The Learning Wave

ROLL User: Matt Koenen, Operations Manager
The Business: The Learning Wave
Industry: Training, Coaching
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Who are The Learning Wave?

We are a learning solutions company that works with businesses across New Zealand to develop their leaders, address literacy at work, and improve business performance.

We engage and empower people to perform better through our learning programs, group workshops, online learning, coaching and consulting.

What makes you different?

First off, it’s our people. We are super passionate about what we do and genuinely make a difference.

Next, it’s our approach. When we’re delivering a program or one-on-one coaching, or implementing a big project framework, it’s all for the purpose of engaging and empowering people and challenging them to perform better.

Life before ROLL

We were relying on Excel and Xero to manage all of the moving parts of our business.

We have over 100 projects live at any one time, and each project has its own revenue coming in and expenses going out at different times.

Our challenge was to be able to look at the coming months and be able to see how these projects would perform, both individually and in aggregate.

We didn’t have all the information in the same place. Each project has financial information, contacts, documents, tasks, invoices, and more. We were using a series of spreadsheets in Excel, all linked up, to track our different projects and cashflows, and these were getting really messy and complicated. Each project lived in its own ecosystem, and it was really hard to predict what money would be coming in and going out from month to month. We knew we needed to streamline.

Other software tried/tested

We tried a few different applications, including some Gantt chart style project management software.

We trialed WorkflowMax but didn’t end up loading all of our projects into it because we struggled with the user experience. It didn’t fit with the way we do business and wasn’t structured the way we needed it.

We used to use Microsoft Dynamics to manage our projects, but we found that we were designing business practices, such as data entry and stages of a project, around the prescriptive nature of the software. Funnily enough, once we stopped using it, we started acting differently. The tool was affecting how we operated, rather than fitting in with how we wanted to perform as a business. We’ve found ROLL shifts the control back to us, supporting us to run our projects instead of adding more to admin!

What has ROLL done for your business?
With ROLL we have much better visibility over our business, and we now have far more confidence in our ability to forecast. Our project managers can be responsible for their individual projects in a way that makes sense, while the business has an aggregate picture of our financials – including future revenue and costs.

Project managers can look at just the information relevant to them without it getting messy, without other data getting in the way. Because ROLL is so user-friendly and simple, it’s much easier for them to make sense of the detail, without losing sight of the big picture. In terms of user experience, ROLL has got the basics structured right.

ROLL absolutely nailed the stuff around project financial tracking. With so many projects on the go at any one time, we can now look at each particular project and see what money is coming in and going out for each one. We can look at the details at this level, as well as looking at the expenses and revenue for the business overall – and have it all connected to our financials in Xero.

Only ROLL could do this for us – help us look at details for of each project while also giving us the ability to have a big picture view of the business as a whole. It gives us an indication at a glance at where things are sitting, and how projects are contributing.

How has ROLL added value?

Over the past eight months of using ROLL, we’ve seen differences in the visibility and accuracy in our business. We can see what’s going on more clearly now than before.

Some processes that took days now take minutes! And now that information is all kept in one place, we are far less exposed to incorrect information, or things being forgotten.

Time tracking has been really interesting. We were previously tracking time in Excel, but not doing it thoroughly. We had the concept in place, but hadn’t nailed it in practice. We weren’t actually capturing the true value of a project. ROLL helps us see our projects differently, quite easily and more accurately. Time tracking in ROLL also helps us work more in the moment, being more present and mindful, which are all important practices that we teach in our industry.

ROLL helps us stay aligned with why we do what we do.

We didn’t actively seek out a supplier who also challenged the way things were being done in the past, but it worked out that way because ROLL is different. The bigger software companies aren’t necessarily challenging existing approaches; they just build products on top of other products.
Two standout benefits
  1. ROLL is easy to navigate and quickly find information about projects; it is super useful if you have a heap of projects on the go at once!
  2. The Xero integration has saved us from countless hours of data entry.
If you were to sum up ROLL in one sentence... what would that be?
“It’s probably the easiest way to keep track of projects we’ve ever seen!”