Southern States Cooperative Success Story

“With Clarizen, we can quickly sort through active projects and get the status or keep tabs on upcoming projects without having to go through multiple emails and phone calls asking for everyone’s updates. All the data is in Clarizen and we are able to run some pretty amazing reports… … It’s truly saving us a lot of time!”

Shel Hankley
Information System Analyst
Southern States

Company overview

Southern States Cooperative is an agricultural cooperative, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. The co-op supplies seeds, feeds, fertilizer, farm supplies, petroleum, and crop protection products through 1200 retail locations in 23 Southern and Mid-Atlantic states. As one of the nation’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives, Southern States has been providing expert advice and unparalleled service and products since 1923.

The challenge

When Shel Hankley, the company’s Information System Analyst first joined SSC, her primary task was to replace the company’s existing project management solution. At the time, there was no universal system in place for project planning: while some employees were using Microman Legacy Software, running on an outdated DOS platform, others were simply sending spreadsheets and emails back and forth. With multiple, disparate systems housing information, the chief business objective became finding a solution to connect all of this data in one central environment. Hankley hoped to find a project management SaaS tool that would allow her team to track projects, resources, and timesheets, while providing a readily available global view for the management team to improve reporting and planning. Hankley consulted various Linkedin Project Management groups and, based on suggestions from users, began researching, demoing and evaluating 15 different solutions. The process of evaluation took three months, culminating in a list of five potential tools, including Clarizen.

Requirements

  • A solution to connect all of their project data in one central environment
  • A powerful reporting module to provide overall visibility into project performance
  • The ability to view progress, share data, and collaborate in real-time

Why Clarizen

  • Ease of use, flexibility, customization features
  • Strong price/performance
  • The exceptional level of service and the resources available via Clarizen Support and Clarizen Community

The solution

SSC chose Clarizen project management SaaS for its ease of use, flexibility, customization features, and price. Additionally, Hankley credits the Clarizen sales team as being one of the main contributors to the decision to implement Clarizen, explaining, “Our account manager truly went above and beyond. He was always responsive, extremely helpful, and very knowledgeable. Throughout the process he made every effort to understand our needs and ensure that Clarizen would meet those needs.”

The benefits of Clarizen were immediately clear to the Information Systems team and after only a few months, they decided to triple the number of employees using Clarizen. Because there is one central environment that holds all of their data, Hankley and the team are better able to share and collaborate in real time and run various reports and fill out timesheets instantaneously, saving everyone time. Ultimately, this will help to transform the ability to provide progress updates throughout the business to ensure open lines of communication between IS and the business users. VP of Information Systems, Karen Thomas explains, “Clarizen has now enabled our Information Systems Development teams to use one platform to input, record, and track projects which results in the ability to produce reports and statistics quickly for our team. This is taking a number of manual steps out of the process for the management group resulting in better reporting from the IS team to the Executive Team. And, with the Excel Add-In, the flexible reporting and pivot tables are making it possible to quickly identify trouble spots and summarize resource requirements quickly.”

For SSC, the ability to collaborate in real time and easily view and share the overall project plan with the Roadmap feature have been extremely helpful. Furthermore, it was very important for the management team to have the ability to see a high level view of progress across various teams and multiple projects. “With Clarizen, we can quickly sort through active projects and get the status or keep tabs on upcoming projects without having to go through multiple emails and phone calls asking for everyone’s updates. All the data is in Clarizen and we are able to run some pretty amazing reports off of it.” Thomas adds, “Implementing Clarizen is a critical part of our operation now and we expect to continue to leverage its flexibility. As VP of Information Systems, it’s critical that I understand and have visibility to the projects in the queue and identify resource constraints. Clarizen is helping us do just that.”

Hankley credits the ability to quickly be up and running on Clarizen project management SaaS to the daily introductory, intermediate, and advanced webinars, video tutorials, and Clarizen Wiki manual. “The forums on the Clarizen Community were the most helpful! Not only were my questions answered by the Clarizen CSM’s, but I was also able to make some friends who were able to help me offline. There are other Clarizen users who have been using the tool for much longer than I have and I was able to send them emails whenever I had quick questions. It’s a great community!”

Results

  • “With Clarizen, we can quickly sort through active projects and get the status or keep tabs on upcoming projects without having to go through multiple emails and phone calls asking for everyone’s updates. All the data is in Clarizen and we are able to run some pretty amazing reports. Clarizen is saving us a lot of time!”

Fast Facts

INDUSTRY:
Agriculture

LOCATION:
Virginia, USA

PREVIOUS SOLUTION:
Microman Legacy Software, Excel Spreadsheets, Email

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