Brodie Archer comes off as something of an unofficial evangelist for SAP’s Business One product when she talks about her company.
This may not be surprising, considering that her company has been greatly built up around its partnership with the business solutions provider.
Archer, a former Christchurch Council employee, established Business Evolution in 2003, selling Oracle and SAP enterprise resource planning solutions. It was a year later, however, when SAP introduced Business One specifically for the SMB space, that Archer’s consultancy took off.
“That worked for us really well because it targeted SMBs as something that we could implement in part or in full to organisations that needed something very cost effective,” she says. “It helped that a lot of people knew of SAP, and that it was in the large enterprise space, but the cost was seen as very high to implement it.”
Business Evolution today employs a staff of seven consultants, with Archer tapping contractors on project-by-project basis. Business Evolution provides clients with business analysis, solutions design, application management, training and other services. But while the reseller also partners with HP, its core business is through its association with SAP as a certified Business One consultancy, a classification which has recently been upgraded to Executive Channel Partner.
“The consultant gets trained in everything from installation to configuration to training end users, and producing reports and queries designed on a Microsoft platform that’s easy to use configure and implement,” Archer says.
Volume over the last 18 months has increased, in part due to the Christchurch earthquakes, but also thanks to an overall demand among SMBs with on premise infrastructure who want to do more with the data they own.
“We had our largest client ever come in over the past 18 months and it’s still going up and up. I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface on the opportunities there,” she says. “It’s not just the rebuild work, but the volume of services as a lot more people are saying they need to do more reporting, to automate more.”
What has turned Archer into an evangelist of sorts is the modular design of the Business One solutions, which makes it more affordable and attractive to companies that may have outgrown other solutions, such as those from Xero, but can’t afford an enterprise grade ERP system. She calls this one of “SAP’s best kept secrets”.
“They don’t need to go out and spend tens of thousands right up front to get going,” she says.
Business Evolution, as with other resellers in the Christchurch market, had several clients that were deeply impacted by the February 2011 earthquake, with several customers using her offices because their businesses had been located within the Red Zone. Business Evolution was able to access those customers’ infrastructure remotely, but because of disruption to distribution channels, had to go through retailers to procure some hardware for her clients.
Today, the relationship between Archer’s business and the SAP community is seen as one of mutual support. She says that her consultants are ranked among the highest in the vendor’s global community support forums. The company’s partner status, meanwhile, gives Archer access to sales support and marketing development funds, as well as some discounts, giving her a business incentive to evangelising the product to customers.
Archer says that she got into the IT business because of her interest in computers in high school in the 1990s, and later doing payroll work for various employers.