I had only been with FinancialForce a few weeks when I was asked to conduct my first, and one of the company’s first, case study interviews back in 2010. To put that into context, at the time FinancialForce had around 25 employees, offered just one product, FinancialForce Accounting, and our US arm shared an office space with the startup cloud CRM provider, Salesforce, in San Mateo, CA. How times have changed.
To celebrate all the great customer success stories we have gathered over the last 7 years, I wanted to take a walk down memory lane and consider how our customers’ stories have evolved, and whether those pain points identified in 2010 are still the reasons that customers are choosing and enjoying FinancialForce products today.
An office somewhere in the UK 6 years ago…
The first case study interview I did was with Scott Johnson, VP, All Traffic Solutions, based in Pennsylvania. All Traffic Solutions make traffic safety solutions including electronic roadside signs and cloud-based web solutions to remotely manage equipment and data. These solutions are used by government and industry for law enforcement, transportation and security purposes.
All Traffic was the first company to take advantage of the integration between FinancialForce and AscentERP, while migrating all their on-premise functions to the Salesforce platform in 2010. I remember thinking while speaking to Scott, that he was a pretty forward-thinking VP, and doing some groundbreaking things with cloud technology which was still in its infancy.
On October 5th 2010, Scott wrote this comment on the Salesforce AppExchange:
“We knew we needed to replace our previous enterprise system and despite the shortcomings of that software, we had grown accustomed to an integrated business system but just didn’t want to move to the cloud until we could move everything. We had identified FinancialForce as the best of breed for the financial solution on the Salesforce platform some time ago but only after their more recent expansion did they achieve the breadth of capability to provide a tipping point for us to commit. We’re glad we did, they’ve proven themselves a great fit for the financial piece to our puzzle. Most importantly, FinancialForce realized that they needed to integrate smoothly not just with Salesforce CRM, but with the other critical path apps for manufacturing and design we needed in order to pull off moving an integrated system to the cloud.”
Even then, Scott had identified the issues which still make up the reasons for customers moving to the cloud and to the Salesforce platform and ultimately FinancialForce today. They were outgrowing existing systems, team silos were creating disruption, and the use of an on-premise system did not offer the flexibility they needed to operate efficiently.
Scott went on to tell me about the benefits they had realized from using FinancialForce Accounting, namely increased productivity and the ability to innovate rapidly with little or no impact on IT. With one connected system they managed to save 3 hours per month through automated journal entry, and more through being able to clone journal entries for payroll, and month end close had been reduced from 1 day to 1 hour. Pretty impressive for a company who was an early cloud adopter.
A bustling office in the heart of San Francisco today…
When I look at some of our more recent case studies – which of course have had several re-designs since 2010 – they may discuss integration between multiple FinancialForce products now, as we have added to our portfolio and as more customers realize the advantage of a true ERP cloud offering, but really, in terms of the pains and the benefits customers are looking for, not a lot has changed.
Look at our most recent case study, Revolution Group, a certified Salesforce partner, business and technology consulting firm, with three primary divisions that focus on manufacturing and ERP, Salesforce and CRM, and technology and infrastructure consulting. The issues they were facing sound familiar. Lack of visibility and connected information made it hard for teams to collaborate and the existing system wasn’t flexible or scalable enough.
By connecting their processes on a single platform, they have transformed operations and are serving their customers better.
“Here’s the key.” Said Pat Welsh, Director ERP Practice, “We’ve grown 35% annually over the last five years. With PSA on the Salesforce platform, its enabled us to better manage our explosive growth without any significant disruption to our customer service and while maintaining a very high customer sat rating.”
A lot has happened in the last 6 years. FinancialForce has grown to over 600 employees. Salesforce seems to have taken over the world and certainly San Francisco during its Dreamforce conference. Barack Obama became the first african-american US president, and twerking became a ‘thing.’
Our case studies have evolved a lot during that time. But no matter who I interview, no matter which and how many of our products they are using, the problems they are trying to solve and the benefits they are seeing from one connected system remain the same. When I look at the success stories we are developing in another 6 years time, I wonder if that will still be the case.