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Video: 2020 Virtual Conference How to Catch the Wave

July 15, 2020 | By Greg Bailey

Tempus Resource 2020 Virtual Conference Recap: Bryan DeMaria, MUFG Investor Services

We’re grateful to Bryan DeMaria for his detailed presentation and invite you to watch it in full below:


Sixteen months ago, when MUFG Investor Services implemented Tempus Resource, Brian DeMaria, Director of Corporate Planning, already knew why “the wave” mattered for his company’s people and finances. In his presentation at the Tempus Resource 2020 Virtual Conference, Mr. DeMaria honed in on how seasonality—or the waves of business activities and work trendscan be understood for its impact on longevity, productivity, time effectiveness, and cost savings.

Starting with data

Mr. DeMaria recounted MUFG’s adoption of Tempus Resource, which the organization implemented sixteen months ago. With over 50,000 time entries and 800,000 hours of work, MUFG used Tempus to gather vast amounts of data with various analysis techniques.

Their use case included a single business line and four different business titles, and their goals included standardizing processes, automating functions, and drawing closer to clients to improve service. All the while, they monitored KPIs, cost savings, customer satisfaction, and ROI.

DeMaria’s 6-step method

In essence, what MUFG did was follow Mr. DeMaria’s 6-step method for “how to catch the wave.” It begins with gathering data with a system like Tempus and knowing which variables you want to measure. In MUFG’s case, it was HR data—resources’ skills, knowledge, location, rank, exempt/nonexempt status, etc. When collecting data, it’s also crucial to have a clearly defined scope to avoid data paralysis.

The second step is analyzing all your data and mining for useful statistics and facts. Analysis should target “one wave at a time” and avoid taking on too much and risking errors or bad assumptions. Next, with your business and strategy in mind, is choosing your solution. Armed with KPIs and measures for success, it’s time to turn the solution into a project, present the plan to stakeholders, and gain approval and buy-in. For the duration of work, choose a cadence for regular monitoring, comparing plans vs. actuals and using quantitative and qualitative measures. Finally, deciding whether to continue or change course comes in the evaluation phase, where you validate your successes and decide on next steps.

“The wave is always there,” Mr. DeMaria concluded. This method of using Tempus data and reports is one way to achieve results and better serve employees.

Transcript: How to Catch the Wave

Hello everyone.  I am Bryan DeMaria.  I will be presenting on how to catch the wave of business.  

We implemented Tempus 16 months ago.  We did it in a three-month getting into production, you could say.  We use it for several aspects of our business, project management, and we also use it for actual business capabilities and I’m more talking about the business side of it since we have a lot of great presenters today about projects and so forth.  We also use it in the profitability, time usage and related to time usage is “The Wave.”  The wave is the seasonal trend of activities with peaks and valleys, high points and low points, or what most people believe or know it as seasonality.  Me being in North Texas, the closest wave I ever dream of is on the left which is a six hour drive away, but in business it is the one to the right in an ideal form, very easy to know when your high points and low points are.  Why this is important is your people and your money.  Understand the Wave has a large impact.  It can cause a lot of problems, but also if you can understand it and use it well, it gives better longevity to your teams, better productivity, better time effectiveness and from the money side because people will look after that and look at it, if normally salary expense is only 43 percent of your operating expense, so if you have to hire a lot more people, that means your costs go up which causes your finance people to be very sad inside. That being said, the way to handle it is kind of a “how to” in a general sense.  To catch the wave, it’s pretty much this.  You need to gather the right data, you need to analyze it, get solutions based on your business, you need to get action and approval pretty much the action for approval, you need to monitor it and evaluate it in a way to see if it did what needed to be done or do you need to go down another path so it’s successful or do you break it down further and further like any good analysis.  This is just a general guideline.  This isn’t an academic model, this is just trying to help frame around how you can be successful in this endeavor.  

