Kiwi businesses revisit core applications

System change is continuing apace in local businesses

Strong local financial results from enterprise software vendors last year are just one sign that many organisations are replacing or upgrading their core applications.

In doing so, many organisations focus their investment around a specific capabilities such as retail solutions, CRM or financials.

After the Onesource Group was acquired by its current owners, it assessed the value of CRM and decided to dump its “clunky” and unpopular SalesLogix CRM system in place of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

GM of IT Brendon Avery says Microsoft was chosen for its ease of tight integration with Outlook which created a single space for sales staff to do their jobs.

A faster return on investment, coupled with the system’s “non-intrusive” nature, also won the deal for Microsoft.

Avery says the system helps managers determine which staffers are busy dealing with customers and whether they are closing sales, allowing them training if necessary. Microsoft, he says, helped Onesource determine the right solution, which meant planning and preparation took just a month, with a month of development and a further month of training and the roll-out.

Selling the system to staff helped, while them finding it easy to use was another bonus.

Avery says bringing in management to show how an application will meet business needs and help staff achieve targets is essential. And an easy system will mean there’s no reason for staff not to engage.

Clothing retailer Kathmandu uses Pronto Software’s Pronto Xi ERP solution following an overhaul of its point-of-sale and back-office retail operations.

Kathmandu GM of IT Bryan Moore, says Pronto also supplied the company’s CRM, and a new ERP system was needed to cope with huge business growth. Kathmandu was also facing issues around its databases.

“Transactional volumes started stretching the capabilities of the old product,” he says.

The company assessed its needs and presented a wish list to vendors; including more rules-based promotional tools. Further analysis whittled the alternatives down to three, with Pronto winning on functionality, scalability, and the value of relations with the vendor.

Moore says implementation went well, but resources were a challenge, particularly as Kathmandu was continually opening new stores. Only “clever scheduling” made it work.

Looking back, Moore says the implementation required more effort than expected, so organisations need to get their specifications clear upfront. You also need to be very clear about the scope of modifications, including support for them, and contracts need to be fully critiqued to ensure you have yourself covered.

Rotary Platforms New Zealand uses Accpac, from Sage, largely for financials. The software went live in November, replacing an MYOB-based system that was inflexible and could not handle the business growth of the company or its need to help forecast raw material needs in a manufacturing environment.

Group financial controller Richard Aubrey says the small business had a tight budget and Accpac could deliver various financial tools within a three-month installation time-frame. However, people stuck to using the old system initially as that was what they were used to. A little training was needed to see them reap the benefits of the new technology, he says.

Community support services provider Healthcare New Zealand uses TechnologyOne for its financials, such as general ledger and accounts payable. It previously used a DOS-based system and following an RFI, went for TechnologyOne because of its ability to allow multiple ledgers to be consolidated with each other.

Finance manager Roger Eaton says the July 2007 implementation went well and the system integrates easily with its PayGlobal payroll system through a simple interface.

Looking back, he says may be implementation could have taken longer as the short time-frame meant some interface files were not ready when required.

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