For 30 years, Priority Dispatch Corp. chugged along, growing steadily and running its business on a combination of homegrown order processing and customer service apps, as well as Intuit QuickBooks for its finances. But, three years ago, the company’s executive team decided it was time to adopt a mature approach to IT with full-blown CRM and ERP applications, and they began looking at cloud ERP software.
“Fifteen years ago, what we built was probably cutting edge,” said Ron McDaniel, chief planning officer at Priority Dispatch. “But then, we put our heads down and got work done, and when we looked up, we had fallen way behind.”
The company had no project management software, nor did it have powerful back-office applications of any kind.
The situation became less tenable when, about 10 years ago, the Salt Lake City-based company, which distributes constantly updated emergency dispatch information in 25 languages to 911 personnel in 3,000 municipalities around the world, started seeing a new level of demand. Its revenue started growing much faster — a good problem to have — but it still relied on the same small business technology. That was, until three years ago, when company leadership finally cried uncle.
After evaluating just about every player in the market, Priority Dispatch narrowed its choices in cloud ERP software to NetSuite or a combination of Salesforce and FinancialForce.
McDaniel said the company, which employs 200 workers, in addition to about 350 contractors, ultimately chose Salesforce and FinancialForce because of its desire to keep integration simple. Both products run on the Salesforce SaaS platform, and Salesforce AppExchange promised an array of easy to integrate tools Priority Dispatch could snap on to its new systems.
Cloud ERP software deployment best done in phases
Then, the company made its first mistake: It opted to deploy everything all at once. In one big bang, in March 2016, Priority Dispatch brought on configure price quote and central billing applications from Salesforce Professional Services Automation (PSA) and supply chain management modules from FinancialForce and Avalara’s tax management software. Predictable struggles ensued.
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