Software Europe Becomes Selenity – Away Shirts and a Game Changer

Five years ago we paid a visit to privately owned Software Europe (based in Lincoln), interested in the firm as a provider of expense management software, and curious about its contract management development. It was doing well in the market, especially among the public sector, with its online expense management tool. We said at the time that the tool appeared to be well worth considering as an effective expense management solution and worth keeping an eye on as a bit of a disrupter in the marketplace. So, when we learnt they’d rebranded to Selenity recently, we thought now would be a good time to catch up with them again to see how they have fared over the past few years and what prompted the rebrand. It appears our predictions have been right …

The firm now offers a range of products, primarily its own fully-fledged cloud-based Expense Management solution and a Contract Management solution aimed at helping Finance, HR, Procurement, and Legal to more efficiently manage, track and report on expenses and contracts. Clearly the aim is to help organisations reduce costs, increase efficiencies and ensure compliance. But, aside the software development, which we’ll get onto later, the first big difference is obviously the name.

We were wondering why, after 28 years of Software Europe (which, to be honest, we thought a grander name) the firm would change to Selenity. So we had a chat with CEO, Neil Everatt, about the evolution of their software over the past few years, and the recent name change.

The rebrand, it turns out, was for no other reason than to reflect the change in capability. Having invested heavily in SaaS R&D, it has for many years now not been classed as a reseller, but a developer and provider of a whole portfolio of cloud-based solutions. The firm has certainly transformed itself to keep abreast of the digital and connected world. But why Selenity? – we asked.

“We wanted to choose a name that gave the impression of ‘serenity’ – calm and serene. We had always referred to ourselves as SEL internally, ie Software Europe Ltd, so that fitted quite well.”

Upon a bit of research into the semantics of Selenity as a name, we discovered it refers to someone who has leadership capabilities, confidence, and is forward-thinking and innovative – so there you have it!

But why the sudden change now? we asked, since your key competence has been changed for quite some time. And this makes for the kind of story Spend Matters likes – honest and a bit quirky.

“The truth is,” he explained, “we are a sponsor of our local football club – Lincoln City. It was to coincide with the rebranding of their away shirts that we were inspired to get our own relaunch done quickly, in time for the new season.” Simple, but true!

Lincoln City FC with Selenity CEO Neil Everatt and Head of Sales/Marketing Deborah Saunby

In terms of the expense management software, Neil explained that the firm now has more than 400 customers including some of the big brands, with a 50/50 public/private split. The online tool, and particularly the new mobile app, means expenses can be managed literally on-the-go: submitted, approved, tracked and expensed from anywhere at any time (using smartphone GPS.) It has the functionality* to scan receipts (the OCR technology has come a long way and is under further development using machine learning), upload them digitally, and track time/mileage with GPS accuracy (important for cost savings, and we learnt that the T&E tool carries out postcode-based verification on mileage claims) -- VAT calculation and policy compliance are inherent. And, as you would expect, it gives ‘audit-trail’ visibility. But it would appear it’s the usability of the tool that makes this app stand out. We learnt that it can be operated simply and quickly with start-and-stop and drag-and-drop features – making it particularly attractive to mobile workers.

As we know, expenses management is a huge area for some public sector organisations – health trusts or local authorities that employ many mobile nurses and other health or social workers for instance. Travel and subsistence claims can be a quite significant element within the overall cost base. And one of Selenity’s recent and biggest success stories is with the NHS. The firm was instrumental in convincing them to move from paper to the cloud; the number of trusts switching rose from 0 to 200 rapidly. Workers who were once using diverse pieces of software, now had everything they need in the palm of their hand. Today, Neil explained, 67% of the workforce is using the system, and £250 million of expenses are being processed each year. A recent press release highlighted how this has saved the NHS £33 million a year – but you can read that for yourself here.

It is also piloting and about to launch a version that can be used for anyone who drives for a living, for example. Where people will be able to check licence status, tax/MOT validity, legality of employment and so on through DVLA ‘lookups’ – apparently the only expenses provider with this functionality built-in. So it’s proving an adaptable, flexible and scalable piece of software.

(This SaaS model, which also easily integrates with ERP systems, we are told, is available through the Cabinet Office G-Cloud Apps store for the public sector. So, as an aside, we thought this was an ideal time to ask Neil how he was finding business with G-Cloud. The overall impression is that while it’s a bit slow to start, and does require quite of lot of initial time and resource investment, it’s definitely been worthwhile and the way forward, especially for awareness gaining.)

The contract management model, which we touched on, is now much advanced and the customer base is growing. Once scanned in, it acts as a central repository for contracts, providing everything you would expect – a schedule of milestones and timelines, including contract expiration dates, renewals, changes, spend, with graphics/charts delivered to your inbox. It can diagnose all elements of your contracts. But hopefully we’ll have more on that piece of software and what makes it different after our next visit to Lincoln.

For now, thanks to Neil for an interesting and candid look at Selenity – more about which you can find here.

 

* Please note that we have not yet had a full demo of the software, we hope to do that in the Autumn and will report back.

 

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