Since its inception in 1990, Genesis Integration has transformed from a professional audio provider into a highly sophisticated systems integration company. The company provides a full range of design/build, consulting and installation services for numerous markets including Audio Visual, Security, Healthcare and School Communications. Genesis works with its clients to ensure the integrated technology is being adopted, and utilized to its full potential, in order to maximize ROI. Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Genesis has grown from a staff of two to a team of over 100 across five Canadian locations.
Revenues $31M (2015); $38M (2016); $43M (projected 2017)
The Integration Business Has Evolved
In 27 years, Genesis has evolved from a hardware-based business to a project-based business, and now to a recurring managed revenue (RMR) model. Adding the systems integration and managed services components changed how Genesis needed to be managed to remain successful.
“The systems integration industry has become increasingly complex. Twenty years ago you didn’t have to focus on business processes in order to be successful, but you do today. Gone are the days when I can put two guys in a van and talk to them five minutes before they drive down the road,” says Kelly McCarthy, President of Genesis Integration. “Q360 has helped us create processes that are necessary to control quality in the face of increasing complexity.”
Genesis Integration was an early adopter of the Q360 platform, and has been using the software for almost 10 years now. “At the time we made the decision to implement an ERP system, we were operating with three different systems, which is pretty typical for a business like ours,” says McCarthy. The company was operating a CRM platform, a project management system and an accounting system, and this is standard practice for integration firms.
“The problem was, we had to write spreadsheets to link the data between the three databases. At the time, we believed this was a good approach and that our data was accurate, but I found out once we started using Q360 that that it was not.”
The data was entered into the three systems at different times of the month. McCarthy realizes now, “Because the data in the spreadsheets was all historical, it only allowed us to look back at a snapshot in time, so we were making business decisions based on old data. What we really need is a current snapshot of the business with real time data.”
“We thought we were getting good, accurate information before, but we were not. When you are working in three divergent databases this just isn’t possible.”
Genesis knew they needed to make a change and find a single platform to manage all of the key components of the business. The challenge was to find something in the market that would work.
As a technology service provider, Genesis has unique needs because they are a service business that also delivers hardware. According to McCarthy, “Most of the ERP systems we looked at did not take this important facet of our business into consideration.”
After an exhaustive search that included all the big names in the ERP space, as well as a dozens of niche players targeting SMBs, McCarthy determined that none were a good fit for Genesis, “There were too many changes required to make their software fit our business, and we were looking for a single platform that was designed for a technology integrator, so we just kept looking.”
It took some time before Genesis discovered Solutions360, but after evaluating the Q360 platform, McCarthy was convinced that one system that could handle sales, project management, inventory control, project accounting and service dispatch, was the way to go. Plus, Solutions360 had a dedicated team to help set up the system and import data.
McCarthy selected Q360 because he wanted a single platform directly mapped to the needs of a technology service provider that could run the entire business as an end-to-end solution.
Implementing the ERP system would be the single biggest risk to the business, and support from the Solutions360 team was key for a successful implementation. Timing the implementation was also key for Genesis. McCarthy made the move in 2007 during the economic downturn, “It was easier to undertake an ERP implementation when our business was slower, it would have been more challenging to execute at a time when the business was really busy.”
Q360 has become much more than just software to McCarthy. After 10 years of using Q360, Genesis is still in contact with the Solutions360 team at least once a month. “We are in constant contact with Solutions360. The software has an enormous amount of depth and each company uses the software a little bit differently,” says McCarthy, “So, whenever we want to make a change to our business or focus on a certain area, like growing our services business, we connect with them and find out the best practices for using Q360 to achieve our goals. They have the experience to understand how we can apply the software to that end.”
“We are in growth mode, and you have to invest to grow. We made the necessary new hires along with the systems to support that growth. Before Q360 we would sit around and talk about the business like the village around the campfire,” says McCarthy, “There was talk and good ideas, but no consistency. Once we adopted Q360 it forced us to create processes. Now our business rules are much more rigid, which was really important to help the business grow.”
“Most of all, Q360 has really helped us manage growth,” McCarthy concludes, “When you are 10 people you can make decisions and pivot very quickly, but when you become a 100 person organization suddenly you have to have pieces in place that help you manage the performance of the organization because you can’t know everyone intimately and oversee every person or every function in the company.”