VOGSY launches: a mobile first ERP solution for professional services

30 November 2016 Consultancy.uk

A new, mobile first Google business app for the professional services industry has been launched. Targeted at mid-market players, the solution, named VOGSY, aims at revamping the way consulting, marketing and technology firms manage projects and internal operations through an approach that taps into the power of mobile, social and artificial intelligence to provide a cutting edge user experience and more efficient products, so the developers state.

The rise of technology and social media platforms is transforming the way businesses are being run. Across industries the transition, in some cases disruption, is fully visible – from Uber in the taxi market and Booking.com in the travel industry to Airbnb in the holiday rental space. The professional services industry however remains relatively traditional when it comes to change, in particular when it comes to managing internal operations. The majority of activities related to key internal tasks such as account management, customer relationship management, project delivery, as well as the entire back-end process supporting execution, still overwhelmingly take place in ERP systems or legacy landscapes.

And whilst advances have been made towards web- and cloud-based working, major disruption looming around the corner has in the eyes of analysts not yet kicked in. 

VOGSY: a Google business app

In a bid to fill the gap, and potentially become the next Uber of internal operations for consulting groups, a handful of players across the globe have, in recent years, developed new offerings and solutions. The latest to push into the space is VOGSY, an initiative from AllSolutions, a Netherlands-based ERP software provider founded more than twenty five years ago. The solution however brings a novel edge to the table – VOGSY is the first to be based entirely on G Suite; Google's software ecosystem, formerly known as Google Apps for Work. "Google is the global powerhouse of innovation", explains VOGSY's CEO Leo Koster on the decision to embrace Google technology as its backbone.

VOGSY

Koster says that over the past years he observed that there is a growing mismatch between what existing solutions deliver versus the standards demanded by markets and consumers. "Markets are changing, people work in radically different ways. Old solutions are not addressing the needs and requirements of the new world, which is mobile, social and knowledge-driven. VOGSY is designed to make the daily work for professionals, managers, sales reps and back-officers simple and nice", he states.

The solution sets itself apart from the crowd through a number of features, Koster remarks. At the heart of VOGSY is its 100% mobile first approach to interfaces and tasks, as well as its mobile optimised design, which to a large extent has been inspired by the make-up of social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram and Google+. The firm has also introduced machine learning into its engine, enabling the solution to think for and with users, down the line inciting them to take the right decisions, a feat which, according to the creators, bolsters the "self-organising" capacities within an organisation's ranks.

The CEO highlights that the solution enables stakeholders to run their business with a more efficient overhead, with lower total costs of ownership vis a vis current offerings – and that all against a backdrop of a higher ease of use and client satisfaction. 

Mid-market focus in professional services

As it stands, VOGSY is geared at the professional services market, with a further focus on mid-sized organisations in the range of between 50 FTE's and roughly 5,000 FTE's. From a functional perspective, the solution centres around the quote-to-cash process, end-to-end, from client engagement to project delivery and back office execution. "It is our mission to provide professional services with the best tooling and solutions for creating seamless, highly automated quote-to-cash processes in order to become and stay agile, adaptive, scalable and data-driven", says Koster.

VOGSY ERP solution

In the run up to the formal launch VOGSY worked with a number of pilot and launching customers, and on the back of the broader go-live, the company is seeking to ramp up its frontiers. In Q1 2017, VOGSY will be available in the G Suite Marketplace and by then the firm aims at having a partner network in place to support technology implementations and migrations.

From Google's perspective, the launch of VOGSY has been welcomed with enthusiasm. The search engine giant finds itself in fierce competition with ERP providers, including the likes of mammoths SAP and Oracle, US rivals Microsoft and Salesforce, and a range of other players. VOGSY is the first Google business app for professional services that has come onto the market, a development which Google hopes will pave the way for more solutions to follow suit. "The professional services industry is important to Google because the sector has a strong appetite for innovation. We are excited about the launch of VOGSY because it extends G Suite with a full-fledged business app for professional services", remarks Erik de Muinck Keijzer, Country Manager Google Cloud for the Benelux region.

In the coming few days Consultancy.uk will take a closer look at the solution and sit down with CEO Leo Koster and a number of VOGSY's team members to find out more about the product's key features and benefits. The findings will be posted in a follow-up article next week.

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First Consulting helps BDO to build new RPA capability with UiPath

22 March 2019 Consultancy.uk

Global accounting and consulting firm BDO is working on its own digital transformation, as it looks to pioneer the use of Robotic Process Automation in its work. Business consultancy First Consulting is helping BDO with designing the RPA journey and building its internal RPA capability.

Robotic Process Automation describes a process that utilises software programmed to autonomously carry out basic tasks across applications, reducing the burden of repetitive, simple tasks on employees.  Able to be developed and deployed in a matter of weeks, RPA is highly cost-effective and can typically demonstrate returns on investment within a few months. It has been known to dramatically improve the speed and accuracy of processing, resulting in a quicker and higher quality of service to customers.

Last year, BDO explored the value of Robotic Process Automation, concluding the technology has the capacity to bolster the firm’s service offerings as well as internal operations. On the back of this analysis, the professional services firm incorporated RPA into its ICT strategy for the coming years. This has already seen the first robot delivered at BDO, which has since been taken into use by the business.

First Consulting helps BDO to build new RPA capability with UiPath

First Consulting is advising BDO on all aspects of deploying and scaling up the technology across the organisation – from capability building, governance structure and processes to architecture and IT infrastructure. The joint team of BDO and First Consulting have, meanwhile, also taken the first steps to set up an internal RPA capability.

BDO faces a key year for its operations, particularly in the UK where it has recently become the fifth largest provider of audit and advisory services in the country. As the firm looks to further grow its junior auditing market lead over the Big Four, the effective deployment of innovations such as RPA could prove key in the coming period.

With RPA on board, BDO’s ICT department aims at increasing the satisfaction of employees by removing a range of often boring (repetitive, administrative) tasks. By automating such tasks, productivity can also be increased at the professional services firm, as its staff will be freed up to spend more time performing value-adding activities. On top of this, RPA can execute tasks and processes with a lower margin of error compared to humans, enhancing BDO’s internal operations.

Working with RPA vendor UiPath, during the project at BDO, First Consulting has sought to apply its best practice RPA growth model methodology. The approach differentiates between three different growth phases, starting with RPA, structuring RPA, and scaling RPA.

Project results are delivered through an agile approach. According to the engagement partners, the following results were achieved in a period of six weeks:

  • Developed a first robot process that directly creates value for the business and contributes to the 360 degree customer view by migrating information from two systems to another system;
  • Advice and implementation plan on the technical design in relation to RPA, ICT guidelines, a security questionnaire and a basic infrastructure;
  • A roadmap for setting up an internal RPA capability, including the following components: processes & governance, change management and capability building & training;
  • Plan for setting up benefits tracking / monitoring as well as reusability of robot process components.

So far, First Consulting and BDO have enjoyed a pleasant and productive cooperation, achieving “tangible results” along the way. According to First Consulting’s team engaged by the project, the close match between the firms’ norms and values proved a key success factor. In the coming period, First Consulting and BDO are investigating opportunities to develop a digital capability in other areas of BDO’s business.

Roel van Overdam, Head of RPA at First Consulting, said of the collaboration, “Our pragmatic, no-nonsense approach has clearly paid off.”

Related: First Consulting: Is RPA implementation going in the right direction?