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How this Consulting Firm Doubled with the help of WORK[etc] & Google Cloud

This financial consulting firm doubled their business in part helped by embedding their business processes into G Suite and the WORK[etc] Gmail Gadget.  Find out how you can put this system into play within your own business.

Company

blue_waterBluewater Transaction Advisors is a national forensic due diligence firm that performs collateral based field exams for lending institutions  . Bluewater provides deep-dive audit services to companies that value a comprehensive look at their overall financial picture, using real-time data.   The firm has grown from a one-person operation to a nationally recognized due diligence firm with a staff of over 25,   serving international, national, and regional commercial borrowers and lenders from offices all over the United States.

Challenges

Before finding WORKetc, Bluewater was using Outlook to manage contacts, and different time and project management software. Only the time management solution was cloud based, and using multiple programs was inefficient for Bluewater, especially in a period of company growth.

Bluewater began looking for another solution, and it soon became clear that they needed a solution with CRM, time management, and project management, all in one package.

“Our people are remote and work on site with clients,” says Bowles, “So it’s important for them to have access to the cloud, and we wanted them to have a solution with multiple ways for them to gather information about a client or a project.”

The company looked at a popular enterprise CRM SaaS offering, which according to Bowles was great for contacts, but too expensive for Bluewater and didn’t offer the project management functionality that Bluewater needed. The company also tried using different project management solutions that were light on CRM. None of these potential solutions were quite right for Bluewater’s business needs.

Solution

WORK[etc] was the solution Bluewater found that not only offered time, project, and contact management in one package, but was much more reasonably priced than other software with similar all-in-one functionality.

“We found WORK[etc] during due diligence when looking for a project-based solution we could grow with,” said Robert W. Bowles, founder and executive director of Bluewater. “We knew that we would be able to grow with WORK[etc].”

Bluewater began using WORK[etc] in 2009, and soon added G Suite to their business process. Bluewater uses Gmail for all communications, Google Drive to store all files, and Calendar Contacts and Groups to manage contacts. So when WORK[etc] rolled out

WORK[etc] for G Suite in 2012, Bluewater started using it almost immediately, and found that it greatly improved their existing process.

“We are a project-based firm that works on a lot of individual projects,” says Bowles. “We have all of our history archived, and we refer to our past projects on a regular basis. Having them organized the way WORK[etc] and G Suite does it is very beneficial to us.”

WORK[etc] for G Suite allows users to access an entire suite of business management and CRM tools inside of Google apps, and also allows users to access G Suite from inside the WORK[etc] interface.

Features include:

  • a Gmail widget that turns any email into a support ticket, a sales lead, or a project update
  • the ability to access any file in Google Drive directly from WORK[etc], and any WORK[etc] file directly from Google Drive
  • Syncing Google Calendar with WORK[etc] calendar
  • Syncing Google Contacts with WORK[etc] contacts with conflict resolution, and custom fields.

“We love that we can customize fields in these projects in WORK[etc],” says Bowles. “With the custom fields in WORK[etc], we can link Google Drive files into fields in WORK[etc]. Our employees go to one place and have links to exactly what files they need in Google Drive for the current project. For us, that’s a huge benefit, something I would recommend to any small business doing something similar to what we are doing.”

The WORK[etc] Gmail integration is especially useful to Bluewater, since Bluewater uses Gmail and Google Drive for all communication and file storage. The WORK[etc] Gmail Gadget for G Suite is a widget that appears at the bottom of every email in Gmail. It allows users to manage their business without ever leaving their inbox.

Users can simply select any email inside Gmail and instantly update a sales lead, create a new project or assign a support case. Bluewater uses the Gmail Gadget for tasks such as archiving correspondence with a WORK[etc] project, and archiving a contact conversation within a sales lead thread.

Results

WORK[etc] for G Suite and G Suite itself have allowed Bluewater Transaction Advisors to streamline their business processes, providing the foundation for Bluewater to grow exponentially.

Bluewater found that in many ways these solutions not only met, but performed well above expectations.

“The project management side of WORK[etc] was something we were excited about because we didn’t have that as part of our current process,” says Bowles. “It exceeded our expectations. Being able to link the time spent to project management and manage it in WORK[etc] was exciting for us and really helped us scale our business.”

Bluewater used its new and more efficient business processes to help expand their business by 100 percent over the course of two years, bringing new talent into the firm and acquiring more clients.

“From 2009 to 2012 we doubled the size of the firm, and the implementation of the WORK[etc] cloud-based solution was a very important part of us being able to grow the company like that,” says Bowles. “We put individuals in Dallas, Charlotte, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other cities out West.”

According to Bowles, the firm has seen a steady 10 to 15 percent growth from 2012 to the present, and he believes one of the major contributing factors is that WORK[etc] and G Suite have been integrated so thoroughly into the culture of Bluewater.

With WORK[etc] for G Suite and G Suite’s apps supporting Bluewater, the firm will have the resources it needs to grow and serve its customers well into the future.

 

We are a project-based firm that works on a lot of individual projects. We have all of our history archived, and we refer to our past projects on a regular basis. Having them organized the way WORKetc does it is very beneficial to us.

— Robert W. Bowles, Founder, Executive Director ~ Bluewater Transaction Advisors LLC

Bluewater Transaction Advisors LLC

What they needed

To find an integrated time, contact, and project management solution that would allow their agents to access all the client and project information they needed all in one place.

What they did

Implemented Gmail, Google Drive, and WORKetc for G Suite for an all-in-one cloud-based solution.

What they achieved

Scaled up the company and doubled the size of the business within three years.  Read how other Management Consultants use WORK[etc].

“One particular problem we had was with proper allocation of time,” says Bowles. “We bill by the hour. If you can’t effectively figure out how many hours you need to bill for, you’re going to leave a lot of money on the table. WORKetc made us scalable. We could grow our business and not lose track of our billable hours.”

About WORK[etc] for G Suite

WORK[etc] for G Suite allows users to access the entire set of WORK[etc] business management and CRM tools inside of Google apps, and also allows users to access G Suite from inside the WORK[etc] interface.

  • Turn any email into a support ticket, a sales lead, or project update with the Gmail widget
  • Access any file in Google Drive directly from WORK[etc]
  • Sync Google Calendar with WORK[etc] calendar
  • Sync Google Contacts with WORK[etc] contacts with conflict resolution

To try out WORK[etc] for G Suite, visit the G Suite Marketplace

  • Michael

    This is a great success story! I have looked at G Suite and demoed it and even spent sometime testing my demo with WorkEtc. I think I will take another look – but I resist the move to G Suite because of our already long history with Office 365. I don’t think the migration would be easy or pretty. I would love it if WorkEtc could do the same kind of collaboration with Office 365 as they have done this wonderful collaboration with G Suite. If they had both – wow – unstoppable!

    • William Mullane

      Michael, you are completely correct…not easy or pretty to move from MS to Google environment. You will face some serious “change management” issues. Google seems like the wild west to folks who are used to MS/outlook. On my small team of 10 consultants, I have 2 who will cease to use Outlook when it is pried from their cold dead hands.

      • Michael

        That’s too funny. I face the same thing here only that the majority are the MS/Outlook lovers!

        • And from WORK[etc]’s perspective, maintaining the Add-in for Outlook is at a minimum 10x more difficult and time consuming than building and managing our Gmail Add-in. Part of this is desktop vs cloud deployments but it is painful enough for us to really think long and hard about building for Office365.

          • Michael

            That would be great! Office365 is definitely the future for Microsoft!

  • This is such an inspiration. As a service firm looking to grow our reach into multiple states with remote workers and contractors, it’s great to see we have such a great tool to make this growth easier. Even though we are a very Apple focused company, the G Suite suite has absolutely become an important aspect of our workflow. There is simply nothing better then the G Suite / WorkETC combo. Congrats to Bluewater and WorkETC.

  • Brittany McClure Thompson

    This was a great read! I am really loving all the new videos you guys have been putting out! They are awesome! Seeing really is believing.

  • William Mullane

    I loved this post. Bluewater’s story tracks pretty closely to ours. I am not only going to share this with the outside world but also with our team of consultants – some of whom are not yet completely on board with the transition to WORKetc/Gapps.

  • Kevin Keeney

    I can relate with Bluewater as I was in the same boat as they were using multiple solutions for our daily operations. The only thing is that we use Office365 as opposed to G Suite, so I’ll be checking feature suggestions shortly.

    • Thanks Kevin – we are considering Office365 and have even produced a draft scope. But we’re still researching how many Office365 customers we have within WORK[etc] and then how/if there are opportunities to promote a WORK[etc] plugin within the Office365 ecosystem.

  • Thomas Lawler

    Very relatable with the problems we were having before Work[etc.]. Having everyone in the same environment / application has been a blessing! We have also transitioned some of our version controlled documents into google apps, which has been successful.

  • Tony T

    I saw similarities to these issues at my last company. We attempted to use outlook paired with some of Microsoft’s other tools and it could be a cluster switching between applications. Having one solution that can tackle many functions like Work etc. makes life much easier.

  • Jonathan Hickman

    We use Work[Etc] for all of our contacts now. It really helps having all customer information in the same place. The custom fields also help us keep and track information that would not be available in systems such as Outlook (even if the contacts were shared across the entire company.)

  • David Jones

    We consolidated 3 separate systems with integration challenges into one implementation of WorkEtc. Our teams are now more integrated than ever. I love being able to turn an email into a support ticket easily with the G Suite integration.

  • Steven Kennedy

    Wish I could do the same with drop box, but still love how easy it is to use.

  • David McGarry

    We use Office 365 which works really well with the add-ons enabled for each office application. I personally would prefer to use the G Suite but we are also PC orientated in our offices. I think if we moved over to OSX for more developers we would definitely think about ditching office and going down the Google route. It’s good to know that, if we do decide to do this, the integration is so well implemented.

  • Jason Royals

    The integration of WORK [etc] with G Suite is a superb endeavor. If you like the workflow of G Suite and use it on a daily basis, it’s now easy to integrate your software tools and increase productivity. It’s when you are using G Suite and storing files in the cloud that interests me the most. Always a point and click away from getting the job done. Syncing my calendars has made this pretty awesome too. Great job Bluewater! Daniel thinking outside of the box again. Innovation at it’s best.

  • Integration of work[etc] was probably the best thing! I use google for everything and the apps just make it that much more better. Keep up the good work! I always look forward to the work[etc] email blasts when new features are coming out!

  • 8Wells

    My 7 day trial was an absolute delight but in the end I have had to walk away for two reasons: (1) starting with the least, my clients in professional services love Basecamp particularly because of its simple UI and I am not brave enough to take on the change management issues; and (2) the most important, Worketc doesn’t have integration to MS Office it has achieved with Google and my clients went wild-eyed at the thought of having to continue with distributed authoring on Google because in the end they spend hours of valuable time re-formatting extremely long and media rich documents back in MS Word to overcome the limitations of Google’s word processor.

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