What is our primary use case?
We use it mainly for financial reporting. It helps us see our net margins in detail, net margin by customer, by category. It allows us to see our sales in more detail, and same-day versus a couple weeks after month-end closes, for example. But we mainly use it for financial purposes.
How has it helped my organization?
It has been very beneficial. We have quite a few people using it who would always rely on the finance team to merge Excel spreadsheets, merge data from multiple sources, and then provide a final report to them for whatever turnaround period was required. But now they're able to just go to the website and see what they need right away. If it's data they want to download instead of just seeing it in a final report, they can do that.
Overall, "numbers on demand" has been a really big change for us. VINYL has been able to pull information from a couple of sources, and stuff that would end up just being in giant Excel spreadsheets otherwise, we're able to have it available immediately.
It's also helped the accounting department, specifically, for our month-ends. We still have to validate all our numbers manually, but we compare our numbers now to VINYL and make sure all our manual calculations are in line with VINYL. It's helped with a lot of troubleshooting.
It has made us clean up our data too, to make sure VINYL can read it. We have to make sure we're consistent with how we input our data and categorize everything. We've been able to really expand our reporting and see net margins in so many more ways than we were able to before.
In addition, we've been using a distributor that will send us just giant spreadsheets weekly, of all the data, of all the sales, item by item. The biggest value for us has been the ability for VINYL to do massive revenue recognition for us, every day. That's been the biggest advantage for us, being able to pull this data in every day. Previously, this was something we were only doing at the end of every month.
What is most valuable?
It's customizable to whatever you might use it for, so I don't know about specific features. It's specific to our needs. But I've gone in and I've learned it myself a little bit, with their help. I've gone to some of the Zudy training for VINYL.
As far as features go, it's the ability for me to go in and see what's going on when I need to. And to be able to start to do some back-end programming of it myself. That's been nice too.
It's very user-friendly, and the front-end is exactly what we need to see, very simple. It can get more complicated too, if those are the needs.
What needs improvement?
I would love to have the home screen a little more customizable because, as we're building more and more reports, it would be nice to have more options in how they're organized on the screen.
I'm not sure if this is something they could do, but if we had it more customizable for different departments - if sales saw it one way, whereas finance had something different than sales - that would be helpful. We also have a few companies within Elite Group that are using it so more customization could be nice.
For how long have I used the solution?
One to three years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's never been down. The only time we've had issues is if we change something, and then it messes something up in the back-end. But that's always been our fault. Generally, VINYL has really helped us to find our own user errors. We've found more of our own problems than we've ever found with VINYL.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We have three years of data in there. It has handled it well. All our limitations, as far as data is concerned, have been related to the file size. We export things from VINYL into Excel and Excel has a maximum. We can't go over 500,000 lines. I don't think any of our scalability issues have stemmed from VINYL itself.
We keep adding companies to it, and that's been no problem but we're not a huge company. We haven't had any problems with scalability. It's not a problem to add users. It's really quick. That's never caused a problem.
How is customer service and technical support?
I deal with a lot of people at VINYL. We have our consultants, a couple guys at VINYL, and we talk once a week. If there are any issues I go directly to them. There's also a trainer I've been in contact with when it was less specific to our use of VINYL and just a general VINYL question.
Everyone has been extremely helpful and friendly. We've never had a problem with them fixing what needs to be fixed. They know what's priority. They know our Friday management report is the most important thing for us and, whatever we do - any changes we make to VINYL - we have to make sure the Friday management report goes out smoothly and as expected.
Which solutions did we use previously?
Before VINYL, it was very manual for us. Zudy is the first tool where we really tried to bring together these two data sources. We went to Zudy VINYL to merge Accpac and our distributor data. It was the first tool we really found. We needed something that could be extremely customizable.
How was the initial setup?
I was involved in getting it to go live. We had a lot of logic to build into it, and that's when I was brought on, to find ways to work with them, to figure out how to go from what's in our system to what the actual correct numbers should be.
It was easy to learn to use. What they present is final. You don't have that many ways to use it. It's not like a major ERP system where you have all these options, all these different menus that you can go through. What's presented on the screen is a report. For me, it's pretty intuitive if I want to change the date range, if I want to change what customer I'm looking at. I don't think anyone else has mentioned to me not finding it intuitive or finding issues with the navigation. It's a pretty straightforward tool, so I find it quite easy to work with.
What was our ROI?
It's valuable for all of us, in terms of our time. It has saved us time.
What other advice do I have?
Discuss your needs with them, make sure they understand the end goal. Then they can customize it to your needs. With us, we kept changing what we wanted, how to use it, so we had to keep going back to the drawing board. But they're extremely willing to find a way to make what you want, as long as they know what you want.
There is some patience required in getting it set up because it's different for everyone. Everyone uses it differently, so you do have to be patient with the initial setup process. When I was brought on it was because we had to find a way to go from our system, take our numbers, and figure out what it was we wanted to see on the screen, and how we could get them from our system into VINYL. We don't really do inventory the normal way with our company, so we had to find a way to get inventory displayed through VINYL.
Be patient and communicate, explain what your needs are, and figure out where the data come from in your system to be able to project it into VINYL. The way we use it is so heavy on finance. We need our numbers to be precise. Everything comes down to precision and numbers for us. We're able to get that and it's helped us for sure.
I really like VINYL. I would rate it a nine out of ten. I see the advantage of it and I also see so many ways we could use it more here. I want to keep pushing for us to use it in more ways because I can see how it can be so beneficial if we start pulling in other systems.
The fun part is, the messier it feels for us, the more excited they sound at wanting to solve the problem.
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.