“A key feature of a good software developer: to be able to ask the right questions.”

Customer satisfaction is key to the success of any business or organization. In today’s fast-paced world, where customer expectations are high, it is important to develop systems that can handle their needs efficiently and improve their work processes. This is particularly important in work fields such as financial project management, where data accuracy is critical to make sure that the financial situation of a project is under control. In this blog post, we explore the story of Thomas Hyllested, a service and contract manager at NORDUnet, who needed a system that could handle refined data required to report monthly project cost from several Nordic organizations.

Thomas is tasked with managing the administrative and financial aspects of research projects funded by the European Commission (EC). He needed a system that could collect and manage information on manpower costs, travel expenses, consulting services, and subcontracting from several other Nordic organizations, and consolidate it with NORDUnet’s own cost on the projects. 

“What is needed in order to do that is to have a system that is able to handle all these aspects and add the granularity of it for a lot of organizations, so that they can report their data on a monthly basis to NORDUnet and use it as a basis for financial reporting and calculation of the reimbursement we receive from the European Commission”.

Thomas Hyllested

However, he faced obstacles when he had to manually collect and compile data in Excel sheets from various systems, such as salary systems and old HR systems, resulting in errors and difficulty in tracking changes.

“I was working with Excel sheets in the beginning of my employment. Honestly that was terrible, typing manually to Excel sheets. And as soon as you do manual work, it’s almost impossible not to make errors. Sometimes you discover them, sometimes you don’t, sometimes you discover them at a late point in time when it’s critical.”

Thomas Hyllested

That’s when Thomas turned to Eduix to create a financial and budgeting system that could handle and store detailed information, compare budget numbers to actual numbers, and store information at a detailed level. Now, this reporting system is able to import data, store it in one place, and make it easier to manage while also ensuring data accuracy. The system also allows for data to be locked and stored securely.

“Just by clicking a button every month I can import the data in my system and that’s a huge help. And the same for the further reporting from us as a partner or beneficiary in the project towards the coordinator of the project, who collects data from organizations from all over Europe. We have been able to develop features that allow us to export data into .csc file format and simply transfer it, instead of manually type these data into excel sheets provided by the coordinator.”

Thomas Hyllested

Working in close collaboration with Eduix’s software developer leader, Olli Ovaskainen, Thomas was able to create a system that not only met his requirements but also exceeded them. Olli was able to ask the right questions and see beyond Thomas’s own requirements to come up with good solutions. 

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Olli and I want to maintain contact with him to further develop key features of the system. I trust Olli. Olli’s strength is that he’s very good at asking questions and foreseeing situations that I haven’t foreseen myself. Other than being able to create good code, that’s really a key feature of a good developer: to be able to ask the right questions and not just do exactly what the customer is telling him to do. That’s definitely one of the main reasons we ended up having a really great system”.

Thomas Hyllested

Over the years of professional experience and international collaborations, Thomas reported that he hasn’t really heard of anyone who had systems to do exactly what he wanted it to do. While he is aware that other organizations still use Excel to manually collect and compile data, NORDUnet’s dedicated system has made it easier for them to manage their data, meet deadlines efficiently, while also ensuring accuracy. There are also systems that are more developed in terms of milestone delivery, like the actual content of the project, but not focused on the financial administration of the project.

You can view a part of the system user interface below, featuring the basic info about a project and its periods.

The financial and budgeting system has demonstrated its strengths during the finalization of the financial statement of the GN4-3 project in the turning of the year 2022 to 2023. The GN4-3 project is the last one in a series of EC co-funded Horizon 2020 projects with the participation of most of the European national research and education networks aiming at developing new network technologies. 

In conclusion, customer satisfaction is key to the success of any business or organization. By understanding the needs of our customers and creating systems that can handle their needs efficiently, Eduix ensures customer satisfaction and gains a competitive advantage over others. NORDUnet’s collaboration with Eduix is an excellent example of how a dedicated system can not only meet but also exceed customer requirements, leading to customer satisfaction and a competitive edge.