Published May 8, 2013 @ 16:15 by Anusha in
Having relied in the past on spreadsheets for their business processes, the Milwaukee Bucks used Prophix to obtain complete visibility into their finances, to develop advanced budgeting and personnel planning models, and to automate the production of their financial reports based on the new requirements set out by the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The Milwaukee Bucks joined the NBA as an expansion franchise in 1968. The team won a championship title just three years later with the help of Hall of Fame players Oscar Robertson and Lew Alcindor (now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). The Bucks currently play at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Former Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl, whose family started the Kohl's food and department store chain, has owned the Bucks since 1985.
Recognizing the problem
Members of the Milwaukee Bucks' accounting and finance department realized that they needed advanced software to address their needs for budgeting, forecasting, planning, and reporting. Over the years, the organization had come to rely on spreadsheets, which feature limited capabilities for consolidation and analysis. With the help of a new system, the Bucks hoped to develop a personnel planning solution not for budgeting player salaries-as teams only employ 15 players at a time–but rather for their rank-and-file employees.
Jim Woloszyk, the Bucks' Director of Finance, explains, "Our sales employees receive a base salary plus commission, and we also need to calculate the costs of their benefits. Budgeting for other payroll expenses in the past involved something of a 'best guess' format-especially with regard to employment taxes, which feature limits and changing rates."
Additionally, apart from their existing demands for reporting, the Bucks needed to address the NBA's new requirements for submitting financial information. Seeking a means to measure how the league's teams perform financially and benchmark them using comparable figures, the NBA released a manual that set out how franchises should classify their revenues and expenses. Receiving this information in a standardized format would allow the league to accurately summarize and compare the financial results of its teams.
Implementing a solution
The Milwaukee Bucks selected Prophix as their Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software provider and found that the product's implementation involved only minimal involvement from their IT team. According to Woloszyk,"Other than the initial server setup, our department was able to take the lead. Prophix's consultant migrated over our chart of accounts and secured an ODBC connection with our General Ledger, Microsoft Dynamics SL. This link ensures that our financial data automatically flows into Prophix on a nightly basis, and that all of the reports and formulas update by themselves as we add new accounts."
With the help of Prophix, the Milwaukee Bucks now have the ability to produce detailed budgets whenever they need them. As Woloszyk says, "The software will allow us to take our actuals and adapt them to the appropriate league reporting format. We can also take our budget and easily convert that into our quarterly forecast or our annual report-all based on the solutions's 'Member Properties' functions! Most of our work now involves maintaining the budget."
In terms of reporting, the Bucks now process three separate audits-one using GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and two special purpose audits related to their membership in the NBA. In order to produce these reports as simply as possible, the Bucks use the Member Properties function to remap the structure to fit the categories/line items that populate their annual combined financials. Faced with specific rules that outline which expenses should appear on specific lines, the related mapping process would be either fraught with errors or downright impossible to achieve with spreadsheets.
Milwaukee Bucks CFO, Mike Burr, offers some perspective: "We have a number of different reporting requirements, each with their own formats. Prophix allows for alternate reporting hierarchies or ways for us to reorganize accounting structures for internal or external reporting. Soon we'll get to the place where we're developing 3-year rolling forecasts. That's essentially impossible to facilitate with spreadsheets. If we keep our forecasts up to date, we can generate projections at any time."
As the Bucks strive to make their department managers accountable and their user base expands, members of their accounting and finance department expect to utilize Prophix's security functions to a greater degree. The organization also hopes to develop internal reports for specific areas of responsibility within the company, automatically generating monthly or quarterly reports for their employees in travel, scouting, and basketball operations.
Woloszyk says that he would definitely recommend Prophix to other franchises or companies in his industry."Prophix has enabled us to do exactly what we intended for our reporting, budgeting, and planning. Professional sports teams that run their buildings could really take advantage of Prophix's capabilities by budgeting for gross revenue, cost of sales, maintenance, personnel, and concessions, and then merge those totals with the larger organization. From what we see, it would only take a few weeks to get that type of system up and running."
An interview with Jason Seeley
Published April 2, 2013 @ 11:17 by Anusha in
We sat down with Jason Seeley, Prophix developer and 17-year company veteran, to gather his thoughts and find out what makes him tick.
Thanks for joining us, Jason. Tell us about your background before coming to Prophix.
I earned a Computer Science and Statistics degree from the University of Waterloo. I worked as a co-op student during my time there, so I had 2.5 years of experience when I graduated, including stints with Nortel, Excise Canada, and Statistics Canada.
Does your education play a large role in your work here, or was your 'on-the-job' training more valuable?
Honestly, my co-op experience was probably more valuable, but I did learn the foundations of computer science, which haven't changed as much as you'd think. A lot of my courses involved mathematics and statistics, and while I no longer use that specific knowledge, the training in logic, creative problem solving, and critical thinking is useful in general.
