Founded in downtown Chicago 13 years ago, BlueBolt Solutions is an interactive agency that is more technical than most. With services including security and search, on top of their core web and mobile development expertise, the BlueBolt team have grown into a full-stack digital agency that serves hundreds of clients across the US.
Given all this technical skill, you'd imagine that BlueBolt would be experts in using technology to run their own operations, but until recently, the team was having a hard time leveraging cloud software to propel their business forward.
“Before we found Accelo, we were using five or six different tools, including EBSuite as our CRM, Excel spreadsheets, Sharepoint for team collaboration, MS Project, and QuickBooks to track our sales,” said Jason Lichon, Chief Solutions Officer at BlueBolt. On top of this, they also had separate tools for tracking time and quoting, and with invoicing done manually in yet another system, Jason knew that as a tech company they needed a better system to handle business processes.
Unsurprisingly, all of this fragmentation and manual work meant a lot of time wasted - in fact, it became so hard to stay on top of it all, that BlueBolt had to hire a team member just to track time because the technology they had was so redundant!
“Before Accelo, we had no way of capturing time or converting it into an invoice, so we had to hire someone to collect timesheet entries from one system, and move them into our PSA that we were using at the time. That itself was a full-time job,” said Jason. “But since implementing Accelo, that person has been able to move on to become a project manager! They can finally do work that is not mind-numbing, and that is more valuable to the company.”
Operating in The Cloud
Once BlueBolt was up and running with Accelo, they quickly realized that it was much more than just your average time tracking tool - it was an intelligent and customizable system that could manage all of their client work, in one place.
After implementing Accelo, BlueBolt:
- Increased revenue by 60% (and are still growing strongly)
- Increased productivity among the team by 25%
- Increased billable hours per person, per week, by 15%
- Doubled their team and client base
- Saved three hours, per person, per day with automation
- Saved a week each month with Accelo’s retainer management
Reaping the Rewards
While increasing revenue, utilization, and productivity were all celebrated results achieved with one automated platform, it was Accelo’s transparent Client Portal that had the biggest impact on client service at BlueBolt. Jason said, “the ability to give our customers a view into the work we do for them was by far the most valuable benefit to us.”
Along with this company-wide transparency into client communications, BlueBolt have been able to streamline their support process with Accelo’s automated triggers. According to Jason, “when a client emails BlueBolt with a support request, that email is now automatically rerouted to the appropriate people or team, meaning that issue can be resolved in record time and we form a better relationship with the client.”
Like many agencies, BlueBolt knew that engaging their best clients on an ongoing basis was the key to their financial success. Unfortunately, like most agencies running a "project management" model, the upkeep of this critical ongoing service was manual and slower than it needed to be, tracking things with spreadsheets and relying on managers to define tasks manually every single month.
“At BlueBolt Solutions, each client was so different that we’d have to manually figure out how many hours each project would take and how many hours needed to be billed for, every time we brought in new business. But with Accelo’s retainers, we can easily do that just by configuring our saved templates. That itself has saved us more than 40 hours of admin work each month,” said Jason.
“Accelo’s ability to ship work out the door, notify us of client requests, and update our team in real-time has without a doubt got us to where we are today.”