Roka Bioscience: ERP in the Cloud

Roka Bioscience Inc., of Warren, N.J., is a company that launched in September 2009.

It produces equipment for molecular testing. “We deal with the food industry, offering high-speed testing equipment for salmonella and other bugs,” says Lars Boesgaard, the company’s controller. “We needed the ability to manage our dispersed instruments across customer sites.”

Boesgaard was seeking tools that would support basic enterprise resource planning (ERP) as well as provide customer relationship management (CRM) applications for remote customer sites. “Our initial gut reaction was to look at some of the packages we could install in-house.” The off-the-shelf packages were insufficient for accounting needs and offered no customer-support tools. Boesgaard quickly determined that the company couldn’t afford SAP, Oracle or Microsoft Dynamics. He also knew that he didn’t have the time for months of searching.

He quickly realized the best solution was going to be Software as a Service (SaaS). “We looked at probably two or three that had a credible claim to be manufacturing centric,” says Boesgaard. We did some due diligence on [Irvine, Calif. software supplier] Epicor’s on-premises applications and saw it was built around the needs of manufacturing companies.”

Roka had a strong upward-growth strategic plan, so one of the important attributes Boesgaard sought was the ability to grow. “We liked the idea that we had deep functionality at our fingertips and could grow into the product. They also made sure there was a migration path out of cloud computing if we wanted to bring it in-house at some point.”

Boesgaard also appreciated the ease of adopting the tools. “It only took a couple of days until we were live. We were a beta customer, so not everything was streamlined.” Roka is currently implementing the finance modules, including procurement. The next wave of adoption will include managing inventory and building bills of materials (BOMs). After that, Boesgaard will implement the CRM support.

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