How was Core-Effect selected as your solution partner?
We had five different options in mind. We very quickly eliminated two. We got down to three, one of which was still Magazine Manager. The reasons for selected Core-Effect were two-fold. One reason had to do with their proximity to us. We really wanted consultants on-site working directly with our staff. We were also impressed with their international expertise. Our readership is diverse and we wanted a partner that could understand not only our business model and objectives, but also our customer base.
In the end, we were able to get the price that we wanted, because right now, publishing industry, as I mentioned, is going through a lot of changes. Our margins are extremely tight. We needed to find an option that we could afford. Affordability played a large role in the decision making process. Knowing that there was a local vendor here who was going to be able to walk us through the implementation and the customizations became the icing on the cake.
Could you describe the scope of the project in terms of components: did it involve custom design, development, training, support, etc.?
There were all those things. We began this process a little over three years ago. We’re beginning now beginning the last year of a three-year contract. But of course, there’s a whole year run up before we even signed the contract.
First, there was a needs analysis where they came by to meet the various user groups that we had. We have sales people using it. We have the sales support people using it. We have the publishers using it. We have our accounting people using it. We needed a system that could manage the entire cycle, from the sales side of things all the way through an ad sale and then a production of that ad, the billing of it, the tracking and receivable and making sure that the payment has been received.
Obviously, each of the different user groups had their own need for the system. At times those needs were conflicting. What one group wanted would make things more challenging for another group. Core-Effect played a key role in reconciling those conflicts.
Moving data over from the Saleslogix system was also a part of what needed to be done, because we had nearly a decade of data that we didn’t want to disappear. We also had to migrate data from our MAS 8000 accounting system. The last system to migrate data from was Excel, which had all of our revenue and expense information.
Once all of the preparation was complete, Core-Effect was responsible for purchasing all of our necessary NetSuite licenses. They negotiated the price to a point where we were able to sign, and then they worked with NetSuite to do all the modifications and customizations to the software to meet our business needs.
The whole process took us well over a year. We conducted rolling implementation where our sales team came online first and then our production department came online second. And then our accounting department was connected third. It was a somewhat lengthy, drawn-out implementation, but it was necessary to do so, because of all the different players and their respective tasks and priorities.
When was the rolling NetSuite implementation finally completed?
Once we signed the contract with NetSuite, which would have been two years ago in November. It must have been November of 2011 when all of our departments were online.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in either monetary terms or in the amount of personnel dedicated to the implementation?
The actual cost is confidential, but the implementation spanned nearly 65 licenses, with training and support for each. One consultant handled that entire process and how ever many support staff dedicated to the project.