As part of our team profiles, we’ve already introduced you to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) hardware engineer Scott Rosen and to senior ERP technology consultant Mark Layton-Rees – now it’s the turn of the wonderful Will Wilson, our Business Systems Consultant.
We caught up with him on the road as he travelled between client meetings.
“Business Systems Consultant” sounds like a very important job title, Will. What does your role entail?
In the simplest terms, it’s my job to be a problem solver, I find out how a client wants to work and guide them through the process, answering the ‘how do I do that?’ questions as we go along.
It’s really important that we meet the business requirements of the client’s company, taking the legacies – all of the order-taking, dispatching and buying processes – and making sure that the implementation of their new ERP software is seamless, smooth and successful.
And have you always worked in this kind of role?
After I finished college I worked at a printers, then wrote and implemented a number of in-house ERP systems and spent the next twelve years working in IT implementing comprehensive ERP systems. I’ve been with Lakeview for around six months, but I’ve been in the ERP industry for over thirty years.
What about Lakeview stands out in the sea of other ERP vendors?
The majority of ERP providers often claim ‘that’s the way the software works’ and are inflexible to a clients’ needs.
The Lakeview philosophy is ‘don’t change the way you work, we’ll adapt the software to suit you’ – and in the ERP industry that’s quite a unique way of working.
What I really like about my role is that I’m constantly talking to people. It’s an opportunity that consultancy work allows, over programming.
What do you enjoy most about making these new client relationships?
I suppose giving clients that warm fuzzy feeling by proving that an ERP project needn’t be daunting at all.
A lot of our customers are completely new to ERP, they’re either so young as a company that nothing exists, or they’re a larger company who have been drowning in a massive paper trail of Excel and documents for years. For the most part, they often think the integration with ERP is going to be a big change so what they need is a spiritual ERP software guide to provide reassurance.
Where do you see the industry going?
The thing that’s really changing is the size of the clients. Increasingly, we have start-ups and small companies that want to get their processes right from the very start. It used to be the case that only big companies could afford it but now we’re seeing a real shift, this is particularly benefiting all types of start-up, from the smaller agencies to the one-man-bands.
Rather than start on paperwork and then drown, they’ve implemented clever systems from the start. It’s so encouraging that these smaller and newer clients have considered all the operational challenges up-front and see that starting off with the right technology has multiple benefits.
What about the change of functionality?
Yes, that’s another key shift. We’re really seeing ERP being deployed differently: people are moving away from internal staff or hardware in favour of the Cloud. Now ERP has become something they use just like any other programme, without having to go through the old-fashioned and lengthy processes to place an order.
There’s lots of talk about multi-tiered ERP vendors – it’s quite a common arrangement State-side – and ERP vendors, ourselves included, have had to change their business models to suit the demands of the market. We know that the scale of clients really vary and so the solutions we create have to be scalable now more than ever.
Let’s talk about what you like to do outside of work. What do you do in your spare time?
I’ve very recently become a dog-walker, having just got our first dog when I turned 46, so my weekends tend to be taken up by going for long walks.
I’m pretty rugby mad and used to play until my late twenties, though now I prefer to stand in the crowds at Twickenham.
My wife and I don’t have kids so we get to holiday a lot – we’ve travelled extensively around Asia, from Burma to China and everywhere in between. We have been to India six times - every time we go there’s something new and magical to see.