After talking with Jeani Vance, CIO of consultancy Prophet, we discovered that the company who helps its clients find better ways to grow through brand & experience, digital transformation and growth acceleration, needed help of its own. Headquartered in San Francisco with 350 employees across 10 different offices around the world, Prophet's previous financial systems just couldn’t keep up at the pace the company needed.
Q: Can you describe the biggest technology challenges that were holding the company back?
A: We had an extremely old financial system from Sage which had not been updated. It was archaic, slow and cumbersome. Each month we had to pay a professional services team to do month-end close and were dependent on an outside contractor. It was painful, expensive and time-consuming to do month-end close and we still had no real-time visibility into the business or our financials. We had a small, disjointed IT team that lacked transparency. We needed to build IT support in every major office so that we would not need to fly resources in.
Q: How did you go about seeking out a new solution to support Prophet’s growth?
A: We conducted a comprehensive search for the best fit for our requirements. Our high-level requirements included the need for project and resource management, timesheets, expense management and also the ability to support multiple entities and currencies around the world. It also needed to support our core business processes, including quote-to-cash. As part of the evaluation, we did extensive client interviews. We started the RFP in April 2014 and spent about six months going through the selection process. We chose NetSuite based on functionality and price, and started the implementation in March 2015. We replaced seven legacy systems including Sage, Projector, Concur, Ganttic, Fixed Assets and timesheets.
Q: How are you currently using NetSuite?
A: We use NetSuite for financials, multi-currency and multi-entity accounting, and NetSuite OpenAir for time and expense management and resourcing. We also engaged with NetSuite Professional Services throughout the project, including the testing of the system before we went live. NetSuite has helped us all the way from requirements through to implementation and integration. We now have over 300 consultants who are inputting their time and expenses in NetSuite in addition to several resource managers for design, strategy and corporate projects.
Q: What are some of the benefits realized since going live on NetSuite?
A: The biggest benefit was the opportunity to roll-up all of our legacy systems into a single, cloud-based system with integration with our award-winning intranet. The time required for month-end close has been significantly reduced and we are no longer dependent on an outside contractor. Our entire leadership team uses the system and has been amazed at the amount of maturity we’ve gained with our business processes. Finance can quickly generate actionable reports and everything is faster because we have real-time view across the entire business, financials, and resourcing. Another huge benefit for us is the ability to easily convert our newly acquired companies over to NetSuite, making it much easier to grow, expand and continue to acquire additional companies.
Q: Looking back at the entire project, what would you say were your keys to success?
A: Executive commitment is critical and we were lucky to have had executive support throughout the entire process with our CFO involved every step of the way. Communication was also a key success factor. Our steering committee consisted of representatives from all areas of the company so we were able to leverage our subject matter experts and our award-winning intranet to ensure user adoption.
Q: If you had to do it all over again, what would Prophet do differently?
A: When it came to specific requirements, we should have taken a deeper dive into our core financial processes. Due diligence and business process mapping are key.
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