Past. Present. Future. Under this motto, Commit GmbH from Leonberg has been designing and implementing intelligent business solutions for renowned customers for over 25 years. Development processes of BI projects require a high degree of flexibility, as it is necessary to react very quickly to changing situations. Thanks to good training and extensive project and consulting experience, Commit's experts are able to successfully master these challenges. To handle the diverse, complex projects, the consulting company uses ZEP, the web-based software solution from the company provantis IT Solutions.
Nicole Balling is responsible for the areas of quotation, accounting and controlling at Commit. When asked about the beginnings of time recording in her company, she remembers: "In the beginning, time recording in the company was done quite classically via Excel lists, then later we used a self-developed tool based on Microsoft Access." This solution was also used for invoicing, and Microsoft Word was used for printing invoices. But even this in-house development reached its limits more and more frequently as a result of a continuous increase in project volume.
"The support is great - if we need it at all."
Nicole Balling explains: "For one thing, external staff didn't have access to the solution, which required time-consuming manual re-keying." On the other hand, the continuous further development of the solution required more and more time - without being able to meet all the requirements from the user side. "Something is always missing"Nicole Balling confirms the discrepancy between the required functionality and the available features of the in-house development.
"You notice that the ZEP developers themselves come from the IT project business. They know the IT-specific project types and project work from their own project past. These can therefore also be optimally mapped in the system."
In 2011, the decision was finally made to "drop" the in-house development and look for an external software solution. However, initial research led to a surprising result. Nicole Balling: "Software solutions for time recording exist like the famous 'sand by the sea', however, at that time we did not find a solution that was designed for the specific requirements in IT project companies and adequately covered the types of projects and work that are common in these companies." A joint project with the company provantis IT Solutions then proved to be a lucky coincidence, because within the framework of this cooperation Commit got to know the ZEP software solution developed by provantis.
ZEP stands for Time Recording for Projects. The web-based solution has been on the market since 2000 and offers project-oriented companies a complete solution for time recording and verification, travel expenses, project management and controlling as well as invoicing.
In October 2011, Commit decided to use ZEP. In addition to pure time recording, Commit now uses the invoicing and document management modules.
Ms Balling now describes herself as a "ZEP Power User". After an appropriate training period, she now works with the tool every day. She sees the clear focus of ZEP on project-oriented companies as a particular advantage. She explains: "You notice that the ZEP developers themselves come from the IT project business. They know the IT-specific project types and project work from their own project past. These can therefore also be optimally mapped in the system."
Thanks to the use of the billing module, the recorded times are automatically transferred to the billing system. Invoices are also printed directly from the system. ZEP reminds Ms Balling when she can issue invoices or expenses have been incurred for which no invoice has yet been prepared. Incoming payments are also managed via ZEP. Using a corresponding evaluation function, Ms Balling can call up a current turnover forecast at any time based on the planned income and recorded times.
In addition, Commit uses the document management module. ZEP thus becomes the central storage place for all customer-specific, project-specific, employee-specific and general documents and files. Ms Balling confirms: "We use the document management to store all documents relevant to the controlling of a project, such as offers and orders. These are simply attached to the corresponding project and are thus available at any time."
As far as the operating model is concerned, Commit has opted for a purchase and in-house operation of ZEP. Alternatively, it would also be possible to use ZEP as a cloud service operated in a high-security data centre in Germany. "It was already clear to us when we decided on ZEP that we would use the solution permanently. In addition, the IT infrastructure required for in-house operation was available in-house. So in the end, pure cost reasons spoke in favour of in-house operation."Nicole Balling explains the decision in 2011.
The fact that the decision in favour of ZEP was the right one is still evident today. Nicole Balling confirms: "We are very satisfied with the solution. After a certain training period at the beginning, the system runs without any problems. If there are any questions or problems, ZEP support helps us immediately and quickly offers an appropriate solution to the problem. However, I have to admit: So far, we have only had to call on the support in very few cases."