Journyx, a provider of Web-based time tracking and project accounting applications, has released a stripped-down version of some of this functionality for the consulting industry.
Called the “Customer Cost Tracker,” the Software as a Service (SaaS) tool’s primary purpose is to help consulting and other service-based organizations understand the costs of servicing their customers.
The application is based around a central repository for labor costs and expenses. Users can track time and expenses by customer, project or activity. Reporting tools in the application allow users to compare actual costs to estimated costs and billing per customer.
There are a number of time and billing management applications on the market, CEO Curt Finch noted. “What we are doing differently is providing a version of time management that is tightly focused for the consulting industry.”
Journyx, of course, is following the tried-and-true strategy of rolling out vertical functionality to increase market share. Loath to customize software, most firms welcome this level of out-of-the-box tailoring. The customization is particularly important for the constituency at which Cost Tracker is aimed.
Outside of the Deloitte Touches and Price WaterhouseCoopers, consultants tend to be small and mid-sized shops with scarce internal IT resources. They also tend to travel a great deal, often overseas, and find it easier to keep track of hours via a SaaS application.
There are no independent figures that estimate the size of this market. However, based on “a lot of surveys with prospects,” Finch told CRM Buyer, “there is likely going to be a high acceptance for this.”
Still, a company that requires other features, such as payroll, would not be an ideal candidate, he acknowledged.
The next vertical Journyx will target is IT shops and IT departments of larger companies, Finch said.
Companies that wish to take this analysis — that is, the cost per customer — one step further and use it to rate customers according to profitability must import the data to Quickbooks. That is an easy task to accomplish, Joyce Durst, founder of Growth Acceleration Partners, told CRM Buyer.
The management consulting firm chose Customer Cost Tracker because it is an online application, relatively inexpensive and makes data entry very easy. To determine a client’s profitability, the company inputs the information from Tracker into Quickbooks. The company then uses data from a third spreadsheet to tack on overhead costs. “That combo gives us everything we need to know about a client,” she said.