Raven Housing Trust has completed the implementation of a new e-procurement system from Sapphire Systems, using iPOS from SunSystems for financial management and Kontrolla for document management. Raven said that the implementation took three months and cost a total of around £90,000, comprising £80,000 capital costs and the balance as operational costs.
Antony Green, IT manager, Raven Housing Trust, said, “We had a paper-based system that wasn’t scalable, was resource intensive, not as secure as we wanted it to be and was susceptible to human error. Furthermore, there were concerns that there were no active controls to ensure compliance – for example, individuals could sign off larger amounts of money than they were authorised to.”
Documotive, iSoft (now part of Capita) and Serengeti Systems were short-listed alongside Sapphire, itself a supplier to Raven since 2002 with systems including Infor FMS SunSystems implemented and supported by Sapphire.
Referring to Raven’s final choice of Sapphire, Green explained, “We liked the fact that iPOS and Kontrolla would integrate seamlessly with SunSystems and Vision, and that Sapphire would be able to implement and manage it all. The Sapphire solutions were competitively priced and have been successfully implemented at larger organisations than Raven with more users, so we were confident that the systems are scalable.”
The Sapphire implementation encompasses 80 budget requisitioners and 33 budget holders, of which 10-15 are logged on at any one time, spread across two sites with the option of remote working also available.
Green said, “All the background information has been defined, expense codes have been fixed and who should have access to what is set. I’m very happy with the way things are working and it’s good to have an accurate creditor list.” Other benefits reported by Raven include greater financial, budgetary and expenditure control, reductions in manual errors, fewer administrative overheads, better compliance, lower costs and an eventual planned move to a paper-less office.
Green said, “Use of the systems is very logical and it’s relatively easy to train new users. An hour or so of training is sufficient for most users, with the administrative team requiring less than a day. We produced a user guide for internal use; the solutions are very customisable, so we wanted something specific.”
For others considering implementing similar systems, Green said, “If you don’t think secure purchasing processes and document management are applicable to your organisation, do a study of the paper trail behind your finance systems. Make sure there is no room for fraud – though not a problem for us, it’s a lot more prevalent than you might think and one instance can have extensive implications for the business.”