Codestone Customer Day 2019 at the “Home of Football”.
Wembley Stadium, 6th February 2019
A manufacturing firm in Dubai using drones to stocktake and send data to their SAP system in real time? A retail business using facial recognition in combination with data on customer buying preferences to make personalised offers at an in-store retail beacon? This is not some futuristic fantasy: these are real stories about how SME’s are finding new, creative ways of working thanks to SAP and Microsoft technologies.
“New ways of working” was a key theme at the Codestone Customer Day this year. With the awe-inspiring backdrop of the iconic Wembley Stadium on a crisp winter’s morning, CEO Jeremy Bucknell and CCO Dan Hobson welcomed 200 guests including technology partners, current clients and prospects to our 4th annual customer day.
The last 12 months have been the most successful in Codestone’s history. We’ve grown 11.8% reaching £12.6m revenue and partnering with 41 new customers. Finishing 2018 top in revenue (to SAP) and top in new customer acquisition (to SAP), we’ve worked hard to earn the accolade of being the #1 SAP Business One Partner in the UK.
With a new 5-year plan, the strength and depth of a team of 110 people and a big future focus on customer satisfaction, Codestone is well positioned to fulfil our ambition of being the UK’s leading independent SAP and Cloud Infrastructure Solution Provider to the SME & Mid-Market.
For a record year, it was fitting to have a special guest with his own historic record: Sir Geoff Hurst MBE, the only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final when England won 4–2 against West Germany at the old Wembley Stadium in 1966. With self-deprecating wit in a talk peppered with anecdotes, Sir Geoff was clear: it’s not about the hat trick – it’s about the team winning. When asked by the audience what he felt about the changes that have taken place in the world of football over the years he responded: “How do you deal with change?
Change happens and will continue to happen. Accept it and move on with it. It’s attitude that is important.”
He could have just as easily been talking about changes in technology.
Global Head of Marketing for SAP Business One and Business ByDesign Paulo Almeida reflected on how SAP Business One has evolved over the last two decades to serve SMEs globally. His Ted-style talk looked at how the digital era is evolving into the intelligence era. Today’s technology does three things. It empowers teams to do more with less by freeing them from uninspiring, repetitive manual tasks. As Almeida says, “with motivation comes profitability”. Secondly tech today allows teams to create a “What if…” scenario. Being able to predict different outcomes means being more prepared to help customers solve problems faster, giving them a better customer experience. Finally, technology allows organisations to be more agile. With the right type of insights at their fingertips decision-making is faster and more confident. Ultimately, we don’t know where technology will take us, but we do know we need to be ready.
Technology fuelling growth
“96% of small and medium sized businesses recognise that the Finance role is key to growth.” More and more finance teams are prioritising cash flow and reducing cost. However, they are working in an environment that is challenged by ever-changing regulations, complexities in VAT rules, fluxes in currencies and internal processes that are slow and bureaucratic, for example expenses that are put through internal approval processes. It’s hard, slow work that can take up to 70 hours a month. In this environment, how do you capture spending information easily to create insights so you can make smarter decisions and access rich management intelligence? Tim Page Senior Director, Head of Partnerships and Alliances at SAP Concur made the case for using SAP Concur to track employee and travel expenses. He also explained how Concur can streamline company spend- in all its forms- to improve productivity and work more efficiently helping businesses achieve their cash flow and cost reduction targets.
More productivity in collaboration
Simon Fenech, Account Director at Codestone gave an overview of how modern teams are working together. The world of work has changed. 45% of employees are using social platforms at work and for the first time ever the workplace has four different generations to cater for. It’s important to allow users to decide how they want to communicate. However, with four out of five working days dedicated to working with others, sharing files and providing feedback, businesses need to provide a platform for collaboration. If they don’t, employees will naturally revert to systems like dropbox or WhatsApp that are out of your IT department’s remit. “Shadow IT” creates issues with compliance and huge security risks. Using Microsoft’s office 365 Teams app provides a focused space and conversation thread for users where they can share and edit files online both from a desktop and mobile. It’s a cost-effective way to enable new ways of working, accelerate decision-making and leverage intelligence.
Once the keynote talks were over, attendees were able to network over lunch before choosing to attend a variety of break-out sessions.
Codestone’s customer day was supported by technology vendors such as Concur that are changing the way we work and helping us work smarter. Customers able to network and find out more from the day’s sponsors who also included GeoPal, Netalogue, Codeless Platforms, InnovationScouts, BI360 and NetEDI. The afternoon sessions consisted of interactive workshops that took a closer look at each solution.
For new customers and prospects, it was an ideal opportunity to hear from two very different Codestone clients about their SAP / Codestone journey: Paul Oakley, Finance Director from fast-growing firm Tristel and Steve Gray, Group IT Manager at Hydreco Hydraulics. For Hydreco the key factor was speed of implementation combined with low running costs. For Tristel, implementing SAP Business One has made them more efficient and better at reporting. They liked that it is flexible, has a multi-lingual interface and gives them real-time access to data.
For both businesses the key was to go through business process owners to identify needs, build the solution and then test, test and test again. They couldn’t stress more the importance of master data. Training too was a key component as was building a close relationship to benefit from the knowledge and experience at Codestone.
Getting the most from your investment
The remaining afternoon sessions were aimed at helping customers get the most from their investment with valuable tips and tricks to work more efficiently. Codestone’s Service Desk Manager Stuart Ravelin explained how our support offering works and how to obtain the most efficient resolutions to your incidents both in terms of time and finance. John Treweeks and Hanif Jetha, Senior Consultants at Codestone, gave a live Demo showing features that enable more interaction, more visibility with HANA: graphs, analytics, workflows and reports in personalised dashboards. Codestone’s David Thorne and SAP Solution Specialist Adam Lalor gave a couple of sessions on Business ByDesign looking at how small process changes can make a big difference to how people use the system more efficiently. They also looked at the latest innovations in personalised
dashboards and mobile.
Making the most of cloud
Consultancy Team Leader at Codestone, Elliott Mitchelmore took customers through the decision-making process demonstrating which parts of their business would benefit most from using the cloud. The session explored Codestone’s own cloud platform and Azure and why companies are using one or the other, or both together, to manage their business.
On the topic of new ways of working, SAP solutions experts Diplan Shah and Frederic Bada took their session attendees through the plans SAP has to evolve SAP Business One 9.3 to help businesses be compliant with the UK governments digital tax systems which comes into force in 2020. SAP has been hugely committed to developing the product to become one of the market leaders in this space.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it
Ultimately, business intelligence comes from reporting the right kind of metrics and ensuring they are available to the right people when they need it. Having confidence that data is 100% accurate so you can make informed decisions is fundamental to the success of any business. Codestone’s Senior Consultant and qualified accountant David Brown outlined what businesses need to do to become “report ready” and demonstrated a range of reporting options in SAP Business One.
Between break-out sessions, guests at Codestone’s Customer Day were invited to join a behind-the-scenes tour of Wembley stadium including the Dressing Rooms, the Press Conference Room, Players’ Tunnel, Pitch side and the iconic Royal Box.
The day set out to inspire, inform, advise and build relationships. Customer feedback from the day suggests we scored a winner!