How Codec is redefining ERP in the Irish business sector
Dealing with the broad topic of ERP by looking at how it can help further optimise a business has given Codec the momentum it needs to expand and grow
(Note: This news item is a summary of an article published in the Sunday Business post on February 4, 2018)
If the first thing you hear from a company is how they’re welcoming new staff to the office that week, you could probably assume that things are going well.
And things are going well for Codec, which has more than 200 staff across offices in Galway, Belfast, Dublin, Cork, London, Cologne and Warsaw.
Add to that a youthful and diverse workforce – the average age there is 28 years old – and a thriving partnership with Microsoft, where it’s currently country partner of the year, means the company has momentum.
The company offers solutions for many areas with ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) being a cornerstone.
While that already covers a significant amount of business processes – before you even start adding other services to like BI (Business Intelligence) or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – the key thing for John Roddy, its Commercial Director, isn’t what’s available but the ingredients that make a successful project.
“The key thing for us is successful projects,” he says. “Good people, successful projects, continuity in terms of service and ensuring that the customers’ needs are met.
“The other thing we do is we talk to customers about the road map and future direction of the technology. What’s unique with Codec on the Microsoft side, as well as the Dynamics 365 (Microsoft’s CRM and ERP system) and cloud side, is that we’re very strong on that piece.
“We don’t just know the ERP piece, we know the BI piece, the CRM piece and we know the cloud. We know on-premise so we’re able to wrap our arms around the customer more in terms of them not having to deal with multiple partners.
Strength in depth
It should be mentioned that each relationship it has is earned, with projects designed with the long-term in mind. Each project is broken up into phases, with Microsoft Dynamics allowing them to switch on extra features as they progress.
To give some examples of its work, it helped eShopWorld, the ecommerce firm which became the first Dynamics 365 for Operations deployment in Ireland through Codec. For the gift card and voucher company Smartbox Group, it ran the largest Dynamics AX (Microsoft’s Tier One ERP offering) project in Ireland.
For one large pharmaceutical company, teaming up with Codec saw the time it took it implement new solutions by half as well as reduced cost and overhead.
For the above examples, giving themselves the time to carry out each phase properly, the sheer breadth of services it offers, and its ability to keep customers educated helped Codec reach the position it’s in.
“If you’re keeping the customer informed, you’re not just doing one solution,” he explains. “[You’re] saying ‘in phase two, you might want to bring in HR, or you might want to bring in Dynamic CRM’. You might decide on other technologies that are available via the cloud.
“That’s a big one for us. There’s a lot of good partners out there but none that in the Microsoft space that has the breadth that we do. That’s the key thing.
Going on a journey
Part of this involves bringing the customer along the journey, helping them understand their options so they can make the best choices, something that becomes harder as changes in the technology space occur faster than ever.
One area Codec is growing rapidly in is customer success management. Created with larger customers in mind, the sole aim of its managers is customer satisfaction, not revenue or commissions. The difference in focus leads to more positive results, according to Roddy.
“Happier customers will stay with you longer and you’ll get more projects from them, but that’s another area that we see coming to the fore,” says Roddy. “It’s not necessarily something that customers ask for but it’s a service that we provide to the customers.
“One phrase I hate to hear is ‘I didn’t know you guys did that’ so by definition, if our customers don’t know the breadth of offerings that we have, that’s a big problem for us. We don’t hear it too often… [yet] the cloud has brought so much innovation, the time to realise the benefits of technology is shrinking all the time.
Leading the pack
As mentioned earlier, Codec is held in high esteem with Microsoft with it being the current Microsoft country partner for two of the last three years and Dynamics 365 partner where it achieved best of for five out of the last six years.
Those awards are Microsoft’s way of saying Codec is the best partner in Ireland, and an important part of that is how it approaches the topic of ERP as well as its overall view of the space.
“We haven’t looked at ERP through the prism of ERP, we’ve looked at it through how a company can optimise processes across their whole operation,” he explains. “Past partners who won it would have been focused on one technology strand but for our award, Microsoft commented on… [how we’re] developing its platform across the board and adding new technologies.
“A lot of people talk about being the Microsoft partner of the future and I like to think we’re there and the challenge is making sure we stay there. There are a lot of good partners here but they don’t have the breadth or depth that we do in that space.”
Speaking of the future, Codec is in a strong position. It’s debt-free, it continues to grow and it’s expanding in Ireland and further afield. It does its planning in three-year cycles to help strike a balance between flexibility and achieving long-term objectives. Since things change quickly, it allows them the ability to tweak anything that isn’t working to achieve their goals.
For Roddy, growth isn’t highlighted by increasing revenue, but increasing headcount and market share. The ambition is to see the company double in size again as well as retaining and attracting the best talent out there, which is where its flexibility and culture come into play.
“We’re a 33-year-old business but we think like a 33-year-old startup,” he explains. “We did a survey with our company… and one of the big things that came out of it is we want to challenge, grow and enjoy.
“The second thing was, and I really liked this tagline, it was because we know more about the Microsoft platform… that we can do more for our customers so ‘know more, do more’. Then the last one came mainly from the technical people, they want to work on the coolest projects [where] cool to them is new technologies.
“A lot of the time, you’re selling not just your capabilities [to customers] but what you are as a company.”