Electrical contractor Home Installations Ltd is about to take its IT systems into the cloud with the help of Sage Business Partner Pinnacle. The move will provide greater visibility of the company’s large-scale, long-term customer projects, and enable site-based managers working hundreds of miles from the company’s Reading office to input and access project-related data.
Home Installations began the search for a more powerful solution in June. While the business is a long-standing user of a Sage 50 accounting package, it was never a foregone conclusion that the upgrade would be within the Sage range. However, as Graeme Heath, Director, says: “We undertook a thorough review, only to find that Sage 200 wrapped everything we needed in the way of financials, commercials and project accounting into a single integrated solution, with the option of a cloud-based deployment – Sage 200 Online. Nothing on the market that we have seen compares with it. Having already experienced the benefits of cloud-based data storage and email, finding a cloud-based business management solution was absolutely critical for us.”
Explaining how Sage 200 Online fits the company’s requirements, Graeme Heath notes: “We want to avoid the cost and effort of running an in-house IT infrastructure and to give our on-site managers easier access to business applications and data. Sage 200 Online offers all this, in effect providing remote offices. Our managers will be authorised to access information on the system via a web browser. They’ll be able to enter project-related materials and labour costs and raise a pro-forma invoice for the works completed on their iPhone or laptop, rather than sending the information back to the Reading office by email, fax and phone.”
The majority of the company’s 30-strong workforce is based on multiple customer sites: “Our managers are quite excited about the prospect of having greater responsibility for their projects, while Sage 200 Online will replace the slow, laborious process of having an office-based team duplicating effort by rekeying information into another system.”
With data reliably flowing in from remote sites across the country into a single system, Home Installations directors will gain greater visibility and control of the business: “We’ll be able to monitor this information to stay in tune with the business, and pre-empt any issues before they can escalate. This is vitally important in the construction industry where operating conditions can change very rapidly. There will be a dramatic impact on timescales and the quality of reporting. Currently data submitted in April might emerge in our June reports – a time lag of six to eight weeks. With Sage 200 Online, directors will have the data from all customer sites available every Friday and will be able to see how the business has done that week, from the office, from home, even sitting on the beach, which is pretty impressive.”
The company’s overheads will also decrease: “At present, using largely manual systems we might need 5 or 6 administrators to support 30 people working on-site, a 20% overhead. This will be avoided with Sage 200 Online, which allows us to expand our field-based teams without increasing the headcount at our Reading office. We’re also looking forward to removing a mountain of paper documents to become almost paperless. It would have been pointless upgrading to an office-based, ‘on premise’ Sage system. Cloud is definitely the way forward for a business like ours with a largely remote workforce.”
In choosing a Sage solution, Home Installations approached Sage Business Partner Pinnacle. Graeme Heath says: “Pinnacle has been fantastic, listening carefully to what the business needs and demonstrating how Sage 200 Online would meet our requirements. With the decision made, we are now quickly moving forward together on the implementation.”
For Pinnacle, Business Development Director Richard Sadler comments: “We are looking forward to working with Home Installations to deliver a solution that will support the business over the long term and enable Graeme and his fellow directors to grow the business profitably and efficiently in the years ahead.”