• July 1, 2008
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Another Bright Idea out of Edison

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We all work for pay and benefits, so even executives know it’s important those processes be handled right; to that end, many employers hand the management of human resources (HR) issues off to companies like CheckPoint HR. The Edison, N.J.-based company provides an integrated, Web-based solution to administer payroll, human resources, and benefits for clients with between 100 and 2,500 employees. And CheckPoint was doing well -- well enough to outgrow its technology.

Thanks to significant growth -- transactions in 2006 topped $2 billion -- CheckPoint needed to upgrade its original business management system, Microsoft Small Business Manager, which had been suggested in 2001 by its Edison neighbor, accounting consultancy Amper, Politziner & Mattia, and deployed by MIG & Co., a New York-based Microsoft value-added reseller. CheckPoint focused on finding a better system to track profits and losses on a per-customer basis -- and to also gain insight.

"Our business focuses on helping companies manage a broad range of HR processes," explained Neil Friedman, CheckPoint HR’s chief financial officer, in a statement. "Our financials system needed to process billions of dollars’ worth of transactions, but also give our team the capability to analyze the data."

The company also required that the new system integrate with its existing Microsoft infrastructure while streamlining processes and increasing internal controls. The obvious solution -- one that CheckPoint had always planned on upgrading to when the time was right -- was Microsoft Dynamics GP, formerly known as Microsoft Great Plains. Friedman managed the migration to Dynamics GP v9, then the most current version. (For an in-depth look at its sibling in the Dynamics family, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, check out this month’s cover story, "Is Microsoft Winning the CRM Race?")

Dynamics GP’s tools let users create pivot tables and display graphs, analyze complex problems, and consider "what-if" scenarios. GP also provides real-time alerts, something CheckPoint needed not only for regulatory compliance and its own records, but to make timely and informed business decisions. "Having a robust set of financial tools to establish metrics and monitor performance, Dynamics GP gives us a much better window into our business," Friedman said.

CheckPoint listened to the advice of northern New Jersey-based Pinnacle Consulting Group, which had handled some of its other projects, and hired LogicalIT Solutions of Bangor, Maine, for the implementation. LogicalIT completed the project in three weeks, with no disruption to CheckPoint’s business operations.

Since the move, CheckPoint has seen several improvements in its ability to conduct business. Better reporting functions -- 10 times the number of relevant reports -- have led to tighter cost controls and improved operational visibility. Dynamics GP’s improved data interface has allowed the elimination of a Microsoft Access database that served as an adjunct to Small Business Manager; with fewer data transformations, electronic funds management is now much smoother.

Most important, there’s a practical upshot to all the functional improvements: CheckPoint’s improved ability to serve customers. "Dynamics GP allows us to deliver a broader range of services to customers, and [to] improve all aspects of our business operations through extensive analytical and forecasting capabilities," Friedman said, adding that the software "offers a scalable financials platform that will help us keep pace with growth and offer an array of new services to clients."

The Payoff
Since implementing Microsoft Dynamics GP, CheckPoint HR has:

  • 10 times the number of useful reports;
  • eliminated an intermediary Microsoft Access database;
  • streamlined electronic funds management; and
  • improved cost controls and visibility into operations. 

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