With customers in manufacturing, retail, distribution, and service industries, HSO has developed industry-specific solutions to help companies cross over into the digital era. Their innovation department develops and maintains apps for customers who use Microsoft Dynamics 365. As MECOMS 365 is built on Microsoft Dynamics 365, both companies were a perfect fit.
The collaboration between Johan Vandekerckhove and Eric Veldkamp goes way back. The first is MECOMS CCO, the latter HSO INNOVATION’s Executive Director of Sales & Marketing. A phone call from Veldkamp to Vandekerckhove in the early 2000s sparked the beginning of a friendship and long-lasting partnership. “Vandekerckhove lives and breathes utility,” says Veldkamp. “He’s an interesting person to talk to. So almost two decades ago I called him up and said: ‘Johan, you guys are great at utility and billing, we’re great at service. I think we can work together.’”
The app outperforming all other apps
Four years ago, the collaboration took off. Veldkamp: “MECOMS software now offers our Dynamics Advanced Field Service. This component analyses utility companies’ assets. Based on this data, we can determine if an asset will need maintenance soon or if something needs fixing right away. Furthermore, the software offers features like templates for contracts, work orders and invoicing.”
For Veldkamp, it’s clear that the combination of both pieces of software makes the life of his customers much easier. “The interface user-friendly, and clients can use it to manage their processes end-to-end,” he says. “Utility companies usually have a lot of systems running simultaneously. In the past, they needed different apps to manage individual processes like finance, logistics, or service and maintenance. It was hard to manage, as these apps didn’t always work well together, and it was expensive. Now, with MECOMS and HSO INNOVATION, all processes can be managed from a single platform. Every app is built using Microsoft technology, so you’re certain of smooth interactions between them.” The result? Enhanced productivity on all accounts.
Expertise as common ground
It’s not just their systems that work well together, the MECOMS and HSO INNOVATION teams are two peas in a pod, too. “When two companies share customers, discussions could get heated. Not here, though,” says Veldkamp. “There’s mutual respect, which is very important. What I admire in MECOMS is that they don’t try and do everything themselves. They know their strengths, but they also know when it’s best to count on the expertise of a partner.” Veldkamp believes this is a philosophy both companies have in common.
Their experience serves as common ground, too. Veldkamp: “We both have many years on the clock in our respective branches. In MECOMS’ case, this know-how is evident in the way their solutions perfectly suit their clients’ needs. Adding their own functionalities to Microsoft’s tools, MECOMS has made the platform a lot more useful for utility companies.”
Teamwork on all levels
Clearly, teamwork makes the dream work in this setup. “We share a client in Iceland, for example, a company that generates energy from water. They have more than enough water over there, so that’s a good way of using it,” Veldkamp laughs. “MECOMS takes care of calculation charges and every other aspect of billing. We tackle service and maintenance.”
This spirit of collaboration spills over in the way both companies work with clients, too. Utility companies interested in MECOMS’ platform and its field service component will be treated to this same teamwork approach. “Representatives from either side work together for meetings, demos, and workshops with clients,” Veldkamp explains. “MECOMS takes the lead, but our consultants are always part of the project to make sure our software integrates seamlessly with this particular costumer’s existing systems. Our teams keep in touch at all times.”
For Veldkamp, there’s no doubt that HSO INNOVATION and MECOMS are in this partnership for the long haul. “Our goal is, of course, to bring in even more clients together. The markets are rapidly changing and digitalisation is a big part of this motion. Whatever the future holds, it will be about providing the best solution for our shared customers.”