COMPANY PROFILE – Bridges SI has been operating in the National Capital Region since 2010, and has grown to a $12 million plus integration firm with 45 employees.
As a certified Veteran Owned Small Business, the company is proud to serve the federal government and honored to make a difference in their day-to-day operations.
We recently spoke with Brent Berger, Co-Founder and Partner at Bridges SI, about how Solutions360 has helped drive profitable and predictable growth.
“Solutions360 did 95% of what we need out-of-the-box. The go-rate was so much faster and more efficient, versus trying to customize one of the large ERP systems that are generic for every industry.”
THE CHALLENGE – Prior to Q360, Bridges was using five to six disparate systems and trying to get them to talk was a Herculean task. According to Berger, “We had a desire to be aware of issues in real time, and it was very apparent that we didn’t have the visibility we wanted with a dedicated accounting system, dedicated time-keeping, plus a dedicated bill of materials and quoting tool, when none of these systems could talk to each other. So we knew we wanted to move to an ERP system.”
“The next decision was, do we want to go with something out-of-the-box like Solutions360, or do we go with one of the large customizable solutions like NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics that runs across industries and has wide support in terms of hiring consultants and things of that nature.”
“After a lot of reflection, and the fact that we are still a small AV company, and the idea that we would have to dedicate enough time and resources to customize a NetSuite or a Dynamics type solution, we just didn’t have any confidence that we would get to where we needed to be in a timely fashion. We would constantly be hiring experts and consultants to customize things to the way we needed them.”
“We looked at some other low voltage ERP-type systems, but they did not seem to be centered on finance, which is ultimately what drives business. So, for us, it was pretty clear cut that of the low voltage ERP providers, Solutions360 was the only one we would seriously consider.”
THE IMPLEMENTATION – “Having the right people in place at the right time completely changed our perception of some of the challenges we had initially with the implementation,” reports Berger. “Two years ago we would have described our experience much differently than we describe it now.”
Bridges’ current Director of Finance is a CPA, but at the time of the implementation the company was relying on a bookkeeper. “With the ERP, I think we underestimated the technical requirements, certainly on the accounting side, which had consequences,” according to Berger.
“I don’t think our bookkeeper had the knowledge required for a successful implementation,” says Berger. Her skill level was sufficient pre-implementation, but she was out of her depth with the ERP. “She was good at following directions, but the issue was when we transitioned to Q360, you have to understand the reasons for the processes.”
As a result, the company decided to hire a CPA with full blown experience. “She came in, and in less than a week understood the logic behind how Q360 works. The mere pressing of the buttons was common sense to her – it works like every other ERP system.”
“Our Director of Finance is exceptionally good at getting meaningful data out of the system through it’s Live Data reporting engine and manipulating it in Excel to create reports for not only cash forecasting but really helping us with resource planning that is very specific to our business.”
THE RESULTS – The Director of Finance is able to take utilization reports that are off-the-shelf from Q360 and apply them exceptionally on an enterprise level. “This ensures we are staffing correctly for upcoming needs, and that we have the right resources both financially as well as physically. It’s an excellent tool and has been a huge help to have it,” Berger reports.
Bridges primarily serves the government market, which can be anything but predictable. “For me to say when the government is going to cut a PO is sometimes just best guess,” Berger confirms.
That said, the Director of Finance is able to take the data Bridges has based on the business that is repeatable, based on how many times a customer has been quoted, and all that good stuff, and develop a fairly predictable model as far as when a certain purchase order is likely to come in, and how that impacts all the other facets of the business. “This has allowed us to develop fairly significant projections,” says Berger.
“Solutions360 has definitely brought more predictable growth to our business model. It’s certainly helped us identify where we have weaknesses and also shows us our strengths.”