The Business case
Annoyed revenues are falling
Staff visit clients and need to be able to collaborate and work both offline and online. They need to qualify the interest of perspective customers and to do so in a professional way without the time and cost of travelling to each customer. To achieve this they use web conferencing to qualify prospects and CRM to record customer contact.
The business produces product data sheets, price lists, customer proposals, and commercial documents and these are distributed by email so everyone has a copy. Everyone is busy and documents are frequently revised. This practice leads to document version control problems.
Customers without decision/budget authority make frequent requests for similar information however due to commercial or confidentiality reasons such information cannot be published on the company website. An ability to provide secure controlled access to a customer portal would reduce the time spent answering questions and providing generic documentation.
Frustrated by rising overtime costs
As a business grows customer response times can decline. To maintain service standards, staff overtime may become a necessity. Inevitably margins reduce. Initially staff may welcome overtime. However more often than not when overtime becomes the norm stress levels rise and some staff may resign. Recruiting new staff can affect the productivity of experienced staff while they support new employees. To keep payroll to minimum an automated sales order processing (SOP) system is needed.
Struggling to resolve customer & staff dissatisfaction
As the business establishes a trading history the business begins to seek and compete for larger contracts. Larger customers stipulate ecommerce supplier portals to transact ‘order to payment.’ Winning business with large customers’ turns sales into sizable projects. This requires record keeping for time and expenses as some costs are internal and some are invoiced to the customer. The current accounting system combined with business growth increasingly exposes shortcomings. An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is required to provide full audit trail but the cost are frightening and implementation will take time. A contributor factor no dedicated IT staff.
While the business is small there is little need for centralised HR document depositary to manage employee contracts of employment, the range of employ benefits, holiday entitlements’, employee performance reviews. A centralised HR portal minimises costs’ and maintains efficiencies.
As the business begins to be recognised as a success competitors begin to tender takeover bids. Finally a too good to be true offer is accepted. The business under goes a due diligence assessment by the bidder. Part of the study involves a review of IT. Existing IT staff comprises of one person carrying the title, Manager IT Resources, who is responsible for managing the relationship with IT vendors. He is a Microsoft Certified Professional. He is not hands on. IT is all outsourced.
The report states IT assets are minimal and running costs are small. These factors mean there are no legacy IT systems and associated costs to be absorbed. This partly explains why the business achieves above average industry returns on investment.