find out how, by working with professional service businesses all over the world, our team has refined Accelo to deliver solutions to intractable business challenges.
Accelo was initially developed as an internal business management system for Internetrix, an award-winning web consulting and development agency.
As a fast-growing business with clients and staff spread across Australia and Asia, Internetrix needed a system for managing clients, projects, service, billing, timesheets and staff that was easy to use, automated and flexible enough to deal with projects ranging from hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Existing solutions - such as a package for sales, and then another package for project management, and then yet another package for client service/support, with something different for timesheets and manual offline processes for invoicing - had two major drawbacks.
To solve this problem, we started developing what we later called Accelo as a web-based but independently installed platform for internal use only.
In 2007, an early version of what we were then calling Accelo was licensed successfully to a number of clients, who immediately saw the benefits of having a flexible, scalable and easy-to-use system to manage their business processes.
The NSW Department of Planning is charged with assessing the largest and most economically significant projects in the largest state in Australia. Processing tens of billions of dollars of complex development proposals each year, the Department was previously managing their work and business processes using only spreadsheets after the earlier failure of a multi-million-dollar tracking system implementation. For less than 10% of the cost of the failed system, Accelo was licenced and implemented in the Department over the course of a few months, and has been an outstanding success ever since.
Other early clients ranged from publicly listed finance companies, down to many other smaller clients more firmly in the traditional professional services sector - IT services, recruiting, medical, accounting and the like.
However, after successfully selling Accelo to more than two dozen clients, we realized that the economics of a traditional enterprise sales approach - sales pitches in person, responding to tenders, exhaustive proposal and follow up processes, and then expensive, services led implementations - weren't going to allow us to scale the business. This was because our target sector, professional services, contains mostly small and medium businesses without the deep pockets to afford the expensive up-front licenses and implementation services, and without these high fees, we couldn't afford to sell, implement and support Accelo the way we had been previously.
We needed to make a big change to our business, the product and our sales, licensing and support model.
While the success of working with our initial clients validated our product, we realized we needed to have a very different approach to succeed at scale in a global market selling to small and medium businesses.
As a result, in early 2009, we spun the Accelo product out of Internetrix, into a new company called Hiive Systems. For the first few months we continued on our old sales and marketing track; however, in May 2009 after participating in the CeBIT trade show we realized that a dramatic shift was required.
Between mid-2009 and mid-2010, our team concentrated almost entirely on development, and working with a few trusted alpha users, we gave the product a major overhaul so that it was able to be deployed and configured at scale. We focused on solving the resource scheduling and utilization problem that the market kept telling us was their biggest challenge and frustration, and in September 2010, we entered a private beta phase and started working with select partners to further refine the product.
Then, in late February 2011, we were ready (or as ready as you'll ever be) to go into public beta, allowing direct signups as well as listing in the Google Apps Marketplace.
Within a month, we had signed up clients in over 86 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, Croatia, Mexico and China, as well as Australia.
In August 2011, the company reformed and is now headquartered in the SOMA District of San Francisco.