The last 15 months have been incredibly busy for the Bevica product team. In May 2020 we launched our cloud Bevica SaaS solution powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Since then, we have been working hard to both successfully implement Bevica in a range of drinks industry clients and to continue to improve and update the drinks specific functionality. Although the Bevica product team, headed up by Bevica Product Director, Claudio Martell, is primarily made up of in-house consultants and developers, we are also lucky to be able to call on experienced external expertise to guide customers through their implementation journey. One of these experts is Eileen Beadle of Pinewood Computer Services, and we recently took the opportunity to sit down with her and get an honest view and her external perspective of Bevica SaaS and how it can help customers overcome their business management challenges.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have been working in the IT industry, in various capacities and a wide range of businesses, for over thirty years. Since 2001 I have been an IT Management Consultant helping companies implement new ERP software systems for their businesses.
Q: How long have you been working with Bevica?
I started working with Bevica long before it was even called Bevica. My first experience of it was in 2002 when I worked with Enotria & Coe (then known as Enotria Wine Cellars) on a NAV implementation project. It was at this time that I met Claudio and it was the development work done as part of this NAV project that led to the beginnings of Bevica (formerly known as the Wine System). Since then, I have worked on a wide range of Bevica implementation projects, including ones for Berkmann Wine Cellars, Flint Wines and, most recently, Howard Ripley Wines.
Q: How many Bevica SaaS projects have you been involved in?
So far, I have worked on two Bevica SaaS projects. One, Howard Ripley Wines, I worked on the complete project from beginning to end in more or less an external Project Manager role. For the other, Roberson Wine, I acted as advisory Consultant and provided support as needed
Q: How do you normally get involved with Bevica projects?
My involvement with Bevica projects normally happens as a result of word of mouth recommendations from within my network. Ideally, I like to be involved with the project right from the beginning. This allows me to help shape the project implementation and make sure it gets off to the right start.
I recently worked on a project with Howard Ripley Wines which I really enjoyed. I was initially asked by Karen Moore, your Sales Manager, to speak to them as they had some concerns around selecting the best drinks business ERP solution. I am very pleased to say they signed up for Bevica SaaS . Howard Ripley Wines asked me to come on board as their Project Manager. I worked 2 days a week for the duration of the project, guiding them during their implementation phase. I am pleased to say that their project came in on time and within budget
Q: On time and on budget is every organisation’s main project objective. Is this the case for all of your projects?
Yes. It is very important to me that my projects achieve this target.
In every project there are moments when clients feel nervous to take the plunge to go live. It is my job, at this point, to coax them over the finishing line. As we get nearer to the Go-Live date at that point I will say to my clients that we need to consider the must-haves and the nice to haves. We then do a readiness assessment. If we have the must-haves in place, I encourage them to go live. Then we have a plan to get the nice to haves done afterwards. In my experience, the most successful projects are those that are done quickly while the client still has the momentum.
Q: What would you say are the main changes to the Bevica product as it has moved from on premise to a cloud-based software solution?
Bevica SaaS really does benefit from its seamless integration with the Microsoft stack. It has the look and feel of Microsoft technology that people are familiar with. The integration with Office 365 has allowed for easy import to, and export from, Excel which I really like.
I also feel that Bevica SaaS users haven’t needed much training as the system feels very intuitive. The training really is about process considerations and which functions are required for their specific business.
Q: Are there any current gaps in the Bevica SaaS functionality?
At the moment the key gap in the Bevica SaaS functionality is its reporting and analysis capability. I am aware, however, that plugging this gap with the introduction of a standardised Power BI dataset is on the Bevica roadmap as part of its Planned Q3 2021 monthly releases programme. It was great to see this explained at your first online and virtual Bevica User Group, although I look forward to face-to-face networking resuming again
Q: What tips would you give to a company that were starting out on their Bevica SaaS implementation project?
My top tips for any company starting out with their Bevica SaaS project are:
- Don’t underestimate how long the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) will take. I usually tell clients to note down the everyday activities they do. These activities are then included in the UAT script. UAT provided the essential opportunity to define and streamline the business processes to take full advantage of Bevica SaaS ‘wine specific’ rich functionality, to confirm how the new system will work for their business and als o for user familiarity and confidence.
- In Bevica, certain actions can be done in a number of ways. One example of this is setting up En Primeur. If I am working with a company, I take them through the two different options available for set up and then advise them on the best way to do it. One of the ways is always a best practice option, as it allows any further activity linked to the first step to work from a business process point of view.
- Stick to the standard Chart of Accounts and posting group set ups in Bevica as recommended by me or the Bevica team rather than bring in their legacy setups. But I find that the standard options are the best and the move to Bevica SaaS is an ideal time to for the client to tidy up their Chart of Accounts and have a fresh start.
- Dimensions are very important in Bevica. My advice, though, is to keep it simple to start with. Choose two global dimensions to start with at Go-Live. You can always change your mind or add more in later.
- Training is key! I have found that the move to online training during lockdown has been extremely beneficial. Not only has it allowed training sessions to be recorded (and thus available later as an aide memoire), but I have also been able to sit on the training sessions. The questions clients both ask and don’t ask gives me a better insight into the client’s current thinking and understanding about the system. I can then ask certain questions on the client’s behalf if I feel that it is a beneficial step in any given business process.
- Take the opportunity to cleanse data before you bring it in. Start clean
Q: What advice would you give to a company that is considering a move from Bevica on premise to Bevica SaaS?
If you are hesitating about a move to Bevica SaaS, I would definitely recommend it for the following reasons:
- Bevica SaaS allows you access to your ERP from anywhere, from the office, from home and when you are on the move. Remote working has never been more prevalent and it looks like it is here to stay.
- Bevica SaaS is seamlessly integrated with the Microsoft product stack. Not only is it powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, but it also benefits from the native integration with the other Microsoft products including Office 365, the Power Platform and Microsoft Teams. This means that there is an ease of data in and out of the system and it allows you to incorporate data from other platforms.
- Bevica SaaS may not yet have all of the functionality that you are looking for but it does have a clear development roadmap which is in line with users’ known requirements and suggestions.
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