Alwyn Francis established the company that is now known as Virtutem in 2008. The company soon became the premier consultants offering ERP services in North America for Infor’s LX, BPCS, and PRMS products. Mr. Francis assembled a team of highly qualified managers, consultants, and technologists in these and other ERP software platforms. Each team member offers clients a high degree of technical expertise and business knowledge gained from working as IT managers in a wide range of industries, website, and applications developers, financial consultants, materials managers, inventory control specialists, and more.
This week marks Virtutem’s ten year Anniversary. We took a moment to ask Alwyn Francis a few questions about the journey of the company:
“You started the company in 2008- What made you start Virtutem and what inspired you to build the business into what it is today?”
I started Virtutem when I saw there was a space for a company that had a strong focus on customer service aligned with a comprehensive understanding of manufacturing ERP software and savvy technical skills.
When doing business with our clients, we stand behind what we do. We know we aren’t perfect, but we are straightforward and honest about what we believe is the best answer for their success even if we are not the solution for that. We are a PARTNER and an advisor.
Virtutem’s foundation is integrity, collaboration, and diversity aligned with a mission to leverage technology, processes, and systems to help our clients achieve business excellence.
“What do you think is the most vital business challenge in the 21st Century? How can Virtutem step in?”
I would say that our clients’ most challenging aspect is the pace of change is getting faster in all areas of their business. This, while it is increasingly harder to find and retain the right staff to drive the company forward. In the work that we do, we are helping our clients improve their day-to-day by improving business processes, simplifying software, and providing training where necessary. When a potential client comes to us, they are looking to change what they do. Our philosophy is to initially look at their current systems to see if there are opportunities to improve what they already have as we often uncover significant value in what they already have. Furthermore, we have expertise with what might be their mature system, and as such we can advise them on the benefits of upgrading or optimize what they have. We help guide our clients to the system that will give them the maximum value with the lowest cost.
However, if a new system is the better option, then we assist in elevating the approach they are looking to take as well as recommending industry-leading business solutions or development.
Fundamentally, we help clients get the value out of their investment in business software faster or long after they thought it was exhausted. We want to help them get to where the company needs to be. We come in and pass on our knowledge, giving them the tools to succeed and modernize.
“What do you believe is the biggest strength of Virtutem?”
Our biggest strength is our breadth of experience gained from working in a diverse range of businesses.
Virtutem now has ten years of experience, but each member of our team has over 20 years of expertise in their fields. Over our ten years…
– We have worked with 105 companies in 25 states and territories in North America
– We have utilized a workforce of over 62 consultants.
– We are on track to have our best year since our founding.
“In what ways has Virtutem grown in 10 years?”
When we started we focused on ERP Support, but now we upgrade and implement new ERP systems from Infor as well as Oracle Netsuite. Having attained Alliance Partner status with Infor and Solution Provider status with Oracle Netsuite, we are ideally positioned for companies wanting these solutions.
Another area of significant growth has been in web applications development and, most recently, even into the mobile applications arena as well.
Our third area of growth has been our private label business intelligence program that allows our clients to bring data together from many disparate systems, the internet, and even excel spreadsheets into meaningful reports, dashboards and views.
During the past ten years, our client base has expanded from large manufacturing companies to include smaller enterprises and start-ups in a diverse range of business.
When we started in 2008 we were only in Illinois, since then we have expanded to have consultants as west as California, as far south as Alabama, and as North as Vermont, and far east as North Carolina.
“What do you see as your biggest accomplishment since you started the business?”
Our most significant accomplishment has been retaining our culture, “The Virtutem Way.”
The Virtutem Way is defined as:
— We are committed to doing the right thing. We stay true to our values in decisions, in negotiations and communications.
— We treat others as we’d like to be treated. We display respect in each interaction with our clients, our partners, and each other.
— We achieve distinction through our work product, our standards, and our operations.
— We cultivate genuine collaboration in work groups, across functions, and among leaders.
We have maintained the strength of our focus on customer service, building out our skill set and increasing engagement. When we started in 2008, it was a tough business environment. We are very proud of the scope of the work we have done and the extremely high level that work is at.
“Where do you expect Virtutem to be in the next 10 years?”
When we started it was to provide good value and service to just a few customers. What we saw as we have grown was a need for the type of service Virtutem offers, and it helped us to establish the consultative relationship with our clients that we’re known for.
We are a TRUE BUSINESS PARTNER: we want to be there for the good times, the bad times, but most importantly, we want to migrate our clients from the bad to the best.
In 10 years, technology and the way of business will continue to change. At Virtutem, we adjust to the change and we will continue to bring in that expertise.
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