“We looked at where the future of the market was heading and that was the cloud,” says Jiwa Nadan, managing director of Advance Clean, specialists in the design and distribution of cleaning solutions to New Zealand.
“We were at a crossroads. We could either continue to invest into our existing business model, which was based on our own internal servers and support staff as well as a well-known brand of comprehensive financial software, or move into a cloud-based environment. There were valid points for both options.”
On the one hand, Advance Clean had a well-developed set of business processes running on their financial solution that had helped them grow their business and react and adapt to consistently changing demand. “We were satisfied with our situation,” continues Nadan. “Our then-current software did everything we asked of it and support wasn’t an issue. But, as with any solution, we needed to constantly refine our processes as our requirements evolved.”
At the same time Nadan was cognisant of the fact that software as a service and ‘the cloud’ were the twin pathways to the future. “So we had to make a decision. Either spend more on our own hardware and internal systems or migrate to a cloud-based service. We understood that there would be an initial cost to transfer our business processes to an entirely new cloud-based platform but in the long term we felt that there would be a significant reduction in operating costs. We also realised that it would make more sense to start the process sooner rather than later. You can’t go on forever just building bigger boxes.”
Technology is at the heart of Advance Clean’s philosophy “We strive to align with global leading technologies and our success in the future will be determined by our ability to continuously improve our systems and support for our customers,” explains Nadan. “In light of this, we made the decision to investigate our options in respect to employing a fully-integrated cloud-based solution to help us continue with our growth.” Nadan and his team then set about evaluating the available products on the market and calculating how they could help them achieve their goals.
“Advance Clean called us more or less out of the blue,” says Neil Harker, managing director of eAccounts. “They had very clear requirements and asked extremely insightful questions. They wanted a fully-integrated system that would support the financial side of their business as well providing ecommerce and on-line ordering capabilities, stock control, customer relationship management and comprehensive reporting. They were looking for a scalable, highly secure, robust and flexible browser-based application that could be accessed by staff regardless of their location and they wanted strong controls on who would have access to which information. And they were looking for a solution that could be ‘driven’ from an easily accessible dashboard interface.”
“We had looked carefully at a number of cloud-based offerings,” says Nadan, “but eAccounts had certain advantages. We had a number of conversations with Neil and he assured us that eAccounts could do everything that we wanted. However, our requirements were quite specific and we had heard that line before. The fact that Neil and his team had developed the software and actually could customise it for our business was a very real plus. We knew that we would be spending significant resource in customising eAccounts to do exactly what we wanted and we appreciated the fact that we could work directly with the developers to ensure that nothing was lost in translation.”
After a careful consideration of the various options and models on the market, Advance Clean made the strategic decision to migrate their internal financials and operations to the eAccounts cloud-based platform. No onsite servers are required to access eAccounts. However Advance Clean decided to retain some existing servers for tasks like Microsoft Office and Exchange applications. These services could be moved to the cloud in the future.
“It is a pleasure to work with people who have such a clear understanding of what they need and want,” says Harker.
“Because Advance Clean had such well-documented business practices and procedures we were able to rapidly build their requirements into our solution. We worked with each particular class of user to define which type of information they needed to see and then designed the dashboard interfaces as required.”
The relationship between eAccounts and Advance Clean is a true partnership. “I’d say that they have learned as much from us as we have from them,” says Nadan. “We both worked together to develop a common ground between what we wanted and what eAccounts could provide. eAccounts has helped us tie together many of our operations into a common interface and displays all of the elements for a specific issue. If need be we can drill-down into the data to see exactly what is going on. While there has been a cost associated with migrating our operations to eAccounts and setting up the interfaces, we see eAccounts as a strategic asset that will justify these expenditures over time.”
“An advantage of eAccounts,” notes Harker, “is that migration costs can be kept to a minimum. In addition, there are additional functions such as Our ‘JustOneClick’ link which allows customers 24/7 lookup rights to view and print invoices and statements without having to call Advance Clean Staff. eAccounts includes powerful customisable B2B and B2C shopping basket solutions that are fully integrated into the full ERP system in one seamless system.”
Everyone in the organisation – Advance Clean has eight branches around New Zealand and more than 60 eAccounts users - now relies on eAccounts for many of their day-to-day business activities.
“We especially like the speed of the new system and the fact that we don’t have to worry about outages or system slowdowns,” concludes Nadan. “We are still in the process of fully utilising the potential of eAccounts within the organisation, but we fully expected that the process would be essentially on-going. Neil and his team have been proactive in adding additional capabilities and we, for our part, have been equally proactive in requesting more functionality. As we said before, we have a strong partnership with eAccounts. We made the decision to move into the cloud environment as it is the way forward. And with eAccounts as our partner, we expect this model to help us continue our growth and market leadership.”