When Craig Marowitz, the President and Owner of Expert Technology Associates (ETA) found his business exploding, he realized quickly that growth would be impeded by trying to scale the business with a collection of professional services automation software that was on life support.
ETA provides business communications solutions to help customers with their forward looking strategies and goals using phone network systems and IT infrastructure. ETA’s competitive advantage is their knowledge, attitude, expertise and ongoing strategic planning. Unfortunately, they were building this business on the back of a 20 year old accounting system and a six year old CRM package that required months on end to implement product upgrades.
ETA’s biggest business challenge is managing growth. Growth means serving more customers and not jeopardizing a positive customer experience. Repeatable deliverables, being able to fulfill requests and/or changes to get the experience they demanded as a business, required access to integrated company information
ETA needed seamless professional services automation integration throughout all aspects of customer information, from sales to billing, in order to deliver the experience they wanted for their customers.
- Could not continue with “status quo” if they wanted the business to grow.
- Looked at professional services automation Software as a Service (SaaS) products but was nervous about the integration expertise they would require in-house to make it all work. “Aligning your business processes with software means you don’t just log on and hit ‘go’,” says Craig.
- Could develop an in-house professional services automation system but it would take too long and ETA would lose market opportunity not to mention cost to scale it up and maintain it
- Could string together individual products for CRM, ERP and accounting but that would be more of what they were already doing and it wasn’t working
- Had Director of IT own the project with a firm grounding in the business requirements
- Brought in a project manager to get the evaluation process defined
- Built the team first and interviewed everyone in the company to see what they do that could be identified as best practices and what they needed and ended up with well defined processes throughout the company
- Conducted an online search and started talking to peers
Solutions360 delivered access to the right information at the right moment.
The Wish list: One system to manage the entire business
- Business processes to drive accounting
- Integrated approach to data sharing from one department to another
- Improve the cost and length of time to customize professional services automation options that the company would encounter in growth mode Capture all billing and complete it ONE place
- System allows you create tickets quickly and thoroughly with visibility into entitlement and workflow through to billing
- Track tech utilization hours
- Improve project management
- CEO can get job costing information that is accurate and in real time
- Maintenance profitability by ticket and by customer in real time
- People on the outside can use mobile and web portals to enter data in real time
We can’t build managed services unless we can plug stuff into the database and now we know we can build out what we need to grow the managed services part of our business,” says Craig Markowitz. “We have discovered that the architecture of the system is paramount to understanding what we need to do in our business to support growth now and in the future. Patching together non-uniform systems that are difficult to scale with our business is not the way to do it.
Since this article was originally published, ETA and The Apella Group have merged to create Helm Partners. You can visit their new website here – Helm Partners