Phoenix Systems - Dan O'Toole - President

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B2B means business to businesses, and one service that is often promised is saving your business money. Today's global market and higher dollar means we all have to be even more competitive.

Dan O'Toole from Phoenix Systems has been helping businesses increase productivity for 30 years. Their success is measured in the fact that their customers continue to turn to Phoenix for advice year and year. Increasing productivity usually means higher profits and a happier workforce, and it takes a detailed process to know how to do this

Our initial step is to take a process review where we understand how a business actually functions today. When we have done that we can report back to our client where issues may arise through things such as redundancy, where you are doing the same task over and over again. Error situations of course, added costs involved, gap where actually acts of God are required to complete a process; and best practice. This is where we are able to analyze an approach taken by the client, and understand how industry wide this practice could be reduced to increase productivity.

When that is complete, often times we can re-engineer with the client and use existing software to meet the requirements of the business. Sometimes that is not enough, and if it is required we can produce software that is more consistent with business requirements, that will fit the organization. That's a key thing; the software has to be able to fit the process of the organization.

We will then do that as a second task. Go through the training requirements, give them the software, and guide the customer through the early days of moving through a new business process.

Once a customer sees the improvement in their business the relationship doesn't end there. Changes in technology means there are always new ways to improve productivity, and because the Phoenix team delivered on their initial promises, they now have a client base willing to listen to new ideas.

Many of our clients have been with us since we started our business, so roughly 30 years now. That business continues to evolve as well as our does. We are committed to providing ongoing processing improvement, ongoing product improvement for our clients. Today for example, we will look at 2009 and introduced two or three new products that help augment the day to day business processes that our clients are requiring; things such as video conferencing, a quality product as well, to allow better compliance with government requirements with respect to quality. These things are undertaken and developed and we have integrated those into our offerings.

A successful entrepreneur should always be looking for ways to run a better business. O'Toole talks about an easy suggestion that he offers most companies.

Often times when I walk into an office I look for paper, and the more paper I see, the more opportunity I see. Xerox claims today that for example, almost 6 cents of every dollar comes into the company is expensed through paper management. And that is a huge cost. As Canadians, and personally myself I believe it is time for us to start looking at ways of reducing those costs, especially given the green approach to our environment; as well as the point in fact that it is just better business. So our goal today is to reduce cost based on paper usage.

If you walk through our office you will find a couple filing cabinets, you won't find an awful lot of paper around. That's because we actually practice what we preach. We have a paperless office to the best of our ability here; it is part of our green strategy. So that is one key area that I look for.

O'Toole states that a typical company will see their investment in productivity pay off in under a year, and the benefit to the employees continues long past that. Phoenix Systems continued success has allowed the company to constantly grow.

One method of rapid growth is through acquisitions, and O'Toole recently doubled the size of his company through purchasing a western business solutions company. Phoenix now has a greater database of customers, more offices to service those customers and more cost effective products to sell to those same customers. It's because both companies had a similar focus that there is now a synergy.

Teleconferencing, the ability to have interactive video in communication, real time, with your offices, or with clients throughout the world is almost as good as being there. It's been around for a number of years, in fact it goes back decades; but there have been problems inherent with it.

There were three primary things that we had to overcome. The initial investment cost, way too high. Certainly scheduled and identified for medium and large companies, but if you're a small to medium enterprise, definitely a cost that was too high.

Secondly, the cost of actually going through the transmission, the exchange of information, required very expensive telecommunications facilities and inherently was beyond the means of most small to medium sized enterprise businesses.

And third, the technical skill set to have this up and running on an ongoing basis. What we had to do was get past those three issues, and we found something that worked. Interestingly, we found it at the same time as we were looking at our acquisition in the west. It became actually a requirement. So if we hadn't found this type of technology, I would have had very serious doubts as to whether I would have moved forward. So, we undertook the telecommunications implementation, we now have teleconferencing across the whole enterprise both in Canada and the US. We did that in less than 30 days.

If a business is run efficiently, there is no reason why it shouldn't continue to grow. Although Phoenix Systems has recently doubled in size, there are no plans to slow down.

We are growing, this year we will probably be two and one half times our size, and next year again, the same thing. As we handle the migration of our Bell Business System acquisition into our company and have it stabilized, the growth after that will continue to a point I believe that we will see every two to three years a doubling of size.

This article originally written by and appeared on Your Business Enterprise website.