Evolution Security needed to combine its financial & CRM functions, to better manage quoting & installation of complex security systems, & ensure up-to-date accounting.
Evolution Security Systems do not talk much about their customers – its work is just too sensitive. “They’re people who have to spend money on security because it’s the nature of their business, rather than a nice-to-have,” explains Evolution’s Managing Director, Richard Lambert.
What Richard will say is that they include multi-national companies in the UK and Europe, Ministry of Defence establishments, and VIPs with large country estates. Evolution installs access control, intruder alert and closed-circuit TV systems. Its current annual turnover of £9m is expected to double over the next five years. However, it needed to replace its existing business systems with something that would provide accurate cost quoting and invoicing, closely integrated with intelligent financial management and analysis.
“Prerogative listened to the concerns that we had and did a very good job.”
After evaluating products including Epicor, Pegasus, and Access Accounting, Greentree and its implementation partner, Prerogative, were Evolution’s choice.
Evolution supplies state-of-the-art equipment, including proximity card, biometric, fingerprint and retina-recognition technology for access control. Its CCTV monitoring systems use internet protocol (IP) recording – an area in which it was a pioneer. Digital recording means intruders can be more easily detected, and often identified. “This is now a standard for security,” Richard says, “but we were one of the first demonstrators of its benefits.”
Many of Evolution’s customers need monitoring or access control on multiple sites, often from one central point. The equipment requires numerous parts, as well as regular maintenance and quick fault response.
Growing apart – and too many parts
But while Evolution is a leader in security technology, its business systems were more than a decade old, and showing it. One system was doing the financial side, and another was handling CRM and quoting.
“We couldn’t link the two systems,” Richard says, “and as time went on they just grew further and further apart.” The biggest headache came from duplication in the parts lists. One part tended to acquire different part numbers, depending on which system it had been entered in, or even which person had made the entry. Evolution ended up with a list of 9-10,000 parts, when the actual number was about half that.
The discrepancies in the parts numbers brought the risk of supplying a job quote with parts that were obsolete. Such errors could impact directly on the bottom line.
What’s more, Evolution faced delays finding out what the bottom line actually was. “Continually I was hearing people say, ‘I haven’t got those figures for you because so-and-so hasn’t done this or that’,” Richard recalls. “Sometimes I wasn’t getting the first-quarter figures till the beginning of the third. That’s a scary place to be.”
Clear path to implementation
Evolution began its journey to Greentree by bringing in business consultant Nav Ali to assess its business processes and identify its core needs. Nav was retained as manager for the software implementation. Prerogative provided a clearly documented timeline for a project that was expected to be complete in three months.
“I was encouraged by the fact that they gave us a clear path, and led us through the process in a very user friendly way,” says Nav.
“We always make it clear to our clients that we want them to take ownership of the system,” says Prerogative project manager, Bernie Small. “We’re the experts and we want to extend that expertise to them, so they can then manage the system going forward.”
“We overran the schedule by about a month,” Nav recalls, “but I think the process end to end was very well carried out. I liked the fact that it was open to change rather than being prescriptive. The important factor was not to disrupt Evolution’s business, and I think we achieved that.”
Prerogative scored 8/10 from Evolution for its project management, and 9/10 for its attitude and response to problems. “They were very professional in the way they worked with us,” says Richard. “They listened to the concerns that we had, and did a very good job.”
“I think it went really well,” adds Bernie. “It was great to work with them because they kept their eyes on the rewards their new system would deliver.”
One system, one truth
With Greentree, Evolution now has live visibility on its jobs, preventing duplication and potential errors. “They’ve got one version of the truth when moving from a quote to an order to an installation,” says Nav. “They’re also no longer just reacting to error reports, which means better decision-making.”
Accurate costing of live projects could take up to one and a half days, sorting out the discrepancies between the data in the two disparate systems. “These problems were definitely costing us money,”adds Richard. “At the touch of a button we can now see where we are with a cost on a job. Our accounts department is saving an hour on each payment run to a supplier. I can also see at a glance how much we’ve got in the bank, what we owe and what is owing to us.
“We’re expecting massive time and cost savings.”
Founded in 1996 Evolution is one of the UK’s leading qualified and accredited security and fire systems integrators. Bringing together high-end security and fire solutions they’re an IT-centric team, delivering IP-based systems to help customers to protect and manage their staff and other assets through the use of technology.
- Live visibility on its jobs, preventing duplication & potential errors
- Better decision-making – they’ve now got one version of the truth when moving from a quote to an order to installation
- Accurate quoting, part duplications issues are eliminated, & financial data is available at a glance – “We’re expecting massive time and cost savings.”