Ivan Blythe (Finance Solutions Consultant) at Orchard here provides an insight to how the Financial landscape is changing, discussing the importance of having efficient Finance systems that can deliver business change and make people happy!
After a 6 year spell elsewhere I rejoined Orchard in January of this year in the role of Financial Solutions Consultant. It’s been an interesting time one way or another finding out about what, in my field, has changed as well as those things that have remained constant.
If I was asked what is the one thing I like most about my job, the answer is easy; it’s talking to happy people who have just been through an implementation of a solution we identified together solving a real problem – a problem so acute it may have been making staff unhappy in their day to day work. I don’t get to do this every day as both the problems and solutions we deal with are complex, but when it does happen, it is worth the wait! So whilst I like to think our customers are happy every day, I am really looking forward to helping those that are facing challenges and change.
What I saw as soon as I rejoined Orchard was that many customers have merged to form bigger organisations. This obviously gives scope for more efficiency within the new organisation, but only if processes and (yes) systems are put in place to support the changes. This has in many cases been done but there’s still other cases where more can be done and I am hoping to be able to help those under pressure to deliver efficiency and subsequently improve their day-to-day work-lives
It is clear from talking to our Professional Services Team and our customers that the implementations undertaken in the past may no longer fit customers as they are today. Many LSVT implementations for example, were undertaken against tough timescales with limited knowledge of how the new organisation would, or might even look. Other implementations are over 10 years old and have underpinned various restructures over the years, the result being the solution is struggling with demons such as manual processes and workarounds that often manifests itself in poor reporting.
Some of our customers have taken the bull by the horns and have taken the option to re-implement and introduce automation, taking advantage of new tools, features and functions but mostly, experience of what they need to do and how they need to do it.
In the six years I have been away from Orchard, the Orchard Financials product set has moved on as you would expect. Our customers need more than a Finance system that satisfies their financial regulations. What we aim to deliver with Orchard Financials is a powerful combination of an award winning finance system and our substantial specialist sector expertise. It’s this I know sets us apart from our competitors in the sector – something I’m proud to be part of and able to develop further.
After some challenges, new things have been developed into the product. Some of these will be useful to people and I’m hoping our customers will gain benefit from them. There is also a development workstream active at OneAdvanced that will bring more new things to the table.
I am looking forward to helping organisations take a blue-sky look at where they want to be and help them get there. I expect to have more of those red-letter days where I can talk to very happy people! If you think I can help, I’d love to hear from you.
Finally, I am looking forward to re-engaging with the Orchard Finance User Group and putting on ‘show and tell days’ later in the year.
Please contact me if there’s anything you would either like to see or tell others about – one great thing about the Social Housing Sector is the sharing of ideas between organisations and I aim to promote that as much as I can.
I look forward to seeing you in due course and experiencing more of those red-letter days!