North Point Technology, LLC
Custom ERP Software for a Variety of Businesses
North Point Technology, LLC has created ProFusionSM, a cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) ERP system designed for small project-based businesses that need all the features of the big brands without the price tag. North Point calls it “ERP for the Rest of Us.”
Both corporate giants and small technology firms like system integrators need the same set of infrastructure tools to run their companies effectively. In fact, because small companies are much more likely to have people wearing many hats, they need better tools — ones that help them manage all those roles and look professional at the same time. They need:
- Sales management and contact database
- Estimation and proposal generation
- Time and expense entry and approval flow
- Project management with real-time, meaningful metrics
- Purchasing (quotes, requisitions, POs, vendor invoices, payments)
- Invoicing and accounts receivable
- Organized file storage
Small companies almost always find that there are products available to handle one or two of these areas each, but none of them really share data with the others. And nothing handles all of the needs together. Over the years, these silo applications rotate in and out; the spreadsheet for contacts became the disk-based CRM, and then it was imported into the email contact system, then over to a cloud CRM, and on and on. Each time the product switched, time was wasted converting it, and more than likely, data was lost in the process.
Even the best of these silos did not share well with the others. You might be happy with your CRM now, but when you were creating a proposal for a customer, you were still typing their name and addresses into the starter document you had created for proposals. And where can I find the scanned purchase order for a project? Is it in our shared drive, or on my USB stick? Is it findable by project name, the uploader, etc.?
ProFusion was born out of frustration with this situation. North Point’s own systems made employees slower and more prone to error, and the inconsistency of client communications (such as proposals, invoices, and correspondence) did not reflect well on North Point as a high-tech company. The company’s experience with Ignition allowed it to recognize Ignition’s potential as the front-end GUI and back-end framework of a database-driven application that would bring all of those silos of data and functionality together.
North Point created ProFusion to solve its own internal issues, but quickly realized that many others had the same problems. That included system integrators and many other small companies providing services. So, North Point moved the solution to the cloud, added additional security, and made it multi-tenant with a per-user subscription model.
Now, all of North Point’s data is being shared throughout the different aspects of the business. Data can be correlated, and statistics can be calculated and trended — providing insight into business operations, experiences with customers, industries, and project types. North Point finally had information it could use to make high-level decisions. And, the tools within ProFusion make North Point better at sales, more complete and consistent with proposals, quicker at support, and better at billing for and collecting revenue. Client users of ProFusion have said they have experienced the same improvements.
Ignition facilitated the creation of ProFusion, because it offers everything that the best web application frameworks (such as Django, MongoDB, Ruby on Rails, Flutter.io) offer, and more. Like a superset of these packages, Ignition is cross-platform, provides excellent integration with back-end databases, comes pre-loaded with a huge set of GUI widgets easily bind-able to data, allows for templating of its own widgets and other GUI elements, has a powerful built-in PDF reporting engine, provides “fat client” advanced scripting and client-specific property storage, back-end scripting, the ability to extend functionality via Python libraries or module creation, and more. North Point would not have tackled this project without Ignition as its application platform.
ProFusion encodes many years of experience and knowledge about operating a small service-based business into a unique software package. It allows North Point’s clients to spend less time on the “business of the business” and more time on billable work for their clients.
- Less than 100 tags
- 294 screens
- Gateway hosted on Google Cloud Compute Instance running Windows Server, SSL encrypted
- Google Cloud SQL
- MySQL server hosting three active databases for two different applications and isolated security
Bob has more than 30 years of experience in the controls and automation field, working for controls manufacturers, chemical and paper companies, and system integrators after earning a degree from Temple University. In 2002, he left a management role for another integrator and founded North Point Technology, LLC, with his wife Lisa, who brought executive and HR experience to the new company. An early adopter of Ignition, Bob led the company to become New York's only Inductive Automation Premier Integrator, and managed the growth of Ignition as the platform of choice at North Point Technology. Bob is the chief architect and original developer of the ProFusion system which is being presented here.Created By:
North Point Technology, LLC
North Point Technology, LLC provides advanced PLC, DCS and SCADA-based solutions to OEM, industrial, governmental, and educational clients located in upstate New York, around the country, and the world. North Point has developed significant expertise in advanced water and wastewater filtration systems, and in the last 15 years has provided programming, commissioning, and support services to hundreds of such plants, in addition to significant continuing work in district cooling (including the first lake source cooling system in this hemisphere), ammonia chillers for ice rinks, batching systems for chemical manufacturers, and more. Ignition has become a part of approximately 80 percent of all of the company's work, and as a result, North Point Technology has created a set of tools and techniques it uses to facilitate the development and testing of Ignition projects. The company also creates custom, cloud-based software products using Ignition as the application platform.Industry:
Small businesses that execute projects (or similar) for clients