Apple computers are easily associated with “good design”, “user-friendliness” and “expensive” but rarely with “economic”. Still Apples once arch-enemy IBM has switched to using Apple computers in its offices and is thus – according to IBM – saving 60% on its IT-budget. In Bocholt (Germany) thenex made the same switch. Joop van Reeken asked managing director Henry-Johann Nientimp how that went:
JvR: What was the decisive factor in this decision? Apples beautiful design?
HJN (laughing): Sure! Let’s put it this way: yes, we had been using Apple computers privately for some time with great pleasure. In our company however, an important reason were the security problems we had been experiencing with our windows systems and a general lack of stability. The trigger however was that we were looking for new ERP-software and found that in an Apple Store, where we were introduced to the TOPIX-software. TOPIX just exactly covered our needs.
JvR: Does this TOPIX-software have the typical qualities associated with Apple?
HJN: 100%! Before we made our decision, our employees had a thorough look at the TOPIX-software and also at the latest version of the software we had been using until then. From the moment they saw TOPIX, there was a genuine enthusiasm for ‘going Mac’! But that also meant for every employee to – compulsory – switch from Word (Windows) to Pages (Mac), from Excel to Numbers and from Powerpoint to Keynote. It was amazing how easy that transition went. Not only does our staff experience the new software as ‘easier’, thenex is also saving on licenses, because Pages, Numbers and Keynote are included with any Mac.
JvR: How did the migration itself come to an end? There must have been a huge amount of data to go from one system to another!
HJN: The TOPIX software has a lot of interfaces to read in data from different systems. But we also used the occasion to clean up our database. A great help was that the TOPIX-people took us step-by-step through the whole process of putting our day-to-day business processes into their system. In that process we also optimized our in-house proceedings that hadn’t been questioned for 15 years. It gave us a fresh and inspiring look at our own business.
JvR: That still seems a huge operation to me.
HJN: It was. We gave ourselves three months for the entire operation. During that time our employees indeed had to do a lot of extra work. Our bookkeeping department even had a double workload for nearly four months. All data had to be entered once in the new system and once in the old, as a backup. Nevertheless, we went ‘live’ in 3,5 months! Thanks to our great staff, we were still dedicated to our customers 100% during the transition period.
JvR: Are you beginning to see the advantages of the migration?
HJN: Absolutely! We have already realized savings on our resources in the amount of 20-30%, first of all while we have gone paperless. But for the accounting department, hardly anyone uses paper anymore. That means less printing, less walking around, less scanning etc.
JvR: Is there still an old Windows machine tucked away somewhere in your offices, because some employee could not say goodbye to it?
HJN: We indeed still have one Windows computer running, because one specialized application is not available for Mac. But TOPIX has promised us a solution shortly, so that we will soon be saying goodbye to that one too!