Gathering Data

Since we are talking about Tempus, which is a great tool as I said, for what we use it for, make sure you have a system to gather.  Do not try to do this in Excel to gather hours and so forth.  Know the variables you wish to be measuring, so what I mean is for us we have our HR data in here, the ones that are classified people’s job titles, we can put skills in here, any type of knowledge such as if they’re IT, if they know a certain type of language, those type of variables, if it’s a non-exempt or exempt department, location, ranks.  All these variables you want to make sure you know when you’re trying to figure out seasonality so you can target the right group and also relate to your projects if you are targeting just projects for projects being the IT ones we’ve seen or if we are talking about, in this case, the business, what path they are doing.  So in the financial service industry we have large peaks and after quarters because that’s when financials are usually done do we want to check financial statement prep or when management fees are calculated and so forth so you can manage and gather those variables to use for your analysis to see if that’s what we’re trying to gauge and which ones have that. A very important thing, as everyone probably knows, in project management just like in gathering data, it’s great to gather all the data but have the scope in mind or you will completely crash.  You will eventually not be able to control it, it will get out of control and you’ll be stuck in data paralysis forever.  


When you’re looking at the data think statistics and facts when you’re looking at it.  Think how can you reuse it and have that analysis mindset of what about this, why is this here, what else are we trying to gain from this besides it’s a 400 hours used versus 100 hours and why do you want it to be reusable? Because you’ll probably be running this several times of watching trend data over and over and you don’t want to have to keep rebuilding.  It’s good to be able to put it back in a spreadsheet or AWS or any other tool you’re using such R, SPSS, Excel to make this a repeatable easy process so that you aren’t wasting time.   One thing, you want to make sure the tip is only based on the same scope conversation; make sure you’re only targeting one wave at a time.  You cannot devour the ocean.  You can’t ride every wave.  You won’t have so much time and so your people, to look at all this how much you can actually do within your time.  And also, if you do too much you may make the wrong assumption.  So it’s good to target a group and gain the perspectives from others in the business.  So, even though you gather the data, you use Mann-Kendall, Sen Flow, all these great analytics, you want to also have a conversation with the business to confirm that all your analysis of regression makes sense or is there an anomaly when you ran it, such as; oh they hired 15 people this one month.  That’s why it’s higher.  Or you can do this because they’re going on vacation or something along those lines.  You will not know without being in the business and being there.  It is always nice that you have the ability to use the BI tool.  It makes life easier just like any statistics tool, Minitab, as I said, or R.  Data visualization is so much better than just throwing numbers against anything.  It catches the obvious.      


Kind of restating, you need to know your business, what they’re willing to accept and what they’re not going to accept for solutions when you start building and talking, looking at the data.  If your immediate other idea is that outsourcing or automation is the thing that needs to be done but the business is not ready, or your IT’s not ready, or there’s another solution down the pipeline that’s going on, you need to know what your business is doing for the long and short and in general that if it’s going to be accepted from a culture standpoint and everything before you just start throwing out ideas or trying to achieve them immediately.

Tactical Versus Strategy

You need to understand what you can do now and what can be done later the whole.  Most times seasonality can’t be done overnight definitely for a larger company.  If you’re a small company of 10 people you probably could do some shifting very easily.  If you’re a larger company of 200,000+ people, shifting, changing roles or doing a flex team which is the idea of having so many people work on one client but then you have other people because clients are at different timeframes of their team plus when there’s something to do SLA, you can shift people around.  That could be a large undertaking of people’s lives, businesses, change management and other things.  Also, when you do solutions, make sure you have your key performance indicators, your KPIs and your measure of success and so forth of your solution you’re trying to do and what the measures for business are trying to gain.  If they do not align, then it’s going to be very hard to 1) sell it to them as a solution and 2) to actually gain that benefit that everyone wants and needs and even see the benefit, you don’t have anything.  If you’re just saying this is great and let’s move on, there’s no measure for that success and you pretty much won’t be able to say you achieved as much as you did.


