How Mojo Sense Came To Be

written by Tony Gray

Have you ever worked somewhere that uses Excel worksheets for everything? Did you ever struggle to find the correct worksheet for a specific process, tirelessly searching through file shares, or maybe even trying to find these excel files in layers deep of folder structures?

 

No matter what organisation (big or small), we have seen many times that there is some sort of process or logging system kept in Excel sheets (Some are even macro driven!). Don’t get me wrong, Excel is an amazingly adaptive tool and can be used for almost anything, however, there may be some instances (or a lot of instances!) where it’s a “death by Excel” scenario, especially when multiple people are involved in entering data into a single sheet.

 

This is exactly what happened when a large Queensland government department came to us and asked if there was any better way they could use Excel when forecasting and capturing their project costs. The question initially was “How can we build a better way to utilise this Gigantic Excel spreadsheet and share it out to all our project managers?”

 

Coming in as a vendor it would be remissive not to ask “Well, what is the actual problem you are trying to solve here?”, What is the bigger picture?

 

It turns out, the reporting team would send out a whole bunch of spreadsheets each month (eeeeek!) and ask each Project Manager to forecast out their costs for the next few months, once the PMs would do this, they would then email back the completed spreadsheet. This of course would then be collated by someone in the reporting team into 1 master spreadsheet for further reporting. Sound familiar? This process would obviously (and for good reason) take a few days to perform, compounded by tight reporting deadlines, this proved to be a very inefficient process!

 

After the initial problem statement, Mojo Soup went through a detailed design process, making sure to document all the required user stories and proposed a solution which utilised the departments existing investments in M365 and SharePoint in particular. It was here that the very first iteration of the Budgeting and Forecasting (BaF) portal came to fruition. The portal now allowed Project Managers to input their ongoing project forecast costs in an easy way without having to open a cumbersome spreadsheet and the BaF portal would automatically centralise all the data automatically for the reporting team! Winner, winner chicken dinner! Not only that, the initial version of the BaF portal, allowed the finance team to:

  • Input project level budget data,
  • Allowed the PMs to forecast not only their project costs but their specific ongoing labour costs
  • Allowed the PMs to see how much spend the project had incurred to date (This occurred through an integration between their finance system into the BaF)

 

Therefore, at a glance, Directors, Program Managers, PMs and anyone else who has access to view finance information on a project could now see how much their project has spent to date and compare that against what they had originally forecasted! On top of that, they could also see how they were tracking against the approved budget of the project.

 

This initial solution was extremely well received from the business and paved the way for Mojo Soup to constantly evolve this solution to encapsulate some other key functions that formed part of the specific BaF solution we implemented for this government department.

 

Shortly after we finished off the 10th/11th iteration of the BaF, we thought surely other people are trying to solve the same problem the BaF is trying to solve? Isn’t that the same question that always gets asked when thinking of a product to launch? By this time, we had implemented the BaF for another 3 customers, so we knew this was a sure answer to the problem for a good many of our customers and any other perfect future customers we will encounter.

 

Enter Mojo Sense!!!! The team have been hard at work rebranding and running a campaign to see if this product can help other customers solve the same problems it was initially developed for. Of course, nowadays, we have some other cool features to show-off.

 

 

Mojo Sense is now a one-stop shop to capture Actuals, Forecasts and Budgets but also:

  • Project change requests
  • Summary tab to show the whole of life financials key metrics view
  • Compare variance between forecasted and actuals cost
  • Compare budget and forecast performance
  • Project/Program roll-up
  • Displaying Actual cost transactions broken down into specific line of business cost type categories
  • Scenario analysis

 

Mojo Sense is designed to be either a stand-alone app or it can integrate into your line of business project management system, this could be Project Online, Project accelerator app or our very own Mojo Folio product.

 

Head to our product page for further details!