Change agents: Leaders in information management technology
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Brian Sill joined Safe Orthopaedics as senior operations director to help get the medical device company launched successfully in the U.S. Before business could commence, he had to choose and integrate accounting, inventory management and other operations applications. Integrating accounting and customer relationship management (CRM) applications was a must.
The healthcare industry is highly regulated, and quality of performance and service on medical devices can be a life-or-death issue. "We need to keep close track of our [systems], down to their lock number and serial number in case there is a quality issue," Sill said.
Drilling in on a cloud accounting software platform
Early in the game, Sill decided he wanted to use Salesforce for Safe Orthopaedics' CRM. Due to previous experience with the system, he felt Salesforce had the best foundation to work with. There were several products taken into consideration to remedy Safe Orthopaedics' needs for a robust, cloud accounting software platform.
Intacct was promising because it is integration-ready with Salesforce, for example, but ultimately was ruled out because Sill didn't feel the offering could provide what Safe Orthopaedics needed from the inventory management side. Openbravo was favorable because it is an open source product, but was nixed because "it wasn't quite ready for prime time in terms of integration with Salesforce," Sill said. Netsuite was also in the running, but Sill was turned off by the company's big push for its own CRM system.
In the end, FinancialForce proved to be the cure for Sill's needs, primarily because of its cloud-based nature and integration capabilities. "When I saw FinancialForce.com was a Salesforce.com platform-based solution, I knew all the activities going on inside the CRM would essentially integrate automatically with everything that was happening on our accounting side," Sill said. "I was really intrigued."
With any software package there is a learning curve.
FinancialForce was selected also because of Safe Orthopaedics' business model. The cloud accounting software enabled the system to be opened up so the chief financial officer in France can log in remotely without having to deal with VPN access, Sill noted.
Similarly, Safe Orthopaedics works with independent third parties that represent the company's surgical instrument solutions. FinancialForce allows Sill to keep a tight watch over operations. "I knew as the business evolves, I'd like to provide a way for those third-party distributors to enter their own data to some extent," Sill said. "Whether it be recording a surgery that occurred and then on the back end I can create a sales order and invoice or move inventory."
There was a hiccup in the decision making process; FinancialForce in and of itself does not have the inventory management solution component. The problem was mended when FinancialForce connected Sill with a provider it had been working with for other companies that needed a robust inventory management product -- LessSoftware. Essentially, LessSoftware's supply chain on-demand offering worked in tandem with FinancialForce to create an offering that would meet Safe Orthopaedics' unique needs.
A healthy prognosis for the future
The implementation process was a smooth one, although Sill said he had to preface that assessment with the fact that he was afforded the luxury of not having to deal with a major system migration. "I used that [no system migration] to my advantage to make sure I didn't overuse or sign up for more consulting or implementation resources than we needed," he said. "With any software package there is a learning curve; obviously I made a few mistakes along the way, but I got a lot of support."
Looking back on the decision making process, Sill said he is glad he was thinking with the future in mind while developing the customized offering. "It's an amazing platform we can build on in the future for some of the things, like opening up the system through partner portals or mobile apps to allow third-party distributors to enter data," he said.
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Maxine Giza is the associate site editor for SearchSOA.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.