• Cloud cover

    Software developer GreatSoft fosters a university-like environment among its employees, so they can keep abreast of new technology, says CEO Bruce Morgan.

    Cloud cover

    In today’s evolving digital landscape, paper-based business systems have been rendered practically obsolete. People are more likely to send emails instead of faxes; banks are sending transaction notifications straight to mobile phones; and entertainment tickets can be scanned on electronic devices using a barcode. As businesses move to secure their data, they are opting to make their admini-stration and payroll systems paperless too.

    One of the leading companies offering cloud-based digital solutions is GreatSoft, a South African software-development firm that has been an early adopter of privately and publicly hosted cloud options.

    The benefits of an online payroll and administration system are plentiful, including tighter security and reducing the risk associated with managing employee and client data. The system also minimises overheads substantially by reducing the typical IT investment in technology that offers people the freedom of using cloud computing services. There are also huge savings in time thanks to improved access to data, and simplified repetitive processing and calculation functions. Administration time can be reduced by as much as half.

    When Bruce Morgan, CEO and co-founder of GreatSoft, joined an international listed company as national sales manager, he was exposed to Australian-developed soft-ware products for 14 years. The experience led to him and his GreatSoft partner, Imtiaz Lorgat, fine-tuning and developing a more advanced solution of their own. Today, the company’s software is used in 19 countries by around 40 000 people daily, while its revenues grow at a CAGR of more than 35%.

    ‘This new technology eliminates the need for costly paper-based systems, and improves the management of and access to employee information,’ he says. ‘The system – which can be used by any company, from SMEs to large international firms – manages weekly, bi- weekly and monthly payrolls, with automatic uploads directly to banks to ensure timeous and accurate management of remuneration.’

    The self-service module lets employees access and manage their own payslips and leave forms, resulting in improved productivity for the company’s administration team as well as staff members.

    Morgan notes that this and other innovative solutions offer firms a choice between a public or privately hosted cloud. ‘The public cloud offering is where the system is implemented and data is stored in publicly hosted data centres,’ he says. ‘The privately hosted offering allows the client to implement the software in their own data centres. Both options allow the companies to access their data from anywhere, on any device.

    ‘It’s important for our company to conti-nue investing in research and development to keep up with industry changes,’ says Morgan. To do so, it embraces a ‘university-like’ environment within its business, whereby it encourages team members to experiment with new technologies, particularly ones that are offered to clients, and to use the company’s products exactly as a client would.

    With the goal of achieving 100 000 daily users and raising revenues to ZAR100 mil-lion by 2020, the company continuously refines its software solutions to keep pace with evolving technology. The business has embraced the move to mobile platforms, which it expects will account for 40% of future revenues.

    GreatSoft follows a ‘customer first, product second’ approach. This allows Morgan and his executive team to build a relationship with each one of the company’s 800 clients. Morgan says the company ethos is to focus on team leaders – people who can motivate and give their team direction – as opposed to the traditional definition of a manager.

    ‘At GreatSoft we have an open-door policy. It is impossible for one person to know it all. Our philosophy encourages open communication and feedback at all levels in the company, and discussion and internal negotiation form an important part of how we manage the business.’

    Morgan says the freedom to par-ticipate and communicate at every level has seen many issues being resolved through ‘informal chats in the passageway. This always results in improved service delivery to our clients’.

    Through his thirty years of industry experience, Morgan has learnt that one of the biggest problems companies (particularly smaller entities) face is ensuring data integrity and security, especially considering cybersecurity breaches are at an all-time high. He notes that under the directive of South Africa’s data-protection law – the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) – it will be illegal for companies to deliver pay–slips, management accounts or legal documents (including invoices and state-ments) via email.

    GreatSoft tackles this issue by providing a service with a difference: ensuring communication and information-sharing with consumers is managed through the clients’ secure document-exchange portal, which is completely POPI compliant. ‘Client portals are significant because they allow the firms to collaborate, communicate and share information with their clients,’ he says. ‘This is in a 100% secure environment, ensuring the security of the clients’ and employee data, and simplifying the collection and dissemination of information.’

    By 2018, GreatSoft also plans to offer its clients – among other services – GPS-enabled mobile solutions designed for time recording and expense management, and an open platform for inte-gration of taxation, secretarial or third-party general ledgers across jurisdictions anywhere worldwide.

    By Melissa Le Roux