Client Spotlight: Service Access and Management, Inc.

By Boyd Goodner

In the landscape of human services organizations, few stand out quite like Service Access & Management, Inc. (SAM, Inc.), a non-profit based in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. SAM’s journey from grappling with an outdated software system to embracing a cutting-edge, cloud-based solution is not just a story of technological transformation but a testament to their commitment to enhancing the quality of life for those they serve.

SAM, Inc.’s Mission and Expansion

Founded in 1997 in Berks County, PA, SAM, Inc. began with a focus on case management services. Over the years, it has expanded to provide a myriad of services including mental health, early intervention, and support for developmental disabilities. What started as a 15-person team committed to enhancing human services in Pennsylvania has grown into a thriving organization with 925 employees, covering 70 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Such impressive growth has brought complexities that their existing ERP software system, Microsoft Great Plains, was struggling to keep up with.

The Complication of Growth

As SAM, Inc. expanded, so did the complexities of managing its operations. With 18 different companies under its umbrella, each requiring a separate database for financial management and reporting, the process became fragmented. The system was functional, but not efficient or scalable for SAM, Inc.’s growing needs, especially in managing the substantial volume of employee expense reports, a critical component given that 75% of their workforce required travel reimbursements. “The fragmentation created by our old system was hindering our ability to effectively manage our financial operations,” explained Stan Miller, SAM, Inc.’s Chief Financial Officer. “We needed a solution that could bring together our diverse entities under one roof and handle the complexities of our operational demands.”

Complicating matters further was Microsoft’s announcement of the end of support for the Great Plains system by April 2025. This deadline set the clock ticking for SAM, Inc. to find a new system that could not only replace Great Plains but also provide a more integrated and advanced solution for their evolving needs.

Finding the Right ERP Solution

In their quest for a new system, SAM, Inc. embarked on a thorough search, evaluating several different ERP solutions. Vertilocity recommended Acumatica. Initially, Acumatica wasn’t even on their radar. The team at SAM, Inc. had reservations about its suitability for a healthcare organization like theirs. However, Vertilocity’s team, leveraging their extensive experience with over 40 healthcare organizations already benefiting from Acumatica, stepped in to demystify these concerns. They presented a compelling case showcasing Acumatica’s flexibility and robustness, addressing SAM, Inc.’s unique operational needs. This eye-opening demonstration played a pivotal role in shifting SAM, Inc.’s perspective, ultimately leading them to recognize Acumatica as the ideal solution for their complex and evolving requirements.

This pivotal stage was smoothly facilitated by the team at Vertilocity, who had a rich history of collaboration with SAM, Inc.. This team had been guiding SAM, Inc. since their shift from an A/S 400 system to Microsoft Great Plains back in 2004. Their consistent support and deep understanding of SAM, Inc.’s operations were key in effectively managing this latest transition to Acumatica, a cloud-based ERP solution. “Vertilocity’s deep understanding of our operations and their proactive approach in conducting a comprehensive business process analysis was instrumental in crafting a solution that was just right for us,” said Stan Miller.

Streamlined Implementation

The process of transitioning SAM, Inc.’s numerous entities to Acumatica was a study in strategic planning and execution. Recognizing the unique fiscal calendar of each company within SAM, Inc., Vertilocity structured the transition in phases. Several of the companies were successfully migrated to the new system in July of 2023 and January 1, 2024. The process is set to continue with 5 more companies scheduled to go live by July 2024. This phased approach, aligning with each entity’s fiscal year, ensures a focused and effective transition.

A critical element in this seamless implementation has been SAM, Inc.’s commitment to timely information delivery. “SAM, Inc.’s punctuality in providing essential data has been instrumental in the smooth execution of each phase. This efficiency from SAM, Inc. facilitated meeting key milestones, enabling a systematic progression in migrating each of SAM, Inc.’s companies to the new ERP system,” noted Vertilocity’s Ray Nist. The joint effort highlighted the significance of prompt communication and coordination in executing a large-scale, multi-phase ERP implementation.

The Training Edge

The training strategy implemented by Vertilocity for SAM, Inc.’s transition to Acumatica was meticulously designed to cater to the diverse needs of their large workforce. It included specialized small group sessions, providing an environment for focused, in-depth learning and problem-solving. These sessions were particularly beneficial for key personnel who would be extensively interacting with the new system. In addition to these sessions, Vertilocity also conducted extensive virtual training for over 500 employees, a feat managed through platforms like Microsoft Teams. This large-scale training was crucial in ensuring that a vast number of SAM, Inc.’s staff, spread across different locations, were simultaneously brought up to speed with the functionalities of Acumatica.

Vertilocity’s Ray Nist, a familiar face to SAM, Inc., led these training efforts. His familiarity with SAM, Inc.’s operations and personnel added a personal touch to the training process, making it more effective. SAM, Inc. appreciated this approach, noting that the virtual training was more successful than anticipated and was instrumental in easing the transition for the large workforce. The combination of small group and large-scale virtual sessions proved to be a balanced and effective training approach, facilitating a smooth transition, and fostering the confident and competent use of the new system throughout SAM, Inc.

Enhanced Efficiency

The shift to Acumatica marked a significant upgrade in SAM, Inc.’s operational capabilities. The new system facilitated the consolidation of banking activities, seamless integration of travel expense management, and realignment of workflows within the finance department. Additionally, reporting efficiency saw a considerable boost, leading to a more responsive and streamlined organizational structure.

“Our move to Acumatica has been and continues to be incredibly smooth, thanks to Vertilocity’s meticulous planning and execution. The most significant improvements we’ve seen include better cash management, streamlined workflow, and more efficient reporting,” said Stan Miller.

Vertilocity is proud to bolster SAM, Inc.’s mission of improving lives, ensuring they have the technological support and guidance necessary to navigate their evolving business and continue making a positive impact. The collaboration between SAM, Inc. and Vertilocity exemplified a successful partnership, with Vertilocity understanding and accommodating the unique needs of SAM, Inc. As SAM, Inc. continues to expand and evolve, Vertilocity remains committed to being a steadfast partner in their journey. The support and expertise provided by Vertilocity are not just for SAM, Inc.’s current transition but to adapt to any future growth and evolving needs.

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