Tell us about your early days at Prophix.
Initially, Prophix was called EPS Consulting and we implemented custom accounting applications, like Executive Information Systems (EIS) and others. We would often travel to a location and work there for 3 months, writing applications and training the users to work with their customized solutions. With my background in EIS, technical writing, and computer science (and my sensational interpersonal skills!), it felt like a really good fit.
Absolutely. Everything was very hands-on at that time, as we only had a few developers. We did development and coding, of course, but we were also responsible for the help files, documentation, and sometimes even tech support. I had more energy back then! Our product has undergone several changes since that time; over 16 years we’ve used at least 9 different programming languages and completely re-written the application 5 times.
Jason Seeley with this daughter
What led you to software development?
I've always loved video games. To be a developer at Prophix you must like video games! [Laughter.] I actually started programming when I was only 10; I made a Space Invaders game on my Commodore Vic 20. Back then we used cassette tapes to store data, so when I loaded or modified my program, it would take 10 minutes to load and 10 minutes to save. Fun stuff! I enjoy building applications for other people. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment, especially when you receive positive feedback.
You've worked at Prophix for more than 15 years. That's certainly a long time for a developer-but a long tenure's not uncommon for developers at Prophix. What do you think sets the environment here apart?
I have a great boss in Bob Walker and we have a positive work environment. The department now has 18 people, as opposed to 2 when I first joined the company. Our CEO, Paul Barber, understands creative development and I think that we've created a relaxed yet productive work atmosphere. We're a small company, so we feel more like family than disposable cogs. Your work matters and that means a lot. As a small company, we also have the opportunity to adapt and to respond to the needs of the marketplace, so your understanding of the customers' needs lives through the product. I'm really proud of what we've been able to accomplish without any venture capital.
Are you working on any interesting projects right now?
Definitely! I'm the Project Manager for Prophix Mobile. It's still in development and we expect to roll it out in a couple of months.
Space Invaders! Tell us about your interests outside of work.
Aside from helping to raise my 2 year-old daughter? It's hard to find time for my other interests, but like most people I try to stay active, to run and lift weights, and to play hockey once a week with the company team. My other interests are NHL hockey (I'm a big Ottawa Senators fan), video games, and the stock market. My favorite shows are Supernatural and The Walking Dead.
It's been a pleasure, Jason. We look forward to seeing your work through the latest innovations at Prophix.
Get under the hood with performance tuning - Customer Empowerment Webinar 2
Published March 26, 2013 @ 09:06 by Natasha in
Join us for the second of five complimentary Customer Empowerment Webinars
Get under the hood with performance tuning
Thursday, March 28th, 2013 at 1 p.m. EST
Optimize your Prophix engine for peak performance! Geared towards the experienced Prophix administrator, this session will walk attendees through some key variables that impact your models' performance. Whether you wish to learn more about template speeds, the timing required to run your processes, or just understand performance optimization in general, this webinar will get you on the right track.
- Introducing performance optimization
- Discussing methods for improving performance, including:
- Tweaking templates and data views
- Fine-tuning account formulas
- Improving business process performance (e.g. imports, Infoflex & update processes)
- Considering hardware enhancements
- Demonstrating common solutions for key areas
- Prophix's performance tuning services
- Equipping our Prophix Support team to help you best
Be sure to register now even if you can't attend. That way, you'll receive the recorded version via email.
Prophix's Customer Empowerment Webinar Series starts next week
Published February 22, 2013 @ 11:32 by Anusha in
Prophix is proud to announce the return of the Customer Empowerment Webinar Series! With complimentary sessions set to run from February to June, these modules will offer our customers the opportunity to leverage the value of their investments in Prophix. Based on customer feedback from the successful webinar series in 2012, we will offer the following sessions:
Introducing Prophix for Excel
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 at 1 p.m. ET
Get under the hood with performance tuning
Thursday, March 28th, 2013 at 1 p.m. ET
Tribulations with allocations?
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 at 1 p.m. ET
Eliminations and adjustments: Harness the power at your fingertips:
Thursday, May 30th,2013 at 1 p.m.ET
High-value tips and tricks
Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 at 1 p.m. ET
Visit http://bit.ly/1599VVE for more details.
LUSH Cosmetics uses Prophix Software to predict customer purchasing patterns
Published February 7, 2013 @ 15:21 by Anusha in
As members of the marketing team at Prophix, we seek to tell our company's story in compelling ways that will pique the curiosity of existing customers or prospects. Part of that mission involves tracking down the stories of customers who apply our software in innovative ways to solve their unique business problems. LUSH Cosmetics provides an amazing example.
