REVIEWER: Hollie Trow, chief financial officer of Bonfils Blood Center.

BACKGROUND: Bonfils Blood Center, established during World War II, was Colorado's first community blood bank. Today, Bonfils Blood Center operates nine community donor centers, serves more than 115 healthcare facilities and collects more than 200,000 units of blood every year. The organization consists of six independent companies and offers a variety of services in addition to the blood center, including the Colorado Marrow Donor Program (CMDP), Laboratories at Bonfils Hemo-Net, an application server provider and a foundation.

PLATFORMS: For our application server, we are running FRx Designer (via Citrix) with HP ProLiant DL380 G2 hardware and Windows Server 2003. For our Web server, we are running WebPort, WebPort Administrator with HP ProLiant DL360 G3 hardware and Windows Server 2003.

PROBLEM SOLVED: We implemented Microsoft FRx to increase efficiencies and gain deeper insight into the center's financial performance. In 1998, the accounting staff and department managers had a limited view of the financial health of the organization. Although the custom-made reporting package was operational, it was difficult to scale and lacked control features, placing the integrity of the data at risk and making the information too easy to manipulate. We wanted a more sophisticated and flexible solution that would also allow easy creation of consolidated financial reports.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: With Microsoft FRx in place, we have completely automated our financial reporting process, cutting more than a week from the time it takes to perform monthly closing procedures. Instead of printing, copying and distributing paper-based financial reports, we now publish reports on the intranet, which has led to significant savings on printing costs and employee hours.

STRENGTHS: Immediately after implementation, we could use our general ledger (GL) and Microsoft FRx to capture and report more than 120 financial statistics on a monthly basis. Each statistic gives the finance department and individual department managers a precise view of their performance, such as the number of blood draws to date, the number of draws per full-time equivalent (FTE), overtime worked, employee hours required for events and much more. We now track our activity and collections as part of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), and Microsoft FRx enables us to break down costs per donor and other important information vital to the success of the program. With Microsoft FRx, we have all the information we need to keep us on target for meeting our goals.

WEAKNESSES: Microsoft FRx does not tie into our fixed asset module. This limits our ability to pull reports that relate to our capital expenditures.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We made our selection based upon Microsoft FRx being part of the Epicor software package. After having vendors come in to demonstrate their programs and answer questions, we decided that Epicor would best serve our needs.

DELIVERABLES: Microsoft FRx and Epicor enable us to easily create consolidated financial reports. We create reports that reflect the individual performance of each of our six Bonfils Blood Center companies. With the consolidating report produced by Microsoft FRx, we can identify and record the necessary eliminations to produce a consolidated financial report. Additionally, the accurate and timely financial data available from Microsoft FRx allows us to fully evaluate data and advise the executive team accordingly. Instead of spending all our time cranking out financial information, we focus on analyzing trends, doing financial modeling and sharing our insights.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The vendor has provided excellent support, both pre- and post-implementation. The vendor has a local presence and a very knowledgeable and pleasant staff. The best parts of working with FRx are their support staff and their willingness to listen to the consumer in their product improvement/development process. Whenever a problem arises and it is a programming issue, they document the problem for improvement in future releases.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation in respect to their user manuals is not one of FRx Software's strongest areas. However, the company does offer helpful training sessions.

Microsoft FRx
FRx Software, a Microsoft company and a part of Microsoft Business Solutions
4700 S. Syracuse Pkwy., Suite 700
Denver, CO 80237

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