From a branch in South Africa, software reseller Trew Solutions has grown to include an office in New Zealand. The Channel talks to company director Donald Gibbs about bespoke development work and the importance of customer service.
How did it all begin?
It all started 20 years ago for us when now co-director Jenny Gibbs began working with her sister Tracy, who was then part of the development team for Pastel Premier, which has now migrated to Evolution. Jenny successfully started a branch of the company in South Africa, then Jenny and I moved to New Zealand two and half years ago and have since started a new branch here.
What changes has the business undergone?
Adapting to a new country has been an experience, but accountants and business owners the world over are the same: they all want excellent performance out of their software.
What is your core business?
We provide professional sales and support for clients making use of Sage Pastel and Maximizer CRM software. By making use of our sister company in South Africa we are able to do bespoke development work for our clients, taking full advantage of an exchange rate that works in our favour. Our clients certainly benefi t from many years of experience, at a very reasonable price.
What are your clients and what business challenges do they face?
We work with pretty much everyone; the Maximizer and Sage Pastel range really does have something for everyone, from the start-up, one-person band through to organisations with 200 users. We have recently been approached by two local companies asking us to supply the accounting software to integrate with the software that they have developed for the warehousing industry. It’s really exciting to see how they have approached a warehousing problem and come up with sheer Kiwi brilliance in developing a solution that is going to be revolutionary. With efficiencies being the main watchword in today’s economic climate, excellent accounting software and CRM packages are essential for any company.
Is your physical location a challenge to doing business?
Not at all. Being based in Glenfi eld means we are only a hop over the bridge from New Zealand’s main economic hub, and with the technology that’s available we even support clients in the USA.
What technology is hot right now?
Anything that creates effi ciency, saves money and gives the client value for money. Mobile technology that allows you to have your CRM database on your BlackBerry is also very much in demand nowadays, because companies want and need their staff to be efficient wherever they are.
Old, cumbersome, slow and hard-to-use software.
What’s the best thing about your location?
Being close to Auckland, and more importantly being able to be aligned with some very professional like-minded vendors. Having the time delay and currency exchange in our favour when working with our development team is a bonus.
Without giving away valuable IP – what do you think is the secret to your success?
Customer service and treating all clients with the respect that they deserve! Sybiz and Maximizer have wonderful tools, systems and processes that we use when talking to new clients. Businesses normally only look at purchasing CRM and accounting software every fi ve to seven years and, whilst many do have an idea of what it is that they are after, circumstances change so fast that what was relevant the last time they looked at software normally isn’t suitable anymore. By using professional tools we can help the client to determine what it is that they need, not just now, but in the future. This process helps the client realise what it is that they need. Sometimes we simply cannot supply them with what they require, but it’s still a good feeling to steer them in the right direction, and the funny thing is, we have found that the word-ofmouth publicity we get from being upfront and honest earns us much more work than we turn away.