Experts assess the Pionus software program as unique and professional

Van Beek started the design of Pionus, its own business software program, many years ago. Independent specialist Skopos was asked to examine the functionality and future prospects of the system. The conclusion was favourable: “The big advantage of the system is the integration of the package with the technology”, says Gerrit Vixseboxse, director at Skopos. “That is really unique.”

Erik Huttema, senior advisor at Skopos, agrees with this view. “Pionus simply looks very good. It is a fully-fledged, professionally built system with menu structures, clear screens and an amazingly high performance. Higher than what could be obtained with any other system with a stability approaching 99.9 %. We were therefore very impressed by it.”

Player in the market
“One of the biggest advantages is that the system does not take into account functional areas”, explains Huttema. “In addition to ERP systems, software packages that combine different business processes, there are many other separate systems and software, such as CRM for customer relationship management. All these separate sit in a sort of domain.”

Vixseboxse adds: “If Van Beek buys all this separate software, the costs are much too high. Pionus cycles easily through these systems and can disregard these domains. There are many companies just like Van Beek who have between 15 to 50 employees, whose work is very project-based and who are involved in a lot of technology. Pionus is a very good fit for this type of company”

Extra applications
“The CRM and DMS functions have stratagems and facilities that you do not see in advanced systems”, Huttema continues. “During the research many rabbits were pulled out of the hat.” One example of this is the ‘them screen’, an information screen where everyone can report commonly occurring problems. The system then assigns these problems to certain officers who can solve the problem. “These types of small applications make the system unique and our own.”

Flexibility vs. capacity
“A big plus point which you will never get with a standard system is flexibility. But that also has a reverse side: capacity. At the moment they maintain the system with one and a half people which is sufficient for now. But they cannot set up as a professional supplier for interested companies and for example offer 24 hour support and have all the documentation in both English and Dutch”, says Huttema.

Out-of-the-box research
To reach these conclusions, Skopos did not choose just any research. “Firstly we not only looked at other ERP systems, as in previous research, but also other types of software”, says Vixseboxse. “Secondly we not only looked at the product, but also at the service provision and organisation around it. In addition we also looked at what the long terms risks actually are if Van Beek goes ahead with building its own software.”

Unique process
Skopos’s first step was to set out Van Beek’s main process in a diagram that starts with the customer’s inquiry that then addresses the engineering via the project organisation. After this it moves into preparation, production, delivery and finally invoicing. “For each part we interviewed those responsible”, says Huttema. “In three days we knew how Van Beek maintains their system, how they handle new requests to build further on Pionus and the service provision around the system.”

“We gradually looked at whether we understood how it works, what it does, what our opinion is of the system and how we must compare this with a standard ERP system or other solutions”, indicates Vixseboxse. “And also how stable or vulnerable the organisation around the Pionus is.”

Future prospects
Skopos also took into account low codes in the research which is very unique. In this way the experts researched what the future of the program can offer. Vixseboxse says: “At present you can see Pionus as a closed box that cannot be easily extended. Pionus replicates the smart software low code like a sort of Lego that can be supplemented easily. For example it is possible to build a sort of Pionus 2, 3, etc. for example through an external supplier instead of a Van Beek software engineer. It is of course good to know that the system offers sufficient options for the future.”

Cooperation for the best result
Perry Verberne, director of Van Beek, and Marten Verhoeven, Van Beek’s software engineer, also carried out part of the research. Vixseboxse commented: ‘This research must make the customer smarter, as we want to involve him.” Huttema explains: “For example Marten went to an EHTH trade fair where the biggest players on the market were showing their demos. In this way he got a good idea of what is happening in the market.”

Concise and clear result
Van Beek did not receive an old-fashioned research report or book of a hundred pages from Skopos. “In a PowerPoint presentation we explain how the process went and what the advantages and points for improvement of the software are for each component area”, says Vixseboxse.

“Pionus does precisely what Van Beek needs”, Huttema finally says. “It fits in with the horizontal organisation at Van Beek. Someone in engineering must talk to the customer and someone from production must also know how things are going with the sales order. With Pionus everyone can see the same up-to-date and easily accessible information.”

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