Cetrus Blog

Improve Your 2018 Margins with Application Use Data

Posted by Erik Hoogerhuis on Nov 27, 2017 5:19:10 PM

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A business truism is that competition and margin pressures increase every year.  AEC firms need to improve the quality and quantity of their project data, to identify ways to stay competitive and increase profits. Let’s face it, to remain an industry leader you need to find innovative and creative ways to reduce costs and improve your business practices. One source of project-related data (that just recently became available) is file-level application and license use information.

It’s hard to fine-tune business processes, and thus raise profitability, with non-existent or imperfect information. Here is one example of how application information helps companies track projects: Services firms usually track project progress by their professionals self-reporting the number of hours worked on a project each day or week.  When, however, the number of simultaneous projects increases, the accuracy of self-reported time goes down. By tracking application use on a project, managers can understand how much time is really spent on each project, compare timesheets with actual use data, improve billing accuracy, determine which projects have the highest profitability, and more.

Application use is a powerful source of quantifiable, project-related information with direct margin impact.  At its most basic, application use reflects the real number of hours invested in project-specific design or engineering software. Further data analysis and its’ surrounding context allows organizations to improve their ability to manage projects efficiently. Other ways application use data can improve project margins and management:

  • Consistent reporting of actual resources spent on a project
  • The ability to charge software use to all projects
  • Comparing productivity of skilled vs relatively unskilled professionals
  • Identifying missed billing opportunities
  • The ability to identify and aggregate smaller time increments

For application and license use data to be effective in these ways, it must be:

  • Application-specific
  • File-level specific (each file’s use must be associated to a project)
  • Available for both desktop and compute-intensive applications
  • Able to be gathered for both desk-bound as well as mobile employees such as consultants

Application use information has a wide variety of uses and implications. Reports can be used “stand-alone” for analysis, imported into a project management application for inclusion into its’ reports and analytics, or a combination of both. To improve your project management analytics (and your profitability) you need consistent and quantified information.


You can easily add application or license use information to your project management tools. Take a look at how our Expense-2-Project Plug-in lets you associate use for any Windows-based application.  Send a note to for additional information.


Topics: Insider, Project Management