Swindon FE College’s Journey to Cloud ERP
“Total cost of ownership for a true cloud solution is a key feature of Xledger and its ease of use. There are a lot of FE colleges that could benefit out there that currently use the old 90s style ERP systems.”
Original interview with Tim Hooper of Xledger UK and Jim Bridgeman (Swindon FE College Accountant)
Since on-boarding (Dec 2016), 1 Year on, Xledger visited Jim at Swindon FE College to learn how their journey to cloud ERP went. Swindon College is a further education (FE) college in Swindon. Its campus is at North Star, just outside the town centre. The college offers a range of full time courses from HNC/Ds and Foundation studies through to degree courses and a postgraduate programme.
The college prides itself in preparing students both for employment and for university study. Industry standard facilities include Engineering, Construction, Hospitality and Catering, Hairdressing, Beauty and Art and Design.
Swindon College came to Xledger in 2015, looking to overcome the challenges of their existing on-premise ERP system. Challenges faced by this FE college included:
- on-premise solution with archaic elements
- unfeasible development costs of their current provider
- the need to be browser based and on the web
- a lack of WIFI always-on connection (with backups) for continuity of service
- difficult workflow processes with IT specialists needed to work the system
- too many manual tasks within the finance team
- an inflexible system with custom installs
- an old fashioned interface
Xledger provided Swindon FE college with a cost-effective platform, no monthly tie-in and quarterly vendor-side updates. The approach used to on-board included:
- 1 consistent account manager
- a strong migration plan to deliver on
- an Xledger consultant and PM leading on implementation
“Xledger implementation went smoothly, we had one really good account manager from end to end. I liked the approach of having designated days and us going on site to learn something and having someone who kept to the timescales. The migration plan and project plan were very strong. We were happy with the way the migration went across.”
In Xledger they found true cloud and a consistent (end to end) customer journey with:
- deployed integrated system in the cloud
- agile forecasting system with easy to use navigation
- automated banking and accounting functions
- additional functionality for planning
- support and development with the Xledger team
- project accounting functionality
- reporting and analytics in real-time
- a system staff can all use easily
“We are capable and in control of our own product, whereas with previous system we were not. I don’t have to ask a specialist in IT to extract me data that I can’t drill down into. I don’t have to rely on an SQL specialist to do things for me. Xledger is great for speed of use. I find it much easier to get around than previous systems. The whole breadcrumb user navigation experience is a lot better too.”
What the client said
College Accountant Jim Bridgeman spoke of how the staff now work in new ways to empower their organisation;
- One of the strongest elements compared to other systems is the workflow capability.
- The large time saving features really changed the way our staff work on a day to day basis.
- The system is so flexible as it is true cloud you can access it anyway, anytime and any place.
- The new system has helped us to get timely and accurate information to make key decisions.
- Xledger has been a catalyst for us – a facilitator of digital change in our organisation.
- We get extremely timely responses back from our support team every time.
Why would you recommend Xledger
“Total cost of ownership is a key feature of Xledger. I think that will go for all colleges that purchase Xledger, and its ease of use. Key to us at the end of the day was success of the implementation process and delivery of the product, which you did really well. There are a lot of colleges that could benefit out there that currently use the old 90s style ERP systems.”
Being cloud, the system is more flexible and faster
“Xledger seems to work consistently on a much simpler set up. It actually achieves the workflow environment in comparison to some of the other products we have viewed, where there was an extensive amount of maintenance required to maintain the workflow environment. Xledger is browser based and uses hyperlinks in almost a ‘drag and drop’ situation – you can just point it and do it. With previous systems we used, we had to maintain workflow and it was very cumbersome to set up and maintain users, almost to the degree where it became onerous.”
“Our previous ERP required a huge amount of input time to maintain the work environment. Here there is a more logical thought process in terms of approval levels and status levels more so than some of the other products we viewed. I now have the workflow from end to end. A complete unified platform. No more bolt on products. It’s all within one product with only one source to go to. Purchasing and invoicing is all done in one place and that is within Xledger.”
Automation saves us time
“Treasury has impacted on us most so far. The fact that we have the semi-automated bank reconciliation process has meant that we are achieving better efficiency on that area and we have less overheads. That has been a big win area because of the pure automation within bank reconciliation. It used to be a huge manual process all of the time. The automation benefits of Xledger now allow me to reallocate staff to other areas.”
Insight and Scalability – real-time visibility is a real step change
“We will link to our student EBS system soon so that we pass data across to them to keep the ledgers in check. Also the WPM product, where students do payments with their credit cards through a portal. That data is being manually entered at the moment. I see that uplifted without the manual intervention of having to run an FTP system to get those files across. There’s a lot we can do within Xledger to make the whole operation of the college much better.”
Support services at Xledger – extremely timely responses every time
“We have had a consistent end to end relationship with our Project Manager Fleur Creed. Everything has been delivered on time and the support we received since has been great too.”
“Xledger is easy to nagivate around. I have a good generic team in-house and it is simple enough to get around without having expertise of that system. You can drill down and put things straight into Excel, whereas with previous systems this was not the case. Xledger is standardised and easy to get around. I can tailor the menu system so that when the next release comes out we can go to another level again.”
Get in touch
If you are struggling with an old financial management system or are unhappy with your current ERP system, why not get in touch to see how we can help?
Request a no fee no obligation consultation by email or ring our team of experts on 0117 3291050.