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First in an ongoing blog series detailing the reasoning behind a firm’s selection of Unanet’s ERP solution over other options.

The firm: OptoKnowledge Systems, Inc. (optoknowledge.com), a Torrance, CA, company that develops imaging systems (hyperspectral imaging, night vision, situational awareness, and spectroscopy) for defense, security and environmental/energy applications. The company is primarily an R&D contractor for the Department of Defense, NASA and the Department of Energy.

As accustomed as OptoKnowledge is to operating at technology’s leading edge as a developer of advanced imaging systems and sensors for night vision, drones, and other visibility-related applications, it needed an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that could provide it with better visibility into its own business.

Soon after purchasing the 30-year-old company in February 2020, OptoKnowledge’s new ownership realized the company could benefit from a new ERP system that could better support its strategic priorities — preferably one that’s fully integrated, proven in the government contractor space, and well-supported from a service standpoint.

The effort to find a replacement for its inefficient and outmoded ERP system got off to a rocky start. The initial plan to transition from an obsolete version of that system to a newer version was abandoned, chiefly due to issues with data migration. Seeking another option, company officials reached out to their contacts in the GovCon space for recommendations. While the reports they got about one big-name ERP system were consistently less than glowing (mostly complaints about subpar support), the reviews their peers provided on another ERP software option were highly positive.

Those positive reviews pertained to Unanet. Additional due diligence cemented Unanet as the right choice for OptoKnowledge, primarily for its strong data drill-down capabilities and its service and support, which got uniformly high marks from the current users with whom company officials spoke.

A contract was signed soon thereafter, and OptoKnowledge is poised to implement Unanet’s purpose-built ERP software in November 2020.

“We are so excited about the financial reporting,” says Ilana Gat, Chief Financial Officer at OptoKnowledge. “It’s impossible to ask staff to keep spreadsheets up to date, but with Unanet, our program managers will get real-time insights into their programs on a daily basis.”

Using Unanet, she expects program managers will be able to see key information about their programs and projects in real time. She’s also looking forward to gaining a new level of granular insight into profit and loss by project/program, as well as the ability to drill into the data around individual transactions.

The only drawback: waiting until these and other capabilities built into Unanet go live company-wide.