The SIIA is delighted to introduce one of the newest members to join SIIA’s Software & Services Division, Unanet. I had a chance to sit down with Frances Craig, CEO of Unanet, to learn a little more about their Cloud ERP solutions for project driven organizations. Please find my interview below.
Rhianna: Tell us a little about Unanet and what makes you unique.
Frances: After proving that a web based timesheet was viable in 1997, Unanet was formed in 1998 to support professional services companies. By carefully listening to customers, we have added expense reporting, project management, resource planning, indirect costing, billing, revenue recognition, general ledger, accounts payable and accounts receivable. We offer this full suite of tools in one software, one database and one user interface. Unanet is COTS software and configurable lessening the costs for programming of specific functionality. Over 1000 customers trust Unanet to manage their people, projects, and financials! We bootstrapped Unanet so we need only listen to our customers instead of private equity.
Rhianna: You have developed an expansive partner network. Can you talk about what makes your partner network successful?
Frances: The success comes from working with our partners to make sure they are certified and they perceive benefits from being a Unanet partner. The benefits include opening up new markets for the partner, ensuring there is an economic benefit, and getting the partners excited about disruption in the technology! In the beginning, we had alliance partners who only needed to give us a name and when they became a customer, the partner would receive a commission on the software. In making the decision to become a full ERP and going up against Microsoft, Netsuite, Deltek, Sage, Intacct and other ERP suites, we recognized the need to fully engage partners directly working with companies using older technology software. We have reference partners (as before), certified solution partners (who implement the software), solution provider partners (who can sell the software), and business process outsourcing partners (who bundle the cost of the software for their clients into their services for simpler pricing).
Rhianna: You were recently recognized as one of Washington’s Top Workplaces. As the CEO, how do you create a culture of collaboration and support?
Frances: I started the company with the idea that bright people could come together, collaborate and innovate. We have values that support our culture like shining our jewels (our customers), working as a team (not individually) for bonuses, thanking each other, positive speaking, integrity, and so forth. We have never had performance reviews; instead the supervisor meets with the employee every quarter to review past objectives, roles and new objectives. We focus on people’s strengths instead of their weaknesses. We have fun. We have flex time allowing people to have the ability to take care of their families. We allow employees to take two days to work with their choice of a philanthropic effort. Receiving Top Workplaces award from employees indicates that despite our rapid growth, we are maintaining our company culture. Our employees are what makes our company so successful and such a wonderful place to work, so it’s great to know that we all feel the same excitement when we come into the office.
Rhianna: What advice would you give companies who are looking for a system that can support their entire business lifecycle?
Frances: Many customers tell us that even with a small company it is best to have the right automation from the start. We try to help smaller companies by having a “quick start” implementation which is less costly so that smaller companies can afford to create the right business platform from the beginning. We recommend that companies look at their entire business processes to see how much the ERP can handle.