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The Big Bus Company

About The Big Bus Company

The Big Bus Company was established in 1991 in London and has since developed an international brand covering 6 cities. The easily recognisable livery has become synonymous with quality, open-top, sightseeing tours, building customer confidence in the visitor experience Big Bus is able to provide.

Why Big Bus needed a new back office system

As a growing company Big Bus needed a back office system to cope with the expanding business. Specific requirements included consolidation and multi-currency capability and purchase authorisations: "Being an international company we needed this to be automated" commented Caroline Swain, Chief Financial Officer at Big Bus.

The Review Process – why SAP Business One?

The team at Big Bus were looking at large solution providers and contacted SAP who referred them to Sapphire, who "gave us a very impressive demonstration of the SAP Business One solution", said Caroline.

Also shortlisted during the review process were Sage Line 500, Sage Accpac, Oracle and Infor SunSystems. "We were relatively limited as there are not many solutions that can handle multi-currency and consolidations," explained Caroline, going on to say "In comparison to the other products that we reviewed, SAP Business One was extremely competitive on price. It also compared favourably on implementation time."

On the final decision Caroline said "SAP Business One ticked all the boxes in terms of the scope and functionality we wanted – especially the purchase side of things which is controlled from London. We chose SAP Business One because it is a truly international product and can do everything we need it to do and more. Also, we really liked the Vision reporting tool and the fact that it is compatible with Earnie [the payroll solution in place at Big Bus]."

Why Big Bus chose to work with Sapphire

"We chose to work with Sapphire because as a company they met all the attributes we were looking for in a business partner and gave us a competitive price" said Caroline, "Some of the other organisations we reviewed gave us quotes of £150,000 – without delving properly into our requirements. They seemed to plan in a lot more consultation time without justifying it."

She also observed that "during the initial phases of finding the right solution, everyone at Sapphire was very helpful. We have a small finance team with limited time and the team at Sapphire really worked around us". The working relationship with Sapphire

The working relationship with Sapphire

Throughout the system design and implementation period the team at Big Bus were impressed by Sapphire's flexible approach. "I often have to travel at a moment's notice" said Caroline "and Sapphire was very accommodating of this. They did everything in their power to get what they could do done - not leaving tasks hanging - and moving on to the next steps."

"Everybody we worked with at Sapphire provided an exceptional service; from our Project Manager, the consultants and our Account Manager. They all did their utmost to help – nothing ever seems to be too much trouble" said Caroline.

Regarding the Project Planning proposed by Sapphire Caroline commented "We really liked the flexibility with which Sapphire used consultation days; we have regular reviews and have used them very effectively."

Working with SAP Business One

"Big Bus is now benefiting from a really streamlined purchase system, the reconciliation/Matching invoices of our manual purchase order system was a full time job, but now SAO has effectively halved the time spent on this allowing us to concentrate of further analysis." said Caroline, going on to say "The company has an Engineering Department responsible for purchasing all equipment; this too is more streamlined, meaning that the team are freed up to focus on the costs themselves rather than getting paper work onto the system – which is in turn saving money for Big Bus. One of the main benefits of having SAP Business One in place is that it is so much easier to track stock and keep an eye on it more efficiently – increasing productivity without having to add new members of staff in the Engineering Department is a real bonus."

SAP Business One is performing very well and Big Bus have had no problems with high volume of transactions. There are typically 13-14 users concurrently logged into SAP Business One globally at Big Bus, with other members of the team, such as Department Managers, logging in from time to time throughout the day as required. "Using SAP Business One is pretty intuitive" says Caroline, "everyone at Big Bus has learnt on the job and has taken to it like a duck to water."

What's next?

SAP Business One has been implemented for use by the team in London and also Hong Kong; there are plans in place to roll the solution out to Dubai, Shanghai and International Management companies before the end of the financial year. Caroline noted "This will then provide us with a global consolidation and we will continue to add new locations to the SAP system as the business grows."

Big Bus is working with a developer on a new global ticket system and has plans in place to connect this directly to SAP Business One.

Conclusion

"Dealing with Sapphire is very straightforward" says Caroline "and the service that we get from the Support team is excellent – much better than our previous accounting solution provider. I would recommend that anyone reviewing their accounting and business management systems considers SAP Business One and speaks to Sapphire. With any successful system implementation getting the right software is 50% of the battle, the other 50% is making sure that you have the right support to go with your system."

Media contact: Rachel Unicomb +44 (0)20 7648 2008 Rachel.Unicomb@sapphiresystems.com

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