More than Automation

More than Automation

More than Automation

More than Automation 800 507 Exist Software Labs Inc.

It’s been an exciting couple of days meeting with a number of Philippine companies. I am reminded now why I had decided to work in what I would describe (or like to think) as the more modern sector, which is the software development services market.

I go to these meetings and I feel like I’m in another dimension seeing rows of desktops, piles of papers, a mini datacenter, highly walled cubicles, an old typewriter, fax machine, and the old school giant desk calendar. Vintage, right?

I met with this company dealing with building management — had an opportunity to discuss with the IT Head and General Manager. The GM, after a bit of introduction about Exist, shared a thorough background of their operations and concept of information system they’d like to have.

What we need is a system that will enable us to access information when we need it. It has to be integrated or at least ensure that the core information flows to certain departments, such as the project engineering team, so that key people will be able to make better, faster informed decisions.

That above is non-verbatim and just trying to pick what’s going on through the GM’s head. He said they’ve got a number of sales people who discuss with potential customers and then come back to make a proposal. Sales discusses scope with engineering team and prepares the proposal using standard document management software (there’s a bunch of other drawings from AutoCAD or perhaps a blueprint, too); sends this proposal to the client; receives feedback that may require a couple more changes to the proposal. If the deal is closed, the project engineering lead then takes over.

The company is also a reseller of a number of items, such as CCTV and fire alarms, incidentally. GM says that at the onset of the project, the project lead will check inventory on what they don’t have and what they’ve got to purchase. This can either be something they’ve to import, which goes through the typical customs receiving process, or something they have in their inventory, or bought from a local supplier. In each of these processes, information is passed from one department to another.Ensuring timely and accurate information management is critical.

Just as any sector, they do progress billing because they’ve got to pay monthly wages. Current status quo is project engineers have to wait for accounting team to give them information they need, such as payment information, progress billing report, to name a few.

GM himself wants to be able to track sales people opportunities, closed deals, and status of projects.

The only thing we have is an off-the-shelf accounting system which has all of our information at the moment, but there’s a number of other things we’d like to be able to manage better within an integrated software solution.

Basic ERP or enterprise resource planning software and similar variations of ERP systems have been in the list of sought-after software solutions in the market lately.

I was just speaking with two other companies in the transport business. They too have aired experiencing operational bottlenecks due to an existing system’s limitations. They seek to implement an integrated system to enable their teams to improve operations — providing them greater flexibility and scalability while also streamlining various manual processes.

Having written the Build or Buy approach awhile back, I needed to ask if they’ve looked at products currently available in the market. Yes, they have. Yes, they’ve tested a couple. Yes, they have at one point hired a freelance programmer, but the exercise had failed.

More than automating our manual processes, we’d like to have some sort of management dashboard to give us a better view of our operations.

There’s a laundry list of what they’d like to have. A supplier scorecard system, a sales incentive management system, inventory management, reports and analytics. Wonder what’s in store for me next week.

Incidentally, I just got off the phone with the lead for ICT projects of a certain school looking for an enrollment system.

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