The last one is turn it into a project because there will be a project in every sense.  If process improvement, there are other solutions out there.  All these would be projects in every sense.   They would have change management; you would have several teams possibly involved depending on the solution.  You would have to have good governance, a good plan resourcing items inside of it, so it’s good to project it, otherwise it will keep moving out just like with scope creep and the timeframe and eventually people will lose faith in it and your hard work of analysis will disappear, which no one would like.  


Every company is a little different but the general tip is you want to present your idea in some form with its options to your stakeholders and groups unless you are the stakeholder itself.  If you have autonomous power then just get agreement and move on, but most times someone else is looking at it strategically and finding this opportunity you need to present it, you need to get that buy-in from your team, their team, the business, everyone else to make sure everyone has the same understanding of it and the next piece is have ownership and accountabilities throughout the action because, as I said, a project is a project.  In general every company is different, I said, kind of generalized steps, which I think are very important.  Have some type of business case or item which pretty much states the benefits why you’re doing it, what can be achieved, cost savings and so forth and so on as I have stated.  You need to present and have a presentation and you need to hit the value targets of the business and so forth.  You need to have them have full agreement so if the business doesn’t agree, then they’ll always be fighting against you and so with the people you want to have them agree to the solution, the return on investment.  You want to have them pretty much have the transparency, it’s not anything different.  You want to have approval obviously from your stakeholders and also the executives.  The next one you need to go and communicate the moving forward.  You don’t want to do this in the shelter no matter what because then people will feel something is going on behind their back. 

Monitoring Progress

This is pretty standard in project management knowing you want to create a cadence it’s always based on how your project is set out, so monthly, weekly, yearly, it really is depending on how long your seasonality, your company’s different.  Retail is different than financial service, IT, manufacturing. When I worked in those, they were all so different so everyone had the cadence that needs to make sense.  You need to do your plan versus actual.  I showed a couple of examples here.  It’s based on your company, how they like to see them.  Project plan is always a good one, graphs and so forth to show trend over time, quantitative versus qualitative.  Sometimes it’s a very easy one of revenue, operating costs, all the financials you can pull from a system and sometimes it is your voice of the customer or other forms of understanding how people feel with the change.  Does it really make their life better, how does this work you did do this?  These aspects make a difference in how you are doing and actually transparency, seeing you’re monitoring your steps throughout the process.


This is when you are into points; you have set your own milestones in the project and so forth.  You need to look at your monitoring and evaluate, know when to stop or keep going.  Sometimes you had a great idea everyone agreed and once you get into it, let’s just say automating something, and you realize it’s a lot harder than you thought it would be to automate this process , then is it still worth it to go forward?  You may have to redo analysis on the data.  How much does it cost?  Re-get agreement and you start over or if everything is going as well as you thought, you keep going and continuing.  You keep collecting data because it allows you to see is it already working, is there some type of new trend, has the company changed something?  You want to always collect it to see overall impact and change.  You want to validate your successes so if you said month 13 of this after the project is done you want to make sure you have that marked and validated realization of your success or realization of ROI or your cost savings. 

 The next piece is next so what do you do?  Do you go to the next business line, do you continue to do what you’re doing, try to find the next piece of your analysis?  There’s always going to be a next.  No, seasonality doesn’t disappear.  You try to control it and try to have it work better for your team.  When you’re evaluating these earnings, generally how these five, I want to call pillars that you need to look after when you’re evaluating, did all the inputs make sense, did you miss anything, your employees or partners or suppliers from a resource standpoint?  Your environment, was it the market, the customer, competition?  Is it related to sales part of the seasonality piece, and is it still aligned to the strategy that was given the brand image capabilities.  For example, if your brand is all about being made in the country in which you work and you outsource everything, you might have missed the mark a little.  But if you’re about cost efficiency or something else, then it all needs to align to what you are trying to achieve.  

