Compleo Business Solutions and Compleo Print choose SAP Business One
Having originally implemented SAP Business One in 2006 within Compleo Print, it became clear that the remaining businesses in the group were not enjoying as rich a functionality, which led to concerns over data integrity and reporting capability, as well as a distinct lack of integration. An almost fatal server crash in 2011 prompted the business as a whole to review its ERP technology infrastructure in order to ensure business continuity long into the future. Founded in 1999 as a strategic Xerox partner, Prodoc Business Solutions, recently renamed Compleo Business Solutions, has played a key role in positioning Xerox as a leading brand and supplier of quality printing equipment and related consumables in South Africa. A growing market, together with the opportunity to expand to a more holistic offering, saw the launch of Prodoc Business Systems, embracing a more service focused approach. In 2006, Compleo Print, a digital print company, was also launched. Operating in a B2B environment, the group works with a wide range of companies across multiple business sectors including agriculture, healthcare and government, to name but a few.
"Xerox products range from efficient desktop devices right up to large, sophisticated multi-million Rand production print equipment," explains Richard Attwell, founder and managing director. This sees it dealing with a highly diverse range of companies, from home-based businesses right up to medium-sized state owned entities. "It's a highly competitive industry, becoming increasingly more so," Attwell adds. "There is a constant shift away from the commodity and consumables approach towards a more services-based offering." And with this convergence, one sees more competitors: "There is almost a melting pot created by convergence of technologies, backed by the services ethos that every supplier wants to play a role in. Xerox, arguably, is a market leader in this space, having adopted the services approach ahead of the pack, some decades ago."
With a transition into software services, Compleo has found itself becoming more of an IT company, with the future of its business lying increasingly in software services - complementing all its various other offerings. Under the new codes for BBBEE that took effect in October 2015, Compleo Business Solutions and Compleo Print are accredited at a strategic Level 2, moving rapidly towards being a Level 1 contributor in the not too distant future with its focus on Skills Development and other initiatives.
The SAP Business One Journey
In 2006, with the launch of Compleo Print, Attwell and his team researched the marketplace for a single offering capable of providing CRM, accounting and ERP functionality. "We wanted one enterprise management system that could do everything," he says. "As a company, we have always had a very strong focus on CRM, so this was important to us." In addition, it needed to allow for strong stock control - essential within the print environment, while being as automated as possible."
After an evaluation of potential offerings, it was decided SAP Business One was the right choice moving forward for the print business. Implementation followed shortly thereafter, complete with any required third party customisations or add-ons. "We have never looked back. It has been running our print business for almost 10 years now, without any problems at all," says Attwell.
At the same time, the other companies were being run on different systems, Attwell added, though this was proving far from adequate, with limited functionality beginning to impact and curtail certain operational requirements. There was a severe lack of integration between departments, particularly between the sales and finance divisions, which was starting to affect output and productivity. In addition, inaccurate reports and a lack of control was another cause for concern. "We could get an idea of our revenues and profits on a deal by deal basis. However, this was based on manual input from the sales team which was far from ideal," he explains. The need for a holistic enterprise management system across the entire business had become critical.
Things came to a head in 2011, when the business suffered a severe server crash. "While we experienced zero data loss in our print business with SAP Business One, unfortunately the business lost a great deal of data across its other companies," says Attwell. "We had been toying with migrating the entire business to SAP Business One, so while a seemingly forced decision, it was simply an acceleration of something we had already been considering. We were up and running, with all companies standardised and operational on SAP Business One, within six weeks." Once the decision had been made, it took only three to four weeks to migrate all data across, allowing for the recapturing of lost data from the beginning of the financial year, with 'go-live' a mere two to three weeks after that.
Accuracy of Data and Improved Reporting
"Our reports are now 100% accurate, to the cent, with no grey areas," enthuses Attwell, from individual sales person to sales management right through to a holistic company view. When a salesperson is able to manage his own pipeline, right down to the cent, it completely empowers them with far reaching company benefits.
When discussing implementation, Attwell fundamentally believes that with careful and detailed planning upfront, implementation can be quick and problem free. If planned correctly, implementation is seamless as long as you have the correct data to input. "With the original implementation for our print business in 2006 we spent a lot of time planning and, if you plan correctly, you can get the results you want," he says.
4most, a leading supplier and implementer of SAP and ERP software and technology, was not the original vendor. "We consulted with SAP directly who in turn recommended potential South African partners. About two to three years later, 4most acquired our SAP Business One partner, so in essence we were inherited by them," Attwell explains. Although the various companies had been set up in such a way that implementation across the entire business was relatively straightforward, with only a degree of site customisation required, 4most quickly proved itself a committed business partner. "4most has walked with us every step of the way, from our initial engagement with them right up until today," he continues. "We have no doubt this will continue long into the future."
When asked about user uptake and change management, Attwell says that from a user perspective, SAP Business One is "friendly, intuitive and not at all difficult to use." However, if you have never worked on an accounting system before, it might be overwhelming at first, though 4most offers training and support for anything a user might want to do. "SAP Business One is a great product, with years of experience and thousands of customers leading to dozens of best practices," Attwell continues. "We haven't tried to change SAP to become what we want." Instead Attwell has worked within SAP Business One, adopting the mind-set of 'let me see what it can do for me'. "Whatever you are looking for, or needing, you will find a solution within SAP Business One. And if that requires customisation or additional reports, 4most is on hand to assist with exactly that."
SAP Business One - Beyond Tomorrow
"Absolutely, we could use the system better and there are many areas in which we could improve," says Attwell. "We have probably only scratched the surface of SAP Business One's capabilities, and the more we use it simply reinforces that we will never look at another system. As we grow and our needs evolve, I have no doubt SAP Business One can provide the required functionality."
SAP also offers third party apps though certified suppliers. "It's comforting to know that any add-on has been vetted by SAP and is therefore guaranteed to work with one's existing system, continuing to do so even when or if you upgrade - essential for business continuity and future proofing," says Attwell.
True Partnership with 24/7 Support
Another feature aiding business continuity is SAP's remote system which, on a daily basis, tests the validity of the database to ensure it is performing correctly. "This enables 4most to be highly proactive, able to advise us of the necessary steps to take before any potential problem has the chance to negatively impact daily operations," says Attwell. Security is critical, he adds: "You need to know that your data is secure".
While difficult to quantify an exact ROI, Attwell has no doubt that SAP Business One is the perfect solution: "If I had to go back, I would definitely choose SAP Business One all over again." The ability to have a single and total view of the customer in one place, further aided by the functionality to drill down to as much detail as needed, is proving invaluable, he adds. "I have one system that runs my entire company, with 100% integration across all departments and other business systems such as MS Exchange and Outlook."
With one place to view all he needs, in as much detail as needed, Attwell reconfirms that SAP Business One is definitely the only enterprise management system he would choose: "I have complete integrity of data, with 100% accurate reporting. More than that, I could not ask for. SAP Business One is truly a great product. It is the system behind my business!"
Madeline ten Krooden
+27 12 345-2505