What challenges influenced you to look for a new consulting partner?
The implementation project for our Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP system took far longer than planned and cost several times the amount originally budgeted. The Microsoft software was not to blame, and many of the issues we encountered can be attributed to our own lack of good project management practices at the time. It became clear eventually, however, that part of the solution was to engage with a new consulting partner who could provide us with better, higher-quality AX support. Merit Solutions filled the bill in that regard.
How is Merit Solutions different than Microsoft Dynamics AX Consultants you have worked with in the past?
Merit engaged with us at all levels, from the strategic down to the technical, to first diagnose what was wrong, then develop a workable action plan to stabilize the platform, make significant improvements to our AX deployment so that it met our major functional requirements, and longer-term to improve our regulatory compliance posture and SDLC practices. We were very impressed with the quality of the advice Merit consultants gave us starting from day one of the engagement, and even more impressed with the results after we followed their guidance.
Why would you recommend Merit Solutions?
Merit hires seasoned, knowledgeable, and collegial ERP experts who genuinely care about providing superior value at a reasonable cost. They seem at all times to have our best, long-term interests at heart, even when that might detract from their short-term revenue prospects, understanding that this is key to their excellent reputation and successful business model. They back up their engagement managers with a deep technical bench, staffed with developers and support personnel of the highest caliber located in areas of the world with lower labor rates than in the U.S.
How would you describe Merit Solutions’ AX and Life Sciences industry knowledge?
Volcano Corporation is a publicly-traded medical device company supplying life-saving equipment to hospitals around the globe. We are heavily-regulated by the FDA and similar government agencies in other countries as a result. Computer systems which could impact our product quality, and therefore patient safety, must be validated in accordance with very restrictive requirements laid out in numerous laws and regulations specific to our industry. Merit consultants were already familiar with the unique environment companies in the life sciences face coming in, and were able tailor their own already-rigorous SDLC practices to comply with Volcano’s quality management program very quickly as a result.
How has Merit Solutions helped you increase the value of the products you provide to your customers?
Our ERP system is absolutely essential to the efficient running of our manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Costa Rica. Merit consultants played a key role in a project sponsored by our Board of Directors to relocate our critical enterprise applications off of failing legacy hardware in our oldest facility and onto all-new private cloud infrastructure located in redundant state-of-the-art datacenters in Las Vegas. Following their advice, we also took this opportunity to make significant improvements to the way the 30+ servers associated with our ERP system were architected and implemented. Now that the AX platform is running reliably and doing what we need it to do, the company is able to produce products more cost-effectively than we have in the past.
How has Merit Solutions helped you to increase business performance?
We had AX projects in our IT portfolio proposed for fixing and adding new, essential business capabilities at the point we asked Merit to assume the primary consultant role for this system at Volcano. Merit consultants fully participated in and contributed to the governance process we implemented to determine which of these projects should move forward and when. They interviewed business owners, suggested process improvements in accordance with best industry practices, created well-written functional design specifications, and developed clean and well-documented code as required for approved projects. These changes have resulted in streamlined and more efficient business processes, reducing costs and materially improving organizational performance throughout our entire product lifecycle.
How has Merit Solutions helped you to reduce costs?
Merit has helped us to reduce our costs in many ways, several of which I have already mentioned. We expect to reap continuing benefits in terms of automated and improved business processes and reduced costs as, with Merit’s expert assistance, we continue to refine and upgrade our AX ERP environment here at Volcano.
How has Merit Solutions helped you to improve quality and compliance?
Merit has met or exceeded every requirement levied by industry regulators and our own internal Quality and Regulatory compliance staff for managing and making controlled changes to our validated AX environment. They were absolutely instrumental, for example, in helping us respond to requests from our external auditors for evidence demonstrating compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) regulations during our most recent annual inspection.