Tech Titans

From left: Richard Rosenbaum, president; Joe Horvath, VP of sales and marketing.

How The RSC Group rode the ups and downs of its sector and emerged as a mainstay in its field

Say the term “technology partner” and many business people’s eyes glaze over. However, there’s no other way to describe the role of the Vancouver-based RSC Group, and that’s completely fine with them. While the company understands that its customers may not understand the “how” of its products and services, the RSC Group has built a solid reputation as a company to tell you why its needed.

“Over the past 23 years, we’ve become the predominant leader in our field and have served more than 800 customers,” says Richard Rosenbaum, president of RSC. “We know our product. We’ve developed a niche in the midmarket, and we understand that client [base] extremely well.”

“Midmarket” translates into companies with $50–100 million in annual revenue. RSC provides enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, which integrate and streamline internal and external management functions across an entire organization, including such tasks as payroll, accounting, sales, and distribution. As a Microsoft partner, RSC works almost exclusively with Microsoft Dynamics, which it customizes to meet specific client needs.

“Our solutions are never ‘out of the box,’” Rosenbaum says. “We tailor each installation for the client’s business processes. We work with Microsoft because its packages are very ‘configurable’ and adapt easily to the customer’s requirements.”

Joe Horvath, RSC’s VP of sales and marketing, says one challenge of implementation lies in minimizing disruption to the client’s daily operations. “It’s somewhat of an art to roll out a new ERP system—there are so many pieces and moving parts,” he explains. “We often favour a phased approach for this reason.”

While RSC has an office in Alberta, the company’s business mainly centres on its Vancouver location. “We have clients in a range of fields—including manufacturing, nonprofit, education, and financial services—because we made the decision to build our business in a meaningful way by serving the local market instead of going after specific verticals,” Rosenbaum says. “Being local allows us to offer a very personalized approach to customer service, which, in turn, has meant long-term relationships with clients.”

RSC’s customer-service approach abets this process, as it focuses on accountability and a transparent approach. “We don’t leave things to chance before, during, or after implementation,” Rosenbaum says. “It’s equally important to provide value postimplementation—such as providing technical support, product updates, and hosting events for software users—because it keeps clients coming back.”

To deliver this vast array of services, RSC employs team members who have as much business acumen as they do technical skills. “We hire business-savvy people who can marry big-picture processes with day-to-day details,” Horvath says. “Our tools are the software, but the leadership and expertise comes from our people. Our goal is to empower employees in their day-to-day processes through software to transform entire companies.”

Of course, the technology field has not been without its ups and downs over the two decades RSC has been in business, but Rosenbaum says he views a downturn as an opportunity. “Slow times are good times to take a hard look at how you are doing business and reinvent how you go forward,” he says. “It’s all about evolving as a company, because change is constant.”

For example, RSC recently revamped its marketing approach to include a rebranding and a more prominent online component. “We realized we didn’t have our marketing approach nailed down, so we made the decision to invest in marketing, and refine processes around that move,” Horvath says.

Another challenge the company addressed is juggling billable resources, as it was easy to become overloaded in one area. This was fine until that area slowed down. “You take your foot off the gas, then wind up with no work,” Horvath says. “We formalized the process of project management so we would always have someone devoted to coordinating resources so that each project is appropriately staffed.”

RSC is now evolving into a new field: business intelligence, or using data generated through ERP systems to surface trends and patterns. The company will use the technology to provide real-time, actionable information to clients to help with their budgeting and planning. “We’re about more than just selling software,” Rosenbaum says. “We are a professional-services firm focused on helping our clients be proactive about improving their bottom line.”