At a series of high-level meetings with their global counterparts, LUSH North America's finance and IT leaders debated the possible remedies for their lack of accurate planning and forecasting. To that point, their forecasting involved what they referred to as a "best guess format", based on the data from the prior year with standard metrics built-in for growth. Mike Coulter, the company's IT Director, mentioned that technology could help to bridge the gap between their existing processes and what they hoped to develop-and IT should assist in sourcing the appropriate software solution.
Coulter requested the input of his contacts at the RSC Group, a business consulting and technical advisory firm. RSC's representatives recommended Prophix, and their demo blew Mike and his colleagues away. According to Coulter, "We all sat around and said "Wow, this is awesome!" Soon after that, we pulled the trigger."
Beginning their implementation in mid-October, LUSH nicknamed their forecasting project, 'Right product, right place, right time'. Coulter explains, "After a typical holiday Season... we would find $1.5 million of inventory in the wrong locations after Christmas. With the help of a new product, we sought to look under the covers of the business to get the right amounts of the right products into the right stores. It's a common problem in the retail sector-struggling to meet the demand of the Christmas season without stores running out of Christmas products or getting stuck with mountains of leftover Christmas products after the holiday. It is really difficult to sell Santa-themed products after the 25th!"
Using Prophix's advanced software, LUSH accurately predicted customer purchasing patterns, automatically generating stock orders and sending them to individual stores.
Accordingly, they achieved the following benefits:
Cost reduction and improved business productivity:
- $500,000 savings in not-lost inventory over a 5 week period
- Reduction in inventory days on hand by 7 days
- Decrease in the frequency of shipments to stores, cutting costs, increasing sales opportunities, and reducing LUSH's carbon footprint
- 15% year-over-year sales increase per store
- More face time with customers
Revenue acceleration and customer satisfaction:
'Tis the season for giving
Published December 21, 2012 @ 16:03 by Alexandra in Company Updates
Located just south of some newly built homes on Cawthra is the Salvation Army's Community and Family Services centre. The centre is one of three locations in Mississauga from which those in need can access such services as a food and clothing bank, counselling, as well as Christmas assistance during the holidays.
Last week, Prophix delivered 165 frozen turkeys to the Cawthra location to help support its Christmas assistance program. With this donation, some families will have their own turkey for Christmas, and many more will visit the Salvation Army on Christmas day for a traditional turkey dinner - cooked by volunteer chef Paul Khan. For the nearly 150 single individuals who reach out to the Salvation Army at this time of year, this is the only Christmas get-together they will experience.
From January to November, the centre is used primarily as a food bank, but during the last month of the year, a large portion of the facility is transformed to manage its Toys for Tots program. Thousands of toys are donated and handed out each year to nearly 2500 children whose families have applied to the centre for assistance.
The Salvation Army relies primarily on donations and volunteers to support and deliver these services throughout the community. Every donation bell you see in a shopping mall at this time of year delivers a Christmas to so many in need across Peel Region.
To learn more about volunteering with the Salvation Army, please contact Diane Falkinson at 905-279-3941 after January 3, 2013.
Prophix lends a hand with Habitat for Humanity
Published December 3, 2012 @ 15:54 by Alexandra in Company Updates
Last month, a group of Prophix employees rallied together to lend a helping hand with Habitat for Humanity Brampton, an organization working towards breaking the cycle of poverty. Habitat for Humanity offers home ownership programs for families who seek to improve their quality of life. The organization lives and builds by the motto, 'A hand up, not a hand out.'
The day started early for our Prophix volunteers, who gathered at the build site, 20 Hoskins Square, located in a subdivision just north of Bramalea City Centre. Three homes are currently under construction, and each will allow for a family in need to experience the thrill of owning their own homes.
The Prophix team hard at work
Despite the cold weather (and even snow at one point), our team stayed enthusiastic throughout the day. Prophix's volunteers shoveled gravel and mud, and even had a go at levelling the site's foundation, as Habitat for Humanity Brampton provided a steady flow of coffee and a delicious pizza lunch.
Our team members couldn't have been happier to help out such a worthy cause. Taking a few days to nurse their sore backs, the Prophix team hopes to return to the build site and volunteer once more before the project is complete.
All smiles after a rewarding, fun filled day
Prophix honored at the Deloitte Fast 500 Technology awards
Published November 22, 2012 @ 16:17 by Alexandra in Company Updates, Industry News
A word from our CEO, Paul Barber
On Tuesday, November 13th, Bob Walker, our CTO, and I, on behalf of Prophix Software, received a Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Award for being one of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, or clean technology companies in North America. This made me immensely proud.