The same with operations.  Is it still the team leaders and roles and responsibilities, work processes by nature, value chains and so forth?   You want to make sure that there is each of these so that when you’re evaluating you have achieved what you wanted to and that it didn’t change what your company’s total success and purpose is.

So that being said, MUFG where I work kind of the beast of the bank is the fifth largest global bank in the world.  The group I work inside of it is the sixth largest fund administrator out there in the world. We provide a host of services and I don’t want to go too deep.  If anyone’s very interested, they can send an email over.  We have a great data department, but we pretty much do fund accounting all the way from SPV all the way down to private equity and real estate fund to fund and so forth.  We are very large and complicated and we use our Tempus for seasonality for understanding certain groups, so the use case we did it on was for the 16 months, 50,000+ time entries, 800,000+ hours, we used Tempus to gather it on a monthly and weekly basis.  A large amount of data, in short, using techniques like Mann-Kendall, Sen’s Skope to determine where we are sliding for a certain quarter below, Box and Whisker to see if there are outliers, where’s our median comparison which is the purple, the comparisons and so forth, so where is the big red trend being where your peaks are, blue is your normalization of work pretty much and purple being your slow periods.  Understanding those pieces in order to have those discussions with leaders to make a decision point.  The approach we did was multi-phase, it’s over multiple years it will be done, and we only targeted one business line for business titles or job titles.  The processes we did are pretty much we’re going to standardize processes because that is probably one of the best things you can do.  We’re going to do automation toward items and turn functions and tasks and then we are also going to have some moving closer to clients to improve conversations and so forth for our global side of the world type thing so then you can have that net promotor score and so forth.  As I said, the examples are not real numbers, but these are our long-term plans, KPIs, cost savings of a certain amount was one of the items, customer service or satisfaction and then the overall return on investment for the effort that was done. 

The valuation for the next step is we’re going to continue to have our current phase approaches, but other businesses have requested to have theirs further looked into to expand to their business for data and to work with them because when you start seeing other groups doing well normally other businesses say I want to join in too.

So in partial conclusion here, the wave is always there, as I’ve stated.  This is just a method of using Tempus data that you can just go into the system, run a report of people’s actuals and be able to use that data to statistically work out to better serve your employees because no one wants to work 80-hour weeks every week or on the peaks a hundred or so to be able to figure out a way.  When you are working on these create checkpoints and keep it easy.  Don’t make a complicated system when you’re actually running the projects, like a new project manager and everyone else will stay on here probably.  You need to make it very simple having a monthly, quarterly whatever it is.  When you’re doing so make sure you’re keeping everything transparent with the data you’re using, how you’re calculating it, what was the method that you did it, as Tableau, BI, Excel reports come out so people can see if there’s change, what benefits, communicate to the teams what you are doing, and also make sure that you are being transparent and the entirety of the events that are transpiring.  

Next is change directions when needed.  That’s kind of going back to the evaluation piece.  You need to, if it looks like the ROI or this is not what we thought it was going to be, make that decision to change direction for the best for the company that you should not just do it because you said.  You need to make sure that everyone has agreed, that they have agreed, that they understand that they can move, that they are the stakeholder, their business, their people, that you can just change what is best for everyone.  And I think I’ve stated several, several times that Tempus does help extremely well here as people put in their time.  Keep collecting data at the current level or at a more detailed level so if the tasks aren’t the level that is being collected you need extra points as we’ve discovered and at MUFG.  We started at the current level and then realized that some of the tasks needed to be separated into two, such as financial prep versus actually reviewing the financial statements so you can see how much time your team is spending on it just like with onboarding new clients and so forth and so on.  Keep collecting data.  It can all be used to help springboard other projects that are not just seasonality but process improvement projects, also IT projects, automation projects, and so forth.

With all that being said, that is pretty much the use case for how Tempus can help with the seasonality of your business and other applications that are more business driven versus projects alone.  I thank you guys for your time.  Have a wonderful day.


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