While Sage has recently announced that sales of Enterprise Management, formerly Sage X3, were lower than forecast, its channel partners are continuing to have success. Percipient, a Sage partner recently announced that it had implemented both Sage Enterprise Management Financials and Sage Enterprise Intelligence (SEI) at the Galgorm Collection. Enterprise Times posed some questions to Colin Moore, Finance Manager, Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort about the project.
Galgorm has used Sage 50 for several years but the solution no longer met their requirements. It needed a solution that would meet the requirements for Galgorm’s multi-company structure and be capable of supporting future growth. That growth is likely to include potential acquisitions and, therefore, even more entities. It also needed to improve its reporting capability.
Enterprise Times (ET) asked Moore how Galgorm came to make the decision to choose Sage Enterprise Management and did they consider other solutions? Moore answered: “No, we took external advice from our outsourced IT who felt that Sage X3 would be the best fit to our needs. Once we seen a demonstration of the product we knew this was the product for us.”
In some ways this is a surprise. Few companies take this approach but for Galgorm it may have had merit. The system requirements are small, only ten people. The technology from Sage was familiar and the trust it placed in it outsourced IT has been built over several years. In 2016 Galgorm employed Avenue9 to become its IT Director, though there is no indication that relationship is still in place. However, the decision would have short cut a lengthy, and potentially expensive and time consuming search for a new system.
Without a tender process ET asked Moore whether Galgorm had worked with Percipient before. He answered: “No we had not used Percipient before. However, the company came highly recommended through our Outsourced IT who had worked with the company before.”
What was the main challenge during the migration and how was it overcome?
“We took our time with Percipient to ensure the product met our requirements during the build process. We also extensively tested during UAT to ensure we were in the best place before going live. The actual migration and go live then went relatively smoothly.”
An advantage of this approach is that it would have enabled Percipient to learn more about the business in that early stage. Percipient has experience and knowledge of the hospitality industry. It has previously deployed Sage Enterprise Management (Sage X3) at Bristol Sport.
What was it like working with Percipient? Moore commented: “Working with Percipient, we took a highly detailed, rigorous approach to identifying the best option. Percipient’s experience and pedigree in hospitality was invaluable in scoping out the best solution, and the team consistently went the extra mile to ensure the Galgorm Collection’s needs were met fully.
“This professionalism extended into the deployment and training phases, and the level of thoroughness and diligence in training our users on how to get the best out of the Sage system resulted in a smooth go live and first month end on a new system.”
One of the benefits of working with Percipient is that they have the expertise to deliver Sage Enterprise Management in a manner compliant with the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI). Not only does Sage Enterprise Management support this international standard, it is also compliant with the UK eGovernment Making Tax Digital.
As with other organisations, the ERP needs to interact with other solutions at Galgorm. It currently uses Procurewizard, Maestro for its accommodation and Silverware for food and beverage. Did Galgorm integrate to these during the initial project? Moore answered “We currently use the import function for invoices from our procurement system Procurewizard and we also import revenue figures on a daily basis.”
Moore also added: “One of the game-changing benefits of having Sage Enterprise Management Financials, is its ability to import information from other systems, as it will automatically process data from our bookings, restaurant and bar systems which will give us live, accurate visibility of our financial position at any given time. This live availability of financial information from any aspect of any business entity, via a single log-in screen, saves inordinate amounts of time, and our aim is to reduce month end processing by up to 50%.”
It does raise the question on how scalable the use of an import wizard is. It infers a manual process rather than a near real time API integration. The process it now uses is more efficient that that used historically.
That was not the only benefit. The finance function also saw increased efficiency from the new solution. Using Sage 50 the department closed its month end in 20 days. This has now been reduced to 12 with further improvements expected in the coming months.
Now the implementation is complete, Galgorm has achieved a consolidated view of finance across the group. This, in turn, has delivered improved reporting and better business intelligence. It means that planning and forecasting is more accurate and the company can make better informed decisions. With the addition of Sage Enterprise Intelligence the finance team is also able to deliver deeper analysis on the business as well.
What about the future
Sensibly, Galgorm understands that while the initial project is complete it is only a first phase. It is looking to further improve the solution. One area it may consider is an integration between finance and HCM. ET asked what is next? Moore said:
“Now that we have been using the system for 6 months the next steps very much relate to further integration from Maestro so revenue figures can be imported directly if possible. SageX3 also has great flexibility when it comes to report building so I very much want to focus on building departmental reports so we can report at a departmental level.”
Surprisingly Galgorm is not yes using the mobile functionality of Sage Enterprise Management. That may change when it makes an acquisition. Working across multiple sites will prove easier if users have access to data at all times.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
For Galgorm, Sage Enterprise Management seemed a natural progression from Sage 50. The hospitality expertise of Percipient made the transition between the two systems easier. It was also able to realise the benefits quickly, taking a different approach to many. However, if it is still using the trusted outsourced director it is an approach with merit.
An outsourced IT Director provides a level of independence and experience across multiple companies. Additionally, they understand the specific challenges at Galgorm and would know which solution was best suited to its operations. Cutting out a lengthy procurement process and bringing in a recognised and trusted partner, such as Percipient, was sensible. It would have allowed the outside IT to provide a level of audit control on the project.
For Sage this is also a demonstration that Enterprise Management can fit companies of different sizes. Galgorm had outgrown its Sage 50 solution mainly because of the complexity of its business. While Enterprise Management is often seen only in larger organisations it appears to have delivered the right solution here.