More on Intellectual Property
The firm lives and works in a society that provides many other enablers. There is an effective system of contract law. Much of its work is done on verbal, hand-shake agreements; it has had little recourse to the courts. But just knowing that there is legal system available is a comforting backdrop even if you seldom have to use it. There is an excellent telecommunication system providing day to day telephone and email communication; access to information over the internet; cost-effective marketing using Google Adwords and the website; and the ability to transmit and receive software electronically. There is a banking system enabling transactions with customers and suppliers, locally and internationally, in a cost effective manner. These are things we take for granted. But imagine if they were not there.
The firm has well developed processes to continually improve its consultants’ skills and performance - including internal and external training, mentoring, a Wiki providing a repository of knowledge, and regular staff reviews. Its consultants have had experience working together on successful projects. They understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They understand its cultural norms. It takes time to build teams that can work together efficiently. That should not be under-estimated. Within the group, there is extensive, relevant knowledge of business processes, ERP systems, and the software the firm implements and supports – in particular the Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP system from Denmark and enwis) the specialty software for the waste management and recycling industry from Germany. Its consultants also have knowledge of its clients’ businesses and the systems they have built for them. The longevity of its staff is most important in this regard; they remember what has been done and the reasons why and are able to work more cost effectively and more reliably because they have this knowledge.
The firm has developed methodologies to undertake many of its standard tasks – implementation, upgrades, training, and software development – and a consultative sales process which focusses on the client’s business not the software product. These make its work more efficient and more reliable and its consultants more productive. It has built a library of software modules that augment the functionality of the standard Microsoft Dynamics NAV product – Fenwick Gold – which enables it to supply packaged extensions rather than custom build them.
It uses the Microsoft Dynamics NAV software itself. This provides an efficient accounting system and aids the financial management of the firm. Its own staff have modified it extensively to suit the needs of a professional services firm, particularly for processing timesheets. Its management is able to compare current experience with that from many previous years and to benchmark performance.
Fenwick Software has a strong client base, built up over many years, that provides it with a reliable source of ongoing work. In most years, over 70% of its business comes from existing clients. Many of its clients’ businesses are thriving and growing partly as a result of improvements to their productivity as a result of work Fenwick Software has done for them. This in turn creates more opportunities to serve them and for them to be able to afford such services. The trusting, professional relationships built allow the consultants to focus on the job at hand rather than forever worrying about what might go wrong and who would be to blame. This provides cost savings all round.
The extensive experience and its variety is relevant when winning new work. Prospects want to know that the firm has done similar work before and done it successfully. Fenwick Software has a good reputation, well-deserved, built and maintained over thirty-seven years. The firm and many of its senior staff are well known. Clients and colleagues regard it highly. In addition to the strengths that come from talented staff, teamwork, knowledge and methodologies, its Case Studies tell the stories in ways that are meaningful to prospects. These are augmented by the testimonials.
In summary, its prosperity is due to the facts that it:
Specialises in what it does, focusing on improving procedures in SME businesses using the Microsoft Dynamics NAV and enwis) software.
Exchanges with strangers, building on work done by others in Denmark and Germany.
Gains trading efficiencies by building a good reputation and trusting relationships with staff and clients
Innovates in a myriad of small ways; improved processes, and building knowledge into packaged software products.
Benefits from our civil society in such things as its education systems, its telecommunications systems, its banking and its legal systems.
Uses concepts from liberty – autonomy, responsibility, respect – to encourage its staff to thrive and in the process uses everyone’s talents to the full.