Japan Asia Group Pte Ltd decided to make a major overhaul to their business system in response to the rapidly changing external business environment.
The old system used by employees daily– such as time tracking, attendance, and expense management– was highly reliant on different prepackaged software.
After carefully examining the user-friendliness and sustainability of each software, they decided to adopt TeamSpirit’s packaged cloud solution.
After implementing TeamSpirit’s solutions, every staff of the company needs to log in to the system only once, reducing the trouble of unnecessary admin work.
Because TeamSpirit offers a user experience and interface that can be used easily by people who are not IT-savvy, employees need not burden themselves with complicated manual-reading.
“TeamSpirit has the infrastructure in place to realize flexible working ways that are not possible under the current internal system,” said Mr Yamakawa.
Moving forward, he also plans to have the company focused on promoting hourly paid leave and telecommuting.
Change Management: Opting for a Ready-made solution
Japan Asia Group Pte Ltd is a company that is committed to creating a “green community” that is safe, secure, and sustainable.
This green community includes:
- “Spatial Information Business”, which supports businesses dealing with social infrastructure through geospatial information technology;
- “Green Energy Business”, which provides the planning and operation of renewable energy power generation facilities, and the creation, saving, and energy storage solutions of buildings;
- The company owns 22 companies, including one that oversees the Forest Revitalization Project, a forestry value chain utilizing geospatial information technology.
In recent years, the United Nations proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to change the world. It is Japan Asia Group’s mission to propose and implement steps to realize SDGs which each of the 22 companies has declared its commitment to. In the light of this, in 2017 a major change was made to all areas of the system to support this corporate activity.
“In order to implement the management plan for 2020, we decided that it was essential to have a system overhaul. The ERP system we had been deploying was rigid. For example, if a certain change is made, the effect will affect the entire area including the accounting system.
As a result, even if a small change is made, the work will be expensive and considerable maintenance management will be required. We needed to make the system flexible enough to adapt to today’s fast-moving business scene,” says system planning department manager, Mr. Tatsuro Yamakawa.
Based on Mr Yamakawa’s knowledge from the implementation of financial systems, he decided to make a major change to the frontend and backend configuration.
“The Frontend Interface Has To Be Easy To Use For Everyone”
Japan Asia Group then set a selection criteria that the solution should be easy for in-house staff to use. Upon learning about Salesforce, they decided to recode the solution templates from scratch.
Terrace Sky Pte Ltd, a partner company of TeamSpirit, responded to this call for action, prioritizing the smooth progress of operations. The Teamspirit solution was then scheduled for full-scale development in 2019. The objective was to pay close attention to avoiding failure of the solution while optimizing resource and cost allocation.
Choosing High-quality, Ready-Made Solutions Over Building From Scratch
While there were praises for the entire frontend system, there was a lot of consideration on whether to develop solutions in-house or use a ready-made solution on cloud that all employees can use every day, such as time management, man-hours, and expense.
In particular, with regard to the time management system, Japan Asia Group also considered overtime and paid leave remaining are high-risk areas related to legal compliance, and that making mistakes in these areas would be costly. After comprehensive and deliberate consideration, a decision was made to rely on a ready-made cloud solution. TeamSpirit was chosen. In this way, Team Spirit worked closely with Terrace Sky’s system construction team to meet the needs of the Japan Asia Group.
One might assume that Japan Asia Group chose the TeamSpirit solution because there was a strong cooperation between Terrace Sky and Teamspirit. However, this did not happen naturally. Before Japan Asia Group made the final decision, there were various hurdles to be crossed. These hurdles include: determining the safety of the cloud, the convenience of users, and whether TeamSpirit could be entrusted with complying with the law and regulations.
Contributing to Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Via Cloud Computing
The first question to consider, including the use of Salesforce, is to ask if cloud services are really safe. In response to this, Mr. Yamakawa said, “In addition to the continuity and growth of the company, we carefully explained the degree of risk in both related and non-related areas, while looking at the overall movement of stock prices.”
This approach worked, and now it is not necessary to think about the risk we would have otherwise taken. Such risks include, for example, the failure of the server, or purchasing a server which is hardware in-house and maintaining it. BCP has become easier to think about, and Mr Yamakawa feels that it is a unique benefit of cloud services that empowers employers to adjust the number of licenses in accordance to the number of future employees.
Mr. Yamakawa praised TeamSpirit as an intuitive tool specializing in time management. After all, it doesn’t make sense if the software were not easy for employees who actually use it. Initially, user testing and an internal evaluation of the interface was conducted prior to full-scale implementation.
“Even if you don’t refer to the instructions, you can see how to operate it by looking at the screen, which leads to great feedback. The biggest problem with major system overhaul is the need to train users and respond to questions about how to use the new system. TeamSpirit’s interface is designed for general users, and was evaluated in-house so that it could be used by people who are not familiar with IT tools.”
Prior to switching to TeamSpirit in 2019, each employee had to enter his or her ID/password multiple times, because the tools for registering time information and man-hours management were separate. Because this was able to be unified, work is now more seamless.
“These clerical work lasts about five minutes every day. For that reason, the time necessary to refer to records would be considered a loss of opportunity.” It is thought that being able to reduce this time was a small but certain productivity improvement.
Because of legal requirements, the competency and track record of the vendor company becomes a selection criteria, too.
Yamakawa made it clear that there were points to carefully evaluate. These include not only safety issues and internal evaluations of cloud services, but also the use of time management tools on cloud services.
“In Japan, time management is related to compliance with the Labor Relations Act. Therefore, we need to prevent the situation whereby the level of support of the companies provided is low, or if the interpretation of the law is wrong in the first place. In addition to product stability, it was necessary to conduct risk assessments for the companies that provide them. For example, we attempt to answer whether we can provide services firmly in the next five years.”
After various evaluations and verifications, last year, seven new companies was added, resulting in a total of nine companies that use TeamSpirit. This arrangement proceeded as planned, as Japan Asia Group looked forward to managing systems centrally.
“With the introduction of TeamSpirit, we believe that we have the infrastructure to enable people to work in a brand new way, such as hourly paid leave and telecommuting. In today’s world where the shortage of human resources is becoming a social problem, the possibilities of being able to work flexibly will also expand. In fact, there seems to be a lot of things we can and want to do, such as adding features that could not be achieved initially.”
Mr. Yoshinari, who was in charge of the project, said, “Following the two companies that were introduced earlier, more companies will use it in future, so we still have to expand the multi-company support. We will continue to do so and we hope that you will feel both the strength of TeamSpirit as a cloud solution and the scalability of the Salesforce platform.”
Moving Forward: Progress and Collaboration With TeamSpirit
Finally, Mr. Yamakawa said, “I’ve worked with a variety of vendors, and I’ve always thought it’s important to work with our partners to provide good services. TeamSpirit, on the one hand, is sold as a package, so we may not expect to see any detailed customizations. On the other hand, it is our wish to explore new functions that allow modifications along the logic of –“If this brand new function is adopted, it is possible to deploy them in other companies” too. As we continue to develop and nurture the system through dialogue with TeamSpirit, we will also explore these possibilities.”