What made me even more proud is that Prophix is growing without the benefit of raising large amounts from outside investors. Growth by simply increasing your marketing spend is relatively easy; the more people who hear about you, the more sales you will make. But most companies that throw money at marketing are not profitable and ultimately not successful. I have seen many companies in the software business become stars overnight and then crash and burn when they run out of funds.
Prophix is growing without any institutional investors. We are growing organically, not by buying market share. We are growing because we have a great product, passionate and enthusiastic employees, and loyal and committed partners worldwide.
However, I would like to recognize our customers most of all because without them we would not be where we are today. We have great customers who use our software in many innovative ways and who contribute to our success by acting as references and giving us feedback about product enhancements. They can rest assured that Prophix will continue to innovate, deliver excellent value and help them run their businesses better.
Chief Executive Officer
Paul Barber is the CEO of Prophix Software. He is a graduate of Cambridge University, with an MA in Mathematics, and holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Paul has worked in the software industry for over thirty years in such areas as Decision Support Systems, Executive Information Systems, Business Intelligence, and Performance Management. His functional experience includes sales, marketing, professional services, and general management. In recent years, Paul led Prophix Software's metamorphosis from software distributor to developer of world class Performance Management solutions.
Prophix attends the 2012 Microsoft IMPACT Awards gala
Published November 20, 2012 @ 11:07 by Alexandra in Events
Representatives from Prophix were honored to attend the 2012 Microsoft IMPACT Awards gala at the all-new Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto on Tuesday, November 13th. With high hopes of defending the title of ISV / Software Solutions Industry Partner of the Year, Prophix sent three team members: Channel Manager, John Pepelnak; Communications Specialist, Mark Behar; and Chief Operating Officer, Ed Karthaus.
From left to right: John Pepelnak, Mark Behar, and Ed Karthaus
After the attendees mingled and sampled hors d'oeuvres, the night's festivities began with a bang as host Sean Cullen (a local comedian and the former front man of Corky & the Juice Pigs) took to the stage with a flurry. Interacting with the crowd and invoking wordplay on the 'partner' theme, Cullen introduced the CEO of Microsoft Canada, Max Long. A polished speaker in his own right, Long spoke about the importance of Microsoft's partner relationships, and stressed the value of innovation—particularly with the coming introduction of the Windows 8 platform.
Sean Cullen, host for the night
A variety of Microsoft representatives announced award winners across three separate categories:
- Emerging technologies & innovation
- Microsoft partner network competency
- Marketing, relationships & partnering excellence
Cheesecake pops carefully emblazoned
with the Microsoft IMPACT Awards logo
5 Questions with your Prophix IT Team
Published October 29, 2012 @ 16:14 by Alexandra in Company Updates
If the IT department is the glue that holds a company and its employees together, then why are there so many negative stereotypes associated with this business unit? We sat down with our fantastic IT team to get to know a little more about what they do, and to understand how they're breaking the mold, and changing the face of IT.
Chris Maningas, Mike Cachia, Suolon Hu, Sagar Patel
How is Prophix IT breaking the mold?
The Prophix IT department are a personable out going bunch, and really enjoy getting to know all of their colleagues. The group enjoys participating in team sports such as the Prophix Piranhas baseball team and Prophix Punishers dodgeball team. Lastly, IT folk are often thought of sitting in the back corner, shielded by racks of servers and banks of screens - again, not the case for Prophix IT. They are centrally located in the office, making it easy for all employees to connect, whether it be for questions or office banter.
Who comprises Prophix IT?
Mike Cachia, Network Administrator, Chris Maningas, User Support Technician, Sagar Patel, IT Support Specialist and Suolon Hu, Corporate Applications Specialist make the Prophix IT dream team. They all work together to keep our company and employees working at optimal speed and efficiency.
What is IT responsible for?
Whether it's computers, the network, phones or corporate applications such as SharePoint, Prophix IT handles it all. The only thing that this group of tech wizards does not take care of, is Prophix software itself. This team does an excellent job of assessing a situation, and solving it quickly and efficiently.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
- Mike: "I enjoy the satisfaction that comes from problem solving. It's an empowering feeling when you work through a difficult situation to come to a resolution."
- Chris: "I take pleasure in helping people, and making their day a little bit brighter. It's also really nice getting to know everyone in the company."
- Sagar: " Trouble shooting problems, and allowing my colleagues to continue on with their day is the best part about my job."
- Suolon: "I really enjoying helping others and getting to the bottom of a problem someone may have."
What is your favourite gadget/piece of technology?
- Mike: "Gadgets, new technology, ranging from firewalls to networking stuff."
- Chris: "Internet in general. LOVE. I find it very entertaining."
- Sagar: "Keeping up to date with the newest technology that comes out. I enjoy researching what the newest trend/piece of technology is."
- Suolon: "Reading up on the latest and greatest cameras (DSLRs in particular)."