This is an interview with Fred Akuffo, Co-founder of Olivehorse, and long time Azendoo user. He shares his how he and his team use Azendoo to manage their projects and clients with increased visibility, and cut email internal email usage.
Could you tell us about you and you company?
Olivehorse is a supply chain planning consultancy. We help our customers to realize value from their SAP investments. Our skill set is in integrated business planning and optimisation across complex global networks.
Founded in 2012 , our team has built a strong track record starting from the big 6 consultancies. We have a growing client base through referrals, direct sales and repeat business. Our service offerings help customers set direction, maximize value and mitigate risk across their SAP supply chain initiatives. We are also an SAP partner.
How did you manage your workflow before using Azendoo?
We are constantly on the move, travelling to clients, meetings and engagements. Our leadership meets at least once every month. This means we rely on solutions to that allow us to keep in touch, stay updated, informed, share ideas, manage work and track progress.
Before Azendoo we relied solely on email and Box. However we needed a solution that really helped us to track tasks. We reviewed a number of alternatives and eventually chose Azendoo.
How did you first hear about Azendoo? Why did you choose Azendoo?
Our IT director suggested Azendoo from web searching various propositions. The winning feature for Azendoo was the ability to follow tasks. This is useful as it was the closest we could get to assigning one task to multiple people.
We also liked the logic and flexibility of Workspaces and Subjects together with the authorization controls that can be applied at each level. Because sometimes, in a business like ours, we need multiple people reading a specific document; and we haven’t got time to create tasks for everyone.
We would rather have one task, assigned to seven people and say “tell us when you are finished”. So people come in and comment: “I’m done” or “I got this query”. It brings it out to the open, the discussion then becomes a wide discussion amongst a group, which is visible to everybody.
Because obviously you could get lost in email but here you can just come to your one place and see everything that’s happening with that task.
Why did you feel Azendoo was right for you?
We needed a cloud based task management tool readily available on phone, tablet and laptop formats. All tools meet this criteria in today’s environment however Azendoo offers a flexible way to manage within our business.
We use Workspaces by business functional area, allowing each director to manage activity and provide status updates from an operational and practice management perspective.
For internal capability projects, we create the project as a Workspace and align the work breakdown structure using Subjects. For bids and customer demo’s we follow the same principle.
Clients require visibility and will tend to use their own tools for project tracking. Therefore from an Olivehorse perspective we will create a Workspace for the client project and use Subjects to list key project deliverables that are the responsibility of Olivehorse resources. We then use this to track any critical issues by setting up a RAG status, in the form of Subjects (Red, Amber, Green – traffic light alerts).
This is possible because a task can be linked to multiple Subjects, so it allows us to then create that mix of tags to pull information and we report on that and track and monitor on that weekly. I think it’s fantastic because if there is an update in any one of our areas that we lead we just put the update on there.
We found the voting mechanism quite useful for taking decisions within the leadership team as well. And then as well as that obviously it links into Evernote and Box which are our two key repositories, so that’s hugely beneficial. We are happy with the tool and the team behind Azendoo are continuously evolving the solution with new functionality.
How did you implement Azendoo in your company?
Actual implementation was very straightforward. The key to success is to design how you want to use it from the outset and stick to the process. Breaking away from email was challenging for some however we now focus on using Azendoo for all status updates and task progress.
We still use email however I would say 70% of my email flow has an external context. In company discussions are largely Azendoo based and I encourage this. I don’t believe we can hit a 100% incompany discussion level on Azendoo only however if we make that a goal it forces us to think when we are about to send an email.
What are the results of implementing Azendoo in your company?
Because previously to that we weren’t using any system, we were based on email so from a productivity perspective it has helped us a lot to allocate, project manage, and keep a track on tasks.
That’s the one big boost we noted. And also, more interestingly, it is a way to keep people accountable. In our business we keep each of ourselves accountable for things that are not done, and of course we congratulate the things that do get done.
Because if it’s on Azendoo and you haven’t seen it then you haven’t been logging on and you haven’t been active and participating, so that’s quite easy to see. From an accountability perspective and a traceability perspective it was fantastic. It helps us to organise our work, and gives us better visibility.