by Carly Lombardo
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For CherylAnn Silberer, a client’s business success hinges on getting a handle on everyday workflow processes. She says, "Everything we do centers on the formula: Process + People = Profit."
Silberer’s Tempe, Ariz.-based company, CompLete, has made a specialty of workflow process analysis, serving as a business partner for Niku’s project management software, and also providing process-focused services such as Performance View and SysTrust, both the progeny of the American Institute of CPAs.
Niku provides Services Relationship Management software that integrates collaborative, financial, project, and knowledge management functionality all in one Web-native solution. Depending on size of the client organization with regard to number of locations and employees, an install may last anywhere from eight to 32 weeks, according to Silberer. Cost can range from as low as $5,000 and scale upwards to $325,000.
Niku performs the actual installation on the client’s servers. CompLete focuses on configuring the software to align with the client’s business processes, and helps with system set-up on the individual workstations. This is complemented by ongoing training and periodic "health checks."
CompLete’s two-person shop, in business for nine years, includes an operations manager, whose responsibilities encompass information systems management. When the workload requires it, Silberer calls on independent contractors. "Our resourcing strategy is not to grow by adding internal resources," she notes. Rather, the company relies on what Silberer call "netsourcing," which "entails forming virtual teams through strategic alliances with subject-matter experts and organizations whose values, ethics, skills, and resources complement client requirements."
CompLete serves two distinct markets. The first comprises small businesses and strategic business units of larger enterprises, ranging in size from one to 300 employees. "We assist these clients with putting strategic plans in place, and [confronting] the challenges associated with carrying measurable strategic objective into their planning cycle," says Silberer.
CompLete’s second target market consists of corporate organizations with 300-plus employees that have invested heavily in information technology. Typically, in this market segment, the client’s CEO or CIO contacts CompLete.
Silberer holds bachelor degrees in accounting and computer information systems. She started out as a bookkeeper in a veterinary clinic, but moved on to work in the audit/accounting and consulting divisions of such major houses as Coopers & Lybrand, Ernst & Young, and Andersen Consulting. She received her CPA license in 1990, and founded CompLete three years later.
Her accounting and IT credentials have served her well. CompLete currently provides SysTrust services, security standards promoted by the AICPA as a benchmark against which a system can be tested to determine if it is protected against unauthorized physical and logical access. CompLete incorporates SysTrust principles during process development reviews at client sites.
Silberer notes, "If you want a system to be reliable, one must build reliability in during development." She adds, "We are finding that organizations moving to an Application Service Provider (or hosting) model for core business applications are very interested in systems reliability."
With an engagement/project estimating model included, CPA Performance View is right up Silberer’s alley. Also promoted by the AICPA, Performance View is designed to train CPAs in how to conduct business performance measurement engagements centered on customer satisfaction, employee training and satisfaction, product quality, sales calls, and proposal delivery. Accountants learn how to use the Internet by consulting trade association Web sites and online benchmarking services.
"When we first read about Performance View, we recognized immediately that this service offering aligned with our approach to management consulting," including an emphasis on leveraging best-of-class solutions that already exist in the marketplace, notes Silberer.