In early 2016, Marcus, our CMO, wrote a blog, explaining that there would be the beginning of “a new dawn” at Acuity. So, one year on, how have these changes affected us as a company?
We met with Lee and Steve, our CEO and COO, to find out more.
Cloudia, one of our Account Managers, and I took the opportunity to sit with our Leadership team during a breakfast meeting, to talk through the internal changes the business has made over the past twelve months.
To be sat on a sofa, in the same room as the Leadership Team, really was a sight to behold. It may have been the relaxed atmosphere but some refreshing and honest answers were given throughout the hour or so we spent there.
Why have we chosen to implement both Sage Live and Salesforce ‘in-house’?
Lee: ‘We wanted to incorporate one version of the truth. By combining our disparate systems onto one core platform, we were enabling on-the-go access, real-time reporting, and a unified data-set.
The promise of data ‘on the move’, as well as a dashboard reporting upon forecasts, actuals and deliverables, was very attractive. We have a complex business model, but with Sage Live and Salesforce we could start to drive efficiencies in reporting. Kimble also offers a huge jump for us within the same platform.
Although this is a change from my ‘accountant brain’, the concept behind dimension reporting gave us huge confidence in segmenting data when we split the company into business units.’
Why have we chosen to implement Kimble ‘in-house’?
Steve: ‘Simple! 3 Reasons: Forward Planning, Visibility and to reduce Administrative burden.
Forward planning: It’s great for my Team Leaders to know where Sales are up to with their opportunities, and it’s equally great for Sales to know when they can hope to resource a prospective project. Win-Win!
Visibility: With a growing consultancy base it becomes harder to track where people are, what they are working on, when they are due to finish, and where the project is up to. Kimble makes it simple!
Admin Burden: More consultants equals more timesheets, more service reports, and more invoices, meaning projects are harder to reconcile. Kimble takes the hassle out of all of this and makes the whole job easier.’
Lee: ‘Kimble was an obvious starting point. The tight integration that the Force.com platform delivers meant it wasn’t much of a decision to move our CRM requirements and the accounts onto it.
To put very simply, it is a decision driven out of having to work on the move. We sometimes have consultants quite literally on every continent, so it was Cloud to the rescue! Now our various teams, from consultants to Sales, can get data and updates when on the move.’
What impact has the single platform made to Acuity?
Lee: ‘We are starting to see measurable impact on business from a process point of view. The instant dashboard view of cloud applications means that we see red flags a lot quicker, thereby allowing faster reaction to process gaps.’
Steve: ‘One example is that I can now fire out calls from the train when a dashboard doesn’t tell me what I wanted to hear. It’s not always fun for those that work with me but, all-in-all, everyone now feels far more connected to the same data.
Not only that, but we have shortened the amount of time taken from delivery to invoice, which of course improves cash flow. Admittedly, this has also swept up the ‘holes’ in the process of delivered time that was un-invoiced. It was usually billed after manual review, but now the system shouts at us if it’s not billed before!’
Lee: ‘Having the integration, from Salesforce pipeline into the PSA scheduling of Kimble, is a godsend for planning resources. Now we can forward plan reskilling and recruitment based on better metrics, rather than our gut feel. The introduction of Sage Live and its dimensional approach to data has allowed a much richer analysis of data; in particular the gross margin being made out of various revenue streams, which for Acuity is much more complex than the average Sage BP.
So, the overall impact is that we have access to data when we need it. This allows for reaction, resolution, and impacts directly to the bottom line and cash. Of course, this is not to mention the benefits of having shared data, collaboration from the cloud and the integration of these apps.
All-in-all, the positive effect this has on our staff can only help us improve on customer delivery and delight.’
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Choosing Acuity Solutions means choosing one of the top 5 global Sage business partners, with over 20 years' experience in the Sage product marketplace, we have previously held the Sage "Business Partner of the Year" awards for Sage X3 and Sage 300.