Crocus Consulting (www.crocus-consulting.com), an Oracle Gold Partner and the UK’s most experienced PeopleSoft consultancy is citing its experience of delivering inexpensive software upgrades as the driving force behind record growth over the last twelve months. Crocus CEO Chris Smith believes that building a dedicated PeopleSoft upgrade team, with a successful track record, lies at the heart of the company’s success; which has been achieved in defiance of the current UK economic backdrop.
Refusing to admit this had been a tall order to achieve, Smith notes; “Although IT budgets are under pressure, our customers are looking for quality of delivery and certainty of costs. We have developed a new and exciting approach, which dramatically reduces the costs and cuts the timescales of upgrading PeopleSoft systems. This innovative technique has proved so popular that we have recruited five new PeopleSoft consultants last month alone to cope with the demand.”
Crocus has many years experience of upgrading PeopleSoft systems, whether Financials, HCM or Global Payroll. The new approach evolved from the company’s ongoing determination to identify ways of giving customers greater value for money. Smith, who is often asked “How much of a factor is experience?” comments; “We have now used our many man years of experience to create an Upgrade Laboratory at our offices in Leicester. With this in place, we can now say to our customers, let us take away a copy of your PeopleSoft system, upgrade it to the latest release using our unique process and methodology and return it to you for testing.”
Crocus is able to mix and match the way that it performs the upgrades. It will for example take into account how much technical involvement the customer wants. The real cost saving to the customer comes from Crocus doing all the technical heavy lifting and upgrading the system in situ, whilst leaving the data intact as the system is rebuilt around it.
How different is this approach to what other companies can offer? Well in Smith’s view; “The unique Crocus Upgrade Lab delivers risk free upgrades that are low maintenance and cost effective. We will analyse your system upfront and give you a fixed price for the upgrade. Upgrading PeopleSoft systems the Crocus way has slashed the costs by up to half, yes half. We also offer the option to host the new version for our customers, further reducing the cost of the project and reducing the ongoing cost of ownership.
“Spending time with our customers understanding what they really want from a software version upgrade clearly makes sense. Top of the list is nearly always the need to be on a supported version of the software. Customers will also acknowledge that the latest software version will be more compliant and less exposed to security vulnerabilities if sitting on the more advanced technology platforms. If you are a Global Payroll customer staying on a supported version becomes a necessity."
Through its upgrade lab, Crocus seeks to work extremely closely with its customers in making sound decisions on how to take advantage of the new functionality on offer through upgrading. Such decisions often lead to modifying or changing traditional business processes. An example of the upgrade opportunities available is seen with the Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) suite which integrates seamlessly with PeopleSoft 9.1.
As Smith says; “Our customers know that when they upgrade to PeopleSoft 9.1 they have the option to consider using the new Oracle Business Intelligence software which runs on the same platform. However, we were conscious that evaluating the dashboard analytics options could add time and expense to an upgrade project. We set ourselves the task of finding a helpful solution for our customers that would once again reduce the costs of upgrading.”
Smith admits to a lifetime aversion to salesmen and believes the new upgrade methodology is an antidote for customers who feel the same, adding; “I have spent a lot of time in sales demos being talked to death by salesmen trying to sell me a product. I wanted to find a way of giving PeopleSoft customers access to the software in a non sales environment where they could judge for themselves how good a fit the new functionality really is for their business”
As Crocus has developed a test-drive facility which hosts the latest PeopleSoft versions of Financials, HCM, Payroll and OBIEE (Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition), PeopleSoft customers can experiment and play with the software as they wish. Crocus product consultants are on hand to help and to give advice if the customer wants it.
Says Smith; “The new test drive facility is available free of charge to all PeopleSoft customers. It enables them to have hands on experience with any of the latest product versions and not a salesman in sight. With OBIEE for example, our customers will effectively experience a mini training course in which they will be able to take a tour through the delivered analytics dashboards. They will be able to build reports and then create dashboards to which the newly created reports will be added.”
Crocus believes that with the new methodology in place, upgrading PeopleSoft systems to the latest release may not be as expensive as customers first thought. Having pioneered these new approaches and techniques, Smith is confident in the future, adding; “The fact the Crocus are expanding faster than any time previously in our history suggests that we might have got it right.”
Notes to Editors:
About Crocus Consulting (www.crocus-consulting.com)
Crocus Consulting was formed in November 2000 by four of the most experienced ERP consultants in the UK. Crocus is a certified partner of both Oracle and Microsoft.
Crocus has three strands to its business:
Application support centres based in Milton Keynes and Leicester
A consulting division delivering I.T. projects to large businesses
A software sales division concentrating on delivering effective solutions to small and medium enterprises
The company’s proven experience, combining technology, business and management expertise, enables clients to minimise disruption and gain maximum competitive advantage from implementation.