Craig Finn spends his working life advising small business customers on the right technology for their needs. But Finn, who is managing director of Advantage Communications and Data, is also a small business operator who services customers and employs six mobile technicians and a couple of coordinators and sales staff.
As an experienced IT specialist, Finn knows the importance of installing software that makes businesses more efficient. “I don’t want to create silos of information,” he says. “I want information to flow. I only want to enter information once. [Technology] should be there to save time, not increase time.”
Finn has agreed to give us a tour of Advantage Communications and Data’s software suite, and how the pieces work together. He uses a range of software to show his customers how each component functions, and to see which ones would offer the best fit. But he’s also set it up like this because he knows it’s a system that works for him.
Accountancy software Xero and SalesForce are integrated within the Advantage Communications and Data system. This means that if an “opportunity” is created inside Xero, that opportunity is also created within SalesForce. “When you close the opportunity [make a sale],” Finn says, “you save it with Xero and it’ll create an invoice for you.”
Finn uses the cloud-based field management software to manage his team of technicians and sales staff. He’s able to assign them jobs and follow their progress and status at any time. Jobs can be reassigned or changed, in real time, and all customer details are at their fingertips. Like SalesForce, GeoService is fully integrated with Xero. “When you create an account in SalesForce, it then pushes it to Xero,” he says. “And then when you sync GeoService with Xero, you then get that account to cross into GeoService” This means that the customer’s details are only entered once, but that single account is available in the customer relations, job management, billing and invoicing systems.
While GeoService offers the best tool for job management and workforce productivity, navigational software Navman is ideal for vehicle and driver management. Advantage Communications and Data has integrated it with Xero and GeoService. “We use it to track our vehicles and find out where they’re up to,” Finn says.
Finn has a clear philosophy behind his chosen software solutions. “You want to make sure that the things you’re doing are trackable and repeatable.” He says it’s also important that the chosen software is scalable so it can be adjusted to fit with the changing number of customers and staff.
Having been down the path of developing his own systems, Finn says he is now happy to use software developed by others. “I’m just using industry-standard, off-the-shelf products,” he says. “I’ve just chosen the ones that work well together.”
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