Australian household appliance franchise Kleenmaid St George can track the returns on its technology assets for the first time with a new software tool that monitors the effectiveness of client software and PCs.
Financial controller Rod Crompton said the 300-person company was struggling to leverage core enterprise applications, like enterprise resource planning software product Mfg/Pro, from Progress Software, and Microsoft's SQL Server 7.0 database engine, to manage its relationships efficiently with some 800 business clients like builders, kitchen companies and consumers.
"While we spend around $1 million on business applications annually, we had no way of knowing how they were being used let alone if they were being used properly; we didn't see the savings we were expecting," he said. "It was the spend in non-core parts of the business and in applications that people don't use we wanted to reduce."
In January, Kleenmaid trialled desktop, Web application and PC productivity tool Survey Technology Manager, from Scalable Software (which specialises in client effectiveness management tools for Windows networks) - for eight weeks, measuring the ROI on its IT assets.
Contrary to management perception that its main ERP application for supply chain management, inventory capture and processing was used widely across the business, Crompton said staff were more comfortable using Excel as they were more proficient with the mainstream data analysis tool.
By using the productivity monitoring tool, Kleenmaid can determine specific business divisions' need for Mfg/Pro over other software.
Consequently, the company was able to reduce the "excessive" use of Excel over Mfg/Pro for accounting and administrative work from 130 to 85 this year, Crompton said.