Planning efficiently using the ionBIZ ERP web application
ionProjects has developed the ionBIZ web application, an ERP solution designed for ICT businesses, engineering companies and consulting firms, which is constantly enhanced with specific features. And Combell was chosen to handle the hosting of the application.
Working efficiently with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system
Modern businesses can no longer do without ERP. In a nutshell, ERP gives an overall picture of the core business processes that are constantly updated, based on different databases from the company’s various departments (purchasing, production, sales, accounting, etc.). This makes it possible to monitor projects and get a better idea of the workflow and the costs.
ionBIZ: specialised ERP web application
Various market players provide all-round ERP systems, designed for a broad target audience. Mechelen-based ionProjects, however, is specifically targeted at a niche market: ICT businesses, engineering companies and consultancy firms. For them, it is all about human resources, which is not the case with companies that provides a tangible product, created using raw materials. Which member of my team has the skills required for this particular project? When can he start working for me? Does he also have time to work on a second project? How is the project developing? And how long has he been working on both projects? Do the results match the calculated price?
The focus of ionBIZ, the product developed by ionProjects, is therefore on advanced features that are specific to this target groupn such as project management, planning, timesheets, ticketing, helpdesk and Portfolio management.
Some of ionBIZ’s features
The project management module helps customers manage their projects, which follow very strict steps (initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing) to achieve specific goals faster and more efficiently. It goes without saying that the customer prefers to deliver a project within the given deadline and budget. The project management module helps him closely monitor the project’s progress.
As for the resource planning module, you can use for the optimal allocation of workforce resources, so that every single employee can be working where he belongs, even if your organisation employs people all over the world who have all sorts of skills. Timesheets can be used to correctly invoice time & material projects and to monitor budget progressions. ionBIZ can also help you with leaves management. Many customers work on projects to be delivered in phases. And this is where ionBIZ can come in handy, because it uses different states like Tentative, In Request, Cancelled, Disapproved and Approved.
Ticketing is used for issue tracking: logging customer problems, dispatching to the appropriate persons and providing the solution to the customer via a customer portal. Issue tracking can also be used in-house to follow up sales or software development projects.
If a customer e.g. has high Service Level Agreements for a project he is undertaking, and he is notified of a problem, he will automatically see the urgency of the task via the timer and the escalation rules.
Constant fine-tuning based on customer feedback
ionProjects has been focusing on a specific niche from the very outset and has gradually developed a tool that is constantly optimised to meet the needs of this target group. Research & Development is therefore a key pillar of the company’s success: based on customer input, new features are constantly added for the target group.
And this approach has proven successful: today, the company has about 100 customers, including medium-sized and large organisations such as Delaware Consulting, BDO, Niko Group, Emakina, etc., where all employees rely on ionBIZ to perform their tasks. This means ionProjects cannot afford to have an unavailable app, as the loss would be catastrophic in terms of productivity!
Guaranteed uptime is crucial
Wim Stevens, Managing Partner at ionProjects: “We were looking for very reliable hosting services, with excellent guarantees. And Combell eventually managed to convince us that their technology, guaranteed uptime, and prices are simply the best around.”
“The many users must always have access to IonBIZ. And Combell’s rock-solid SLAs give us this uptime guarantee” [Wim Stevens, ionProjects]
The migration to Combell was initiated: ionProjects decided to go for managed hosting with a web server and a database server. Wim Stevens has not regretted this decision: “The most important thing for us is that our web application keeps running smoothly. If something goes wrong, our customers will notice it immediately – they cannot keep working, timesheets can no longer be saved, etc. Swift reaction is crucial, even when a problem arises on a weekend. And that is exactly what Combell can do for you. We signed Service Level Agreements with them, and they always meet all of their obligations.”
To illustrate this smooth collaboration, Wim Stevens remembers the recent migration: “The database was using an older version of Windows server. We needed new features, and therefore decided to fully migrate to a new server. Combell perfectly handled the migration, on a Thursday night. Everything went according to plan, and Combell also kept a close eye on the systems the days after the migration. That was a huge relief – if something had gone wrong, customers would have gotten an error message on their screen on Friday morning, and then we would have been in big trouble!"
Wim Stevens believes Combell’s managed hosting services come with an additional benefit: “Backups are ideally managed and can be restored up to 30 days in the past. This is yet another benefit for our customers: if they make a mistake in their data, they can restore files up to 30 days after these files have been deleted.”
Would Wim Stevens recommend Combell? “Absolutely! Combell’s managed hosting services are the perfect scenario for hosting a web application, even when it is developed in-house, like ours.”
“Combell’s managed hosting services are the perfect scenario for a web application to which users must be able to connect at any time” [Wim Stevens, ionProjects]
ionProjects’ international expansion plans
The Mechelen-based company had the opportunity to expand internationally, and finally crossed the border in 2014. In addition to opening offices in Timisoara (Romania), it also achieved strong growth in the Netherlands, where it opened new business premises in Breda. ionProjects has plans to grow further in the near future, but the company also intends to penetrate new markets in Scandinavia and the UK.