As part of our “Partnering for Excellence Best Practice Sharing” interview series, I took the opportunity to sit down with Aleksandar Radenkovic, CEO of XsolveIT to discuss why they have invested heavily in their back office and what, if any, difference it has made to their business.
XsolveIT are based in Belgium and are a Xerox Concessionaire. Here is the video interview and you can read the transcript below the video.
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Nick Bridge (NB)
One of the things I’m hearing is that you’ve invested something like two hundred thousand Euros in your back office infrastructure. Tell me, what made you do that?
Aleksandar Radenkovic (AR)
We came from two companies, with fifteen people each, so we merged into one company with thirty people. When you manage a company of fifteen people, it’s different to when you have to a manage a company of thirty people. I think the bigger it gets, the more professionalism you need.
Like cash flow, like automation, like understanding your business – better and more professional based on more facts and figures – instead of gut feeling. This is the reason I decided to invest quite heavily in ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
Bringing two businesses together you’ve got I guess, two different invoicing systems – can you just explain a little more about what you have done around the invoicing and the relationship that has with your customers?
By developing this new ERP system, now we are totally flexible with our sales force the primary force and the back office the secondary force, following and not restricting the salesforce – you understand? Flexibility, ease of use and automation.
If you picked two or three of the key things that you thought, these are the things I really need to consider when I’m implementing a back office infrastructure, can you just explain from your point of view, what they are and why they are important.
I think we are treating something around 50,000 invoices per year. We have been doing most of these things manually, so it is clearly not manageable anymore and many mistakes come into it.
So a full control and automated control of invoices. The invoices that come in from Xerox to us as a partner, are fully automatically controlled and checked versus the similar / same customer invoice going out.
The second part in fact, that I’ve mentioned already, is the full flexibility, you know, we are able to have some revenues which we weren’t able to have before.
We talk about back office infrastructure and we tend to think about systems like billing etc. Then we start to think sort about customer facing and we start to think about things like customer relationship management and sort of sales management process. What have you done in terms of the infrastructure to support that?
We had a different interface for our accountancy, we had a different interface for the back office itself, and we had a different interface for our CRM or customer relationship management, which our salesforce uses.
This has all become one interface and they have in fact – everybody in the organisation has, one single interface – a three sixty view on all of the business. The more information you can put in it, I would say the more chance you have to lose yourself.
We want our sales to focus on what they have to do – so that’s selling and not administration, or outlook, excel sheets when the sales manager or somebody else wants to have a helicopter view of the business – its generated without harassing our sales force – these are some examples of what we’ve done.
From a return and a business point of view – what are you seeing back in terms of results on that?
We have now really a firm control – and I would say that our loss rate is extremely low which is very positive, so this is one thing, and together with other things is ensuring that we have a better, stable and a firmer grip on not only the sales, but on the total package – the three sixty package
Brilliant – so business results as well. How are your salespeople, how is the motivation of your sales people, how have they reacted to the implementation of these systems?
Well, as [with] any change, I don’t think there are too many people who are eager to have some change in the business, but now after having worked with it for a while now they are very, very happy
Thanks for your time this afternoon Aleksandar!
Investing in your back-office
Whilst on the face of it, investing so much in the back office can be daunting for any business – especially when you could use that money for a bigger sales team, or other revenue generating activities. For XsolveIT, not only has this bold step simplified their systems, it has also reduced mistakes and reduced costs. In addition, it has helped the sales force do what they do best – sell.
I Congratulate Aleksandar and the XsolveIT team. They have used the potentially disruptive merger as a springboard to make big changes to their infrastructure and they are now reaping the rewards.
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