Print.IT Reseller - issue 110

01732 759725 DEALER PROFILE 34 Paul Clarke The whole workflow was time-intensive, inefficient and prone to human error. In fact, it typically took us three to four days to complete the invoicing process each month Shrewsbury-based United-UK Technology Limited provides MPS, IT support, and cyber security consultancy services, to SMBs nationwide. With a goal to improve internal efficiency and streamline and improve critical business workflows, the company worked with Business I.T. Systems’ (BITS), to customise its flagship MPS solution to support the business’ specific requirements Improving efficiency in particular around managing different types of contracts as well as streamlining and automating the billing process. BITS is committed to listening to customer needs and creating and adapting solutions to suit where required. For United-UK Technology one issue was the fact that in addition to traditional MPS agreements, it runs TVP (Total Volume Plan) contracts which cover printer hire and service charges as well as a cost per print, for an agreed number of prints, over the lifetime of the contract. “We needed some customisation to the platform to support that and BITS were really happy to accommodate us. There are also instances where a customer has only printed a few pages for example, and raising an invoice for a nominal amount is cost-prohibitive and counter-intuitive. BITS built functionality whereby data streams with anomalies are highlighted in different colourways so we can check them before generating a bill,” Clarke explained. Automated billing OneStop MPS Portal uses the data it collects to generate periodic billing – a bi-directional link means all data captured by OneStop MPS Portal is available to export and be used by accounting systems, such as Sage or Xero. “What makes OneStop MPS Portal stand out is that it also enables contracts to be created and holds all of the contract information. The DCA links to a contract, collects the meter reading and generates the monetary amount, that then gets pushed to our accounting system which creates the customer invoice – all of which makes for a much more streamlined process. It’s the only solution that does all of that,” Clarke said. Ease of use One of the biggest business benefits has been ease of use. “The legacy system was so complex that we only had one person in the business who knew how to do the invoice run, and that meant we needed a workaround if they were on holiday. The OneStop MPS Portal is so intuitive that anyone can use it, which is a huge value-add,” he added. “What’s more, the platform can be completely hands-off, so whilst for now I like to check the monetary value in OneStop before pushing the data to our accounting system, I can set it up so that invoices are automatically generated on the last day of the month without any manual intervention whatsoever.” United-UK Technology plans to make use of additional features within the platform in the coming months, including stock management and job ticketing. The company will also leverage the platform to gain control over consumables and parts stock levels held across multiple locations. Bidirectional feeds connect dealers and their suppliers, providing a live feed of current stock prices and levels, meaning inventories are always up-to-date. Once the job ticketing functionality is switched on, United-UK Technology will be able to calculate the overall profitability of individual contracts leveraging data that drills down to the device level. “We are excited about that, it will open up opportunities to re-engage with customers and provide them with solutions to rationalise and optimise their print fleets, as well as secure new and more profitable revenue for United-UK Technology moving forward,” Clarke concluded. United-UK Technology has used BITS’ OneStop MPS Portal for over ten years. Managing Director Paul Clarke said that the company initially leveraged the platform’s ability to automatically collect meter readings and consumable levels from devices under contract, to enable accurate invoicing and proactive supplies replenishment. “OneStop MPS Portal sat in the background, we received the data, then we sent that information to our accounting software in order to raise invoices, and it worked really well for us,” he explained. “However, we completed an acquisition a few years back which significantly increased our MIF. And the administrative side of contract management became more complex because the company we acquired were using three separate MPS management and billing platforms (including OneStop MPS Portal).” There were multiple pain points around using three disparate systems. Clarke continued: “The biggest challenge was that the systems didn’t talk to each other, and that meant we had to manually transfer and export data between the platforms so we could invoice our clients. “The whole workflow was timeintensive, inefficient and prone to human error. In fact, it typically took us three to four days to complete the invoicing process each month. We really needed to have the ability to generate an invoice from the same platform that received the device data. So, we took the decision to review our technology stack to enable us to streamline and improve critical business workflows.” Improving contract management United-UK Technology worked with BITS to enable some customisation that would support its specific requirements,