Our customer for this chapter is a mid-sized professional services company, with several hundred consultants who work on projects at various large corporate clients. Most of the work they do is on a time and materials basis, with every consultant keeping careful track of the hours he or she has spent working on a project and submitting detailed weekly timesheets.
The customer's timesheet system was developed in-house several years ago, and the primary issue with the system is that it has no flexible reporting features. To work around this problem, they have developed some ad-hoc solutions to connect to the application's database and query the information. The business operations team is using several complex Excel spreadsheets that run queries against the database and supplements this information with manually captured information such as forecasts. Some of the project managers have also built queries to manage the hours that consultants are billing against their largest projects.
This has led to the following problems: