By Colleen Seto

In a business world increasingly becoming more electronic as well as continually trying to improve cost and time efficiency, companies everywhere are searching for new solutions to make their workplaces more productive. Replicon Inc., a high tech company specializing in web-based solutions, is leading the way in meeting these needs. Creating products to tackle workplace productivity issues such as human resource and administration systems, Calgary-based Replicon offers world leading products to simplify payroll, billing, project management and costing, and expense reporting activities.

“The key to helping companies grow is to address the productivity of their people,” says John Eddy, chief executive officer of Replicon Inc. By making administrative tasks easier and quicker to complete, workers have more time to do their actual work. Workplace inefficiency can often be blamed on workers not being properly trained on complex systems, and being caught up in performing administrative work.

“We enable companies to make the best use of their most valuable assets – their workforce,” affirms Eddy. “We help improve their business performance by automating business processes.”

Growing, Growing, and Still Growing

Just over a year ago, company founders Raj Narayanaswamy and his wife Lakshmi Raj were running Replicon on their own. Narayanaswamy, a graduate of the renowned Institute of Technology in India, and Raj, an engineering and computer science graduate, began developing web-based solutions back in 1996. The couple recognized the power of the then-new web-based technology, and in 1998 wrote the first version of Replicon’s leading product, Web Timesheet.

By early 1999, the two had completed the second version, which helped them land their first large corporate client, Phillip Morris. “From there, we had really rapid growth,” recalls John Eddy. Today, Replicon has over 40 employees and boasts a client base of 332 customers in 25 countries, including such Fortune 500 companies as Nortel Networks, Sony Music Entertainment Inc, and Kraft.

Most recently, PROFIT Magazine ranked Replicon as 14th on their list of the 50 fastest growing young companies in Canada. This ranking was based on Replicon’s revenue growth of more than 1,500 per cent from 1997 to 1999.

Offering Innovative Business Solutions: The Web Timesheet

So what is this product that has sold more than 200,000 licenses worldwide? Replicon’s Web Timesheet is a web-based application that allows workers to input their timesheet and expense reports anytime and anywhere. Location is irrelevant with the Web Timesheet as it can be accessed anywhere with a web browser. This makes time and expense collection much easier and efficient for companies with workers who are geographically dispersed as well as with contractors.

Quick and easy to use, the Web Timesheet eliminates the need for lengthy training sessions as well as saving individuals valuable time spent doing such administrative tasks. All the data entered goes directly to a central web site where it feeds easily and automatically into payroll, billing and project management systems. The data collected through Web Timesheet also provides information for strategic decision-making.

Not only is the Web Timesheet a time saver, but it is also very cost effective, and does away with overwhelming paper trails. “The advantage of the Web Timesheet is that it is purely web-based, very simple and lets the company complete their administration in the fastest time,” states Eddy. “We are aimed at very busy professional workers.

“As well, our system only focuses on one thing. This means less cost to install and a quicker start-up. Since everyone in the company has to use the system, it’s important to stay simple. Most other enterprise resource management systems include everything [making them more complex, and therefore requires training to use].”

Calgary Roots

The success of Replicon is due not only to their products’ ability to automate and streamline business processes within any type of business environment, but also in part because of their beginnings in Calgary. “Our success can be attributed a lot to being based in Calgary and western Canada,” states Eddy. “First, there is a tremendous pool of talent in Calgary both from business and the university. Secondly, Calgary has a very good high tech sector, which has grown rapidly in the last five years. This gives us a network of consulting and support companies to work with. Thirdly, the cost base in Calgary gives us an advantage and allows us to compete globally.”

As Replicon continues on its path of success, they are working hard to keep the ball rolling. “We are planning to continue our accelerated growth to become the recognized market leader. We want to put our product in the number one position,” asserts Eddy. This will involve pumping up sales, as well as expanding into the U.S. Their first office in the U.S. is based in San Francisco, and they intend to open more.

As well, Replicon plans to expand their current family of products, as well as develop new products along the same lines of their current applications. On the drawing board at the moment is a design for a web-based resource planner. “This product plans the use of consultants – people, around the world. If you have a project coming up in Seattle, you can plan to fill all the positions you need drawing from all your resources,” Eddy explains. “It’s a manpower planning product.”

Adding wireless features to their current products is another goal. “We want people to be able to access and update their timesheet on their cell phone,” states Eddy. This will further enhance their Web Timesheet, and make it even more accessible to mobile workers.

As web-based technologies continue to re-define the business environment and companies continue to search for ways to keep up, it appears Replicon Inc. will remain a prominent force in the business solutions industry. As long as they keep rising to the challenge and developing innovative, effective and forward-looking business tools, there is little doubt that Replicon will make its way to the top.

SOURCE: Business in Calgary Magazine

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