Articles to help you focus on the success of your people and your organisation.
Just a few thoughts about what we have been doing and are going to be doing in the future.
Great support in a challenging world - Stuart Wild
Like so many businesses, Hoge 100 is now working remotely. The safety of our team is paramount.
We're known for excellent software support to academies and other businesses that use our software. There's absolutely no reason why that should change.
With a virtual private network in place (VPN), our team can work effectively from home. A single person will be in the office, ready to answer the phone. That will generally be Liz (my wife) or me. And our clients know to email us, should the line be busy when they try.
Funnily enough, we recently conducted a survey on our level of support.
89% of our support queries (80% by phone and 20% by email) were answered without recourse to a call back. The person you speak to takes responsibility for your query from the outset. You're never left in the lurch.
And that will continue during these tricky times. Should you email our support, your query will immediately circulate across our team, wherever they are. When picked up, that person will handle your query directly.
Unlike other software providers, there's no triage system here. No ticketing and queuing procedure. And the person that you speak to will have the knowledge needed to help you. It'll be one of our time-served colleagues, just like it was when our offices were fully open.
We're entirely focused on the needs of our clients. We'll continue to be incredibly valuable to them and retain their loyalty through excellent support.
Of course, face-to-face meetings are off-limits for now. But we're still able to meet virtually and discuss your software needs in detail. We can even undertake remote demonstrations. As for active implementations, these too can be completed remotely with cooperation from the client's IT department. Should we host your system already, it's even easier. Installation will be remote, and you can access the system anywhere.
So, as much as possible, it's business as usual at Hoge 100.
A huge amount of our activity concerns ongoing support and we're committed to delivering the same standards we have for many years.
For your reassurance, Hoge 100 is resilient to the current climate and possible recession. We hold 45% of our annual turnover as cash in the bank. We could trade for two years without selling a single thing. That's welcome news for our software clients.
If we can help you at all during this unprecedented time, we're here. Please get in touch and we'll give you whatever guidance or information you need. As a specialist software company, we can be incredibly flexible too - much to your advantage maybe?
Can you be a specialist, capable and secure? We think so. - Stuart Wild
As a specialist provider of finance software for academies (and other systems for business), we're used to receiving blunt questions. "What if you go out of business?" is just one example. To highlight how a software company like Hoge 100 can be an excellent long-term choice, I've answered our most common blunt questions frankly and honestly. I hope it dispels some myths.
"You're a small company. What if you go out of business?"
Hoge 100 was established 31 years ago. An industry that sees many businesses come and go, we're a long-standing, independent software company with strong roots.
75% of our turnover comes from recurring revenue. In fact, we hold 50% of our annual turnover in cash. We could survive for two years without making a single sale!
Hoge 100 is extremely resilient to the vagaries of the economy - something that many businesses can only aspire to be.
Our core accounting system is from Access Technology group. A huge (and profitable) software supplier, we've been collaborating for 23 years. Furthermore, Dimensions is the accounting system used by thousands of commercial organisations, not-for-profits and educational establishments.
"Isn't a larger software provider safer for us?"
Size is no indicator of financial security. Thomas Cook - the oldest and largest UK travel agent - recently confirmed that. Indeed, major suppliers to government are not immune to failure. Carillion, for example, went into liquidation whilst it's well reported that Kier has difficulties.
In terms of our competitors, many have been sold at some point. Takeovers generally result in a reduction of service. New owners often look to reduce costs and grow profit.
One competitor, for example, purchased a company that, at the time, was the market leader. But product development ceased to enable a larger profit. Within years, the brand had largely disappeared; the stale product sold on to another provider.
"Do you only serve academies?"
Whilst 50% of our revenue comes from academies, the other half includes many diverse commercial organisations. For example, our mission critical systems have supported Honda for 15 years and Yodel for 30 years (including its predecessor companies).
Our operations are also diverse, with 50% accounted for by software development and the remainder by the sale of financial management systems.
"Will your service decline as you serve more clients?"
Support is key at Hoge 100. It's part of our culture and that's not changing. clients come before sales and we have no intention of collecting thousands of academies, simply to boost sales. We'd rather serve our discerning clients well and maintain a long-term relationship that benefits everyone.
Independently owned, Hoge 100 will not be sold. A robust succession plan is in place, so you can be assured it's business as usual for many years to come.
Got a burning question we've not covered? Please get it off your chest. I'll give you a frank response.
What a Result - ESFA chart of accounts ready to go. - Stuart Wild
What a result! ALL academy trusts on our standard chart of accounts trial have now successfully submitted their data using our new API system.
Hoge 100 and six trusts using Dimensions for Academies have been working closely with the Department for Education (DfE) on the new standard chart of accounts. We've been creating and testing an automated submission process that'll make the task much faster and easier.
Hoge 100 is the first software supplier to achieve this milestone, using Dimensions for Academies. In fact, other providers are only just starting to look at the task.
We're working closely with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) on many improvement projects. Submitting the standard chart of accounts return via the ESFA API is just one example.
A huge thank you to our "guinea pig" trusts. Your help has been fantastic.
Sally and Mark are the Hoge 100 duo making this important trial a success. We couldn't have done it without them.
Transitioning to the new chart of accounts couldn't be easier with our Dimensions for Academies software.
Would you like more information on our DfE trial? Are you ready to implement the new chart of accounts at your trust?
Please get in touch, we'd be happy to hear from you.