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AdvanceMe inc.

Winner

Company: AdvanceMe, Inc.
Company Description: AdvanceMe, Inc. in Kennesaw, GA is the nation’s leading provider of Merchant Cash Advances to small and mid-sized businesses. Since 1998, AdvanceMe has made more than 35,000 advances, providing in excess of 15,000 business owners in all 50 states with more than $750 million dollars in working capital.
Nomination Category: Organization Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best MIS & IT Organization

Nomination Title: AdvanceMe, Inc. MIS/IT Organization

1. Tell the story about what this nominated organization/department achieved in the past year (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

In 2006, AdvanceMe, Inc. completed the development of its Enterprise
Information System (EIS). This proprietary system rivals that of much larger
corporations, and enabled AdvanceMe to effectively and efficiently provide
working capital to small and mid-sized business owners through its Merchant
Cash Advance product.

AdvanceMe addressed the issue of workflow management throughout the customer lifecycle by developing a system that organizes and collects information from pre-application to submission completion and then continuing throughout life of the funding and post-funding time period.

Through EIS, multiple departmental systems were consolidated including
marketing, sales, underwriting, collections, renewals, finance, customer
service, sales support, data entry and human resources. This enabled ALL
authorized users to access ALL information about a customer, their business and
interactions with AdvanceMe across ALL functions and departments – real time. 
All employees are now working off of the same data set and can view present and
historical information and notes on customers. Customer questions can be
handled efficiently and data can be mined to make better decisions and speed up
the innovation process, enabling AdvanceMe to turn risk into opportunity
through knowledge. AdvanceMe’s IS department was able to create and complete
this system without outsourcing.

The main challenges encountered revolved around budget constraints, coding
issues and integration of functional requests and requirements.

•Budget constraints were dealt with by a “proof of concept” approach, doing
small pieces at a time, and using a cost effective programming team in Costa
Rica.
•Coding issues developed due to the fast growth of the company, requiring the
system to expand and adapt quickly. It was paced to roll out in a controlled
manner to ensure that existing coding issues could be handled before moving to
additional phases of the project. 
•Difficulties with integration of functional requests and requirements were a
result of competing needs between departments; one request would negate the
benefits of another. An application was built that would perform an impact
study, assessing the change on the overall business, helping executives decide
which request would take precedence.

Because EIS links and assists all aspects of the business, the benefits are
wide reaching. Benefits include:

•Enabling AdvanceMe to identify trends, issues and new opportunities,
supporting quick action regarding key success levers, including new products,
pricing, compensation plans and markets/segments that competitors have avoided due to risk and profitability issues.
•A more efficient database – all systems are integrated into one.
•Faster, easier access to data – because it is programmed with over 300
different reports as well as individualized dashboards that can be accessed
from the desktop without the need for additional programming, and can be pushed
to wireless devices.
•Speeds up the customer approval process while increasing the work capacity of
employees, thus increasing the number of customer applications approved per
administrator.
•Connects HR to the business by automatically uploading information on new
salespeople. 
•Helps AdvanceMe pass 100 percent of its financial audits - every piece of data
is captured and stored for reference and verification. 

2. List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, [http://www.youraddress.com]:

http://www.stores.org/archives/2007/1/edit5.asp

http://www.greensheet.com/PriorIssues-/061102-/9.htm

http://www.advanceme.com/media_kit/press_release/March-8-2006-Faps-
Press-Release.html

http://www.advanceme.com/media_kit/press_release/mms.html

3. Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader(s) of the nominated organization/department:

Frank Fatras, Chief Technology Officer, joined the company in 2000, bringing
AdvanceMe more than 13 years experience in system and network architecture. He
has built network infrastructure and applications for national and global use
and is responsible for directing information technology, information systems,
information security and facilities.

Fatras’ previous engagements have included many diverse industries, including
major brands like Citibank, Western Union International, Woodward-Clyde, Merck
and AT&T.