Saving Time and Money

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted 2007-03-08 Print this article Print

Start with your sales operation. Add fast-deploying applications. Then drop the maintenance costs. Could this be a recipe for the end of software as we know it?

Saving Time and Money

Reduced maintenance costs and quick deployment were important to Nicholas Kontopoulos, director of sales management for Capita Group, a London-based management consultancy, but so was the ability to change his mind.

As of early 2006, according to Kontopoulos, Capita's salespeople managed their own accounts on individual laptops, and managers aggregated the data by business unit on spreadsheets. "But we couldn't see the whole pipeline, in terms of what was coming through and what was working out," he says.

At first, Kontopoulos leaned toward an on-premise suite from SAP. But when the German software giant informed him it was releasing an on-demand suite, Capita became its first European customer, going live in April 2006. One driving factor was cost: Kontopoulos says the hosted version cost about $200,000 to $300,000 less than the in-house offering.

Also, they could quickly decide if the software was right for them—without having to go a year or longer deploying an on-premise solution. "Because we hadn't done this before, I was quite keen to run with a solution that could be shut off if it didn't work for us and not be left with a huge cost," he says.

Pulling together the individually kept records used to require four hours per month each from 10 to 15 staffers, a total of 40 to 60 hours spent on reporting alone. Today, scattered sales representatives enter sales figures directly into the SAP system, which automatically aggregates them across the company's units, producing reports instantly.

Having those reports at the snap of a finger not only helps Capita's operations, Kontopoulos says, but it adds to collaboration with clients: "That's where you drive out the savings: that unseen cost that managers don't see."

Associate Editor

Brian joined Baseline in March 2006. In addition to previous stints at Inter@ctive Week and The Net Economy, he's written for The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., as well as The Sunday Tribune in Dublin, Ireland. Brian has a B.A. from Bucknell University and